Giant pavlova with poached rhubarb, physalis, nut brittle and vanilla and rose cream

This pudding from Anna Barnett, is a real show-stopper and the ultimate crowd pleaser. 

Feeds 8-10

Preparation time – 35 minutes

Cooking time – 2.5hrs (plus leave meringue overnight or 4-5hrs to cool & dry out)

Ingredients 

Meringue 

300g egg whites (free range/ organic)

500g caster sugar

1tbsp lemon juice

Stewed Rhubarb 

4 stems of rhubarb – chopped into 2 inch pieces

1 slice of orange rind

2 star anise

4tbsp sugar 

200ml water

Rose and Vanilla Cream

600ml double cream

2-3 tbsp rose flavouring 

3-4 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Fruit garnishes 

200g Raspberries

12-15 physalis 

1 pomegranate 

2 passion fruit.

Nut brittle 

200g granulated sugar (or caster sugar)

50g lightly toasted almond- roughly chopped

 

Meringue Instructions 

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius. NOTE on adding the meringue this temperature is reduced to 110 degrees Celsius. 

Use an electric whisk or stand mixer. First ensure the bowl is clean, you can wipe it over with half a lemon to be sure.

Add in your egg whites and whisk on a medium speed until you the egg whites form soft peaks, around two minutes should be good.

Next begin to gradually add in the sugar. Don’t rush this process, add in a spoonful at a time. 

One you’ve added in all the sugar, leave to whisk for around 7 minutes.

Finally add in your lemon juice and mix for a further minute or so. Check that there is no grainy texture left in the meringue. The sugar should be completely dissolved and you should now have a glossy meringue. You can also add in additional flavouring to the meringue at this point, however I like mine plain as the cream is where I prefer to add the bold flavours.

Line a large tray with parchment paper and spoon on the meringue into the centre of the tray. With a spoon or spatula begin to shape the meringue into one large round then using the back of the spoon, smooth the edges upwards so you have the vertical stripes around the sides.

Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 110 degrees Celsius now. Bake for 2.5hrs then turn the heat off and leave to cool for a minimum of 4 hours or until the oven has cooled entirely. You can leave overnight also for ease. 

The base to your pavlova is now complete. It’s pretty delicate but combines both crispy meringue with a beautiful soft, chewy marshmallow type meringue in the centre. 

 

Stewed Rhubarb Instructions 

Prepare the rhubarb as noted then combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Bring almost to the boil then simmer for 10-12 minutes. You want to ensure the rhubarb is stewed but still holds its shape. Allow to cool. 

Rose and vanilla cream Instructions 

Pour the cream into a large bowl and with an electric whisk whip for several minutes on a medium speed until it hold its shape. Now add in your rose flavouring and vanilla bean paste. Whisk a little more to combine, try and adjust the strength of the rose according to your preference. I don’t add sugar here as the meringue provides enough sweetness. 

Salted nut brittle Instructions 

Line a large chopping board with parchment and sprinkle over the chopped and toasted nuts in the centre of the parchment. 

Take a heavy based pan, sprinkle over a very light layer of sugar, place over a medium heat and allow to caramelise. As this begins to happen, continue to gradually sprinkle over the remaining sugar. Don’t move, stir or shake the pan, just let it dissolve at its own pace. Once the sugar has caramelised pour over the nuts. Take another sheet of parchment and place over the top then with a rolling pin roll the caramel and nuts out so you have a thin layer of caramel. Allow to cool then break into pieces ready to garnish with. 

To assemble 

Carefully transfer the meringue to a large platter/serving plate. Spoon on the cream into the middle then generously top with fruit, pouring over a drizzle of the rhubarb juice also. Orange zest is a great addition too.