STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PAVLOVA

This Strawberry Rhubarb Pavlova has a hard and crunchy outside but a soft, plush inside...we won't tell people how quickly it disappears! It'll be our secret.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PAVLOVA

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE PAVLOVA:
  1. 5 egg whites at room temperature
  2. 1/4 tsp salt
  3. 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar aka caster sugar or baker’s sugar
  4. 2 tbsp corn starch
  5. 2 tsp white vinegar

FOR THE RHUBARB COMPOTE:
  1. 6 stalks fresh rhubarb
  2. 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  3. 1 cup orange juice
  4. 2/3 cup granulated sugar or more to taste

FOR ASSEMBLY:
  1. 1 1/3 cup heavy cream
  2. 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1 pint fresh strawberries wash and coarsely chopped
  5. white chocolate shavings to garnish optional

INSTRUCTIONS
TO MAKE THE PAVLOVA:
  • Preheat the oven to 250 F (121 C). Cover a baking sheet with parchment, and trace a 7-inch circle on the parchment. (The pavlova will grow a bit as it bakes, so make sure you have a little space on the sides of your circle.) Spray the parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray, and dust it with powdered sugar.
  • Place the room temperature egg whites and the salt in the very clean and dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Any trace of fat might cause the whites to not whip properly, so make sure the bowl and whisk are clean, and that there are no traces of yolks in the whites. Whip the whites with the salt on medium-high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Don’t over-whip and let the white get crumbly and dry.
  • Once at stiff peaks, turn the mixer to medium speed and add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, over the course of 2-3 minutes. You want to incorporate the sugar gradually so it all dissolves easily. After all the sugar is added, scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then beat the egg whites on high speed for 5-6 minutes, until the whites are very glossy and stiff, and the sugar is completely dissolved. If you rub the meringue between your fingers or taste it, you shouldn’t feel any of the sugar crystals.
  • When the whites are done, add the vinegar and sift the cornstarch over them, and gently fold them in, stopping as soon as everything is mixed. Scrape the meringue onto the parchment and spread it into a circle on your pattern, making the edges a bit higher than the center. Don’t overwork the meringue, just coax it gently into a circle.
  • Bake the pavlova for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 250 F, then turn the oven off. As the oven cools you can crack the door slightly, but don’t open it all the way or remove the pavlova until it’s completely cool. The cooling process will take another hour or two. The pavlova might crack as it cools, which is also completely normal. The pavlova can be made in advance and stored at room temperature, lightly covered with cling wrap, for up to 5 days.
TO MAKE THE RHUBARB COMPOTE:
  • Trim off the ends of the rhubarb stalks and slice them into 1/2-inch pieces. You should have about 2 1/2 cups, or 11 oz, of rhubarb.
  • Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Combine the vanilla bean pod, the seeds, the orange juice, and the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and when the liquid comes to a simmer, add the rhubarb. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer the rhubarb, stirring once or twice, until it is tender, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Remove the vanilla bean pod before serving. Compote can be made up to a week in advance and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use.