Walnut meringue cake with buttermilk cream and poached rhubarb
If you're looking for a show-stopping dessert to serve for a summer party try this utterly delicious tiered meringue cake I tasted (correction, 'ate') the other day at The Three Crowns.
I managed to inveigle the chef Lee Urch into giving us the recipe. Do give it a try!
Lee writes: "This 'cake' is a matter of quick assembly so you need your three components ready for use and a large pretty platter or tray to carry it to the table."
For the Walnut Meringues (makes 10)
400g egg whites (about 8 medium eggs)
800g caster sugar
200g walnut pieces (the freshest you can find)
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Then slowly add half of the caster sugar until you have a stiff and glossy meringue (easy in a Kitchen Aid of course). Your mix must be stiff as possible at this point before carefully folding in the remaining sugar and the walnuts.
Taking a large metal spoon - scoop out 10 meringues onto a baking tray that has been lined with baking parchment (a small blob of meringue mix in each corner of the baking sheet will hold it in place)
Place in a preheated 150°C oven. Close the door and immediately turn down to 110°C. Bake for 50 mins. Allow meringues to cool and harden before using.
For the rhubarb
6 sticks (about 800g) of rhubarb (as pink as possible)
100g caster sugar
peel of 1 orange, cut into strips
1 piece of stem ginger, finely grated
Chop the rhubarb into 3cm pieces. Wash this well and place in a single layer in a large ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the caster sugar, orange peel (this can be discarded once cooked) and the grated ginger. Cover the dish tightly with foil and place in a 150°C oven for 15-20mins until the rhubarb is tender but still holds it shape and you have a lovely pink juice in the bottom of the dish. Let the rhubarb cool in the dish before using. As with most of these things it's best if it doesn't see the fridge!
2 cups of buttermilk
1 cup of double cream
2/3 cup of caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
1pkt gelatine powder or 4 sheets of gelatine
Dissolve the gelatine as per the manufacturer's instructions. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl combine half the double cream and the buttermilk until smooth.
In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar and the other half of the double cream and scrape in your vanilla pod. Let this infuse over a low heat but do not boil. Remove from the heat and stir in your prepared gelatine. Add this to the buttermilk and cream mix. Set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
The cream should not set solid and will hardly hold its shape when scooped over your meringues - and be all the better for it!
Now you have all the components ready it's time for the fun part:
Whip a pint of double cream quite stiffly but take care it doesn't go buttery. Pile up your meringues on your platter - using the cream to keep them in place. Try and get as much height as possible for that spectacular look!
Once you have your 'mountain' (see my rather dark and blurry picture taken at the restaurant) you can now tumble over the cooled fruit and pour/scoop over your buttermilk cream. Finish off the whole affair with a dash of extra chopped walnuts and a good dusting of icing sugar. A big spoon is a must so all your guests can get stuck in to the mighty stack....
Note: this pudding contains nuts.
What to drink: I'd go for a Moscato d'Asti with this but you could try an off-dry sparkling rosé
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