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Rhubarb-Strawberry Pavlova

Adapted from Ina Garten's recipe for Mixed Berry Pavlova (which I made on 4th of July last year, for a gorgeous patriotic red/white/blue confection). This is definitely not a last-minute dessert, as the meringue takes 90 minutes to bake and then 2 hours to cool. The plus side is that you can make it ahead and keep it in a dry, airtight container at room temperature (do not refrigerate) for up to 3 days. Top it with cream and fruit just before you're ready to eat it.
Course Dessert
Cuisine British
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10
Author Amanda

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 4 extra-large egg whites at room temperature (separate eggs into a bowl and let sit on the counter for 10-15 minutes)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries hulled and halved (leave about 12 of your nicest halves out)
  • 1 pound rhubarb sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • juice of half of a lemon

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large mint leaves chiffonade (rolled up and sliced into ribbons)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
  2. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. With a pencil, trace the outline of a 9-inch plate on the parchment, then flip it over. Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes. Firm means the peaks hold their shape, but the tips still flop over.
  3. Remove the bowl from the mixer, add the cornstarch into the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper and smooth it into a roughly 9-inch disc. Bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  4. While it is baking, combine the rhubarb and strawberries with the 1/4 cup of sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until fruit is tender but not mushy. Strain into a bowl (setting aside the syrup for the cocktail) and refrigerate the fruit mixture in a bowl until cool.
  5. When the meringue is done, turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 2 hours. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. While it is cooling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until fluffy and firm. Don't overbeat, or else you'll have butter.
  6. When completely cool, loosen the parchment carefully by peeling it back and place meringue on a large plate. Spread the top completely with sweetened whipped cream. Spoon the fruit mixture carefully into the middle of the Pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Sprinkle with mint. Serve immediately.