This pretty, family-friendly dessert is the perfect way to take advantage of the rhubarb Canadians look forward to each spring.
The luscious whipped cream studded with bits of meringue crowned with softly sweet pink rhubarb is a new take on the British dessert known as Eton Mess.
Serve it in elegant individual glasses or family-style in a large trifle dish.
Rhubarb Eton Mess
The meringue adds lots of sweetness to the dessert, but more honey can be added during the poaching stage if the rhubarb is too tart.
3 to 4 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 2.5-cm (1-inch) pieces (500 ml/2 cups)
50 ml (1/4 cup) liquid honey
8 meringue "cookies," each about 9 cm (3 1/2 inches) wide by 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick
500 ml (2 cups) whipping cream
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
Grate zest from oranges. Squeeze juice into a measuring cup. You should have 125 ml (1/2 cup); if not, add water to make enough liquid.
In a small saucepan, combine rhubarb, orange zest and honey; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until honey dissolves. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently for about 8 minutes or until rhubarb is very soft (reduce heat, if necessary, to avoid boiling). Remove from heat and let cool completely.
Just before serving, break meringues into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl. In a separate chilled bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form; fold into broken meringue bits with vanilla. Add half of the cooled poached rhubarb to the cream mixture and stir gently until combined.
To serve, spoon mixture into a large serving bowl and top with remaining rhubarb. Alternatively, spoon cream mixture into small serving dishes and top with remaining poached rhubarb. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 304 calories; 3 g protein; 29 g carbohydrate; 21 g fat; 0.9 g fibre; 63 mg sodium.
Store-bought meringue cookies, or nests, can be replaced by leftover broken homemade meringue or pavlova shells. The yield should be 750 ml (3 cups) broken meringue.
If fresh rhubarb isn't available, use frozen. Let thaw in a colander to drain excess liquid and reduce poaching time to about 4 minutes.
Source: Dairy Farmers of Canada, www.anydaymagic.ca.