Pepperberry pavlova with rhubarb

AT A GLANCE

  • Serves 6 people

"Everyone loves a good pav," says chef Shaun Kelly. "I always bake them full size, then take a slice, just like at a picnic - individual ones might be easier to serve for a dinner party, but they lose some of the visual magic." Start this recipe a day ahead to make the rhubarb chips.

  • 120 gm eggwhites (about 4)
  • 200 gm caster sugar
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp ground native pepperberry (see note)
  •  
  • Rhubarb chips
  • Pure icing sugar, for dusting
  • 2 rhubarb stalks, thinly sliced lengthways on a mandolin
  •  
  • Baked rhubarb
  • 400 gm (about 1 bunch) rhubarb
  • 125 gm caster sugar
  • Scraped seeds of ½ vanilla bean
  • Finely grated rind of ½ orange
  • 2-3 rose geranium leaves or rosewater to taste
  • 2 tbsp sparkling wine
  •  
  • Vanilla cream
  • 250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream
  • 75 gm fromage blanc (see note)
  • 25 gm caster sugar
  • Finely grated rind of ½ lemon
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
01   For rhubarb chips, preheat oven to 90C or lowest setting. Line a baking tray with baking paper and dust with icing sugar. Place rhubarb slices on tray in a single layer, dust with icing sugar and dry in oven overnight. Store in an airtight container for up to a day.
02   For baked rhubarb, preheat oven to 180C. Place rhubarb in a colander and rinse under running water, shake off excess water and combine rhubarb in a bowl with sugar, vanilla seeds, orange rind and rose geranium leaves. Stand for 30 minutes for juices to seep, then spread in a baking dish, drizzle with wine and bake for 10 minutes, then check every few minutes until rhubarb is tender but not falling apart (8-10 minutes). Set aside to cool completely.
03   Preheat oven to 150C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Whisk eggwhite in an electric mixer until frothy, add half the sugar and whisk on high speed until glossy (6-8 minutes), then, with motor running, add remaining sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking continuously to firm peaks. Whisk in vinegar, cornflour and pepperberry – this will loosen the mixture a little so keep whisking until you achieve firm peaks again. Rub a little mixture between your fingertips to check whether sugar has dissolved – if not, keep whisking and check again. Pile on tray in a 20cm-diameter round, bake for 15 minutes, then reduce oven to 120C and bake until crisp but not coloured (50 minutes to 1 hour). Turn off heat and let cool completely in oven.
04   For vanilla cream, whisk ingredients in an electric mixer to soft peaks and refrigerate to chill.
05   To serve, divide pavolva among serving plates, then top with freshly whipped vanilla cream, baked rhubarb and juices, and rhubarb chips.
NotePepperberries are available online from herbies.com.au and from select delicatessens. Fromage blanc is available from select delicatessens and cheese shops; substitute Greek yoghurt mixed with an equal part of crème fraîche.
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