As we approach the end of the year, I always get excited about parties, feasting and hanging with friends and family – this year more so than ever. One of my favourite things to make for dessert around this time are meringues. They are actually rather simple to make and can be all prepared in advance, which is perfect for entertaining. I love serving them on the table with a bowl of roasted fruit and whipped cream. People can then help themselves and pile on as much or as little as the cream and fruit as they want.
I’ve chosen rhubarb here today as I love the tart contrast with the sweet meringues. Other fruits like peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and strawberries are all wonderful roasted and served with meringues too, so feel free to swap the rhubarb for fruit that you prefer or is in season. Similarly, hazelnuts can be swapped with almonds or omitted completely to make it nut free. However you enjoy them, just be sure to let the meringues cool in the oven completely before taking them out. Once they are cool, they can be stored in an airtight container for around 5 days until ready to use.
4 egg whites
Pinch of sea salt
230g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
60g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
350g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
100g raw sugar
1 strip of orange zest
3 cardamom pods, bruised
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
Juice of half an orange
250ml pure cream
150ml crème fraîche
Preheat the oven to 180C.
To make the rhubarb, place all of the ingredients in a sided baking tray lined with baking paper. Toss so that the rhubarb is well coated and arrange in a single layer. Roast in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the rhubarb has just collapsed. Allow to cool.
Reduce the oven to 140C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
Place the egg whites with a pinch of salt in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until mixture is stiff and glossy and all sugar has dissolved. To test if the sugar has dissolved, stop the mixer and take a teaspoon of the mixture and rub it between your fingers. If you can still feel granules of sugar, you need to continue mixing until you cannot feel any when tested.
Stir through the vanilla. Pile large spoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto the prepared tray, to form large rounds. Sprinkle with the hazelnuts and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the meringue is crisp to touch but still soft on the inside. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar, and allow it to cool completely in the oven.
Whisk the cream and crème fraîche in a large bowl to soft peaks. Spoon ¼ cup of the roasted rhubarb into the whipped cream and swirl it into the cream.
Serve the meringues with the whipped cream and remaining roasted rhubarb.
What else I’m cooking with:
Stone fruit has begun to arrive and I couldn’t be happier. One of my favourite ways to eat them is as a simple salad with prosciutto, basil and buffalo mozzarella. I’m also roasting them with rosemary, vanilla and raw sugar to go with warm custard or ice cream.
What else I’m eating:
Sushi from Tochi Deli in Brunswick! So incredible and fresh. Get there early to avoid the huge queues.