I wanted to use rhubarb to make a desert for a long time. The idea was to soften rhubarb a little, and to top it with soft meringue. The result, however, is not exactly what I intended to make. I had to change the direction several times, but the final dish was close enough to what I had in mind – soft pear in tart rhubarb sauce, baked with 2 different toppings – honey meringue and apple frangipane.
Honey meringue was easy to make, but baking a reasonable period of time, did not result in a stable structure and when cooled down, meringue topping deflated substantially. It was fully cooked, soft and tasty, but it did not look like a thick layer of meringue made with sugar. I tried to make Swiss meringue, beating egg whites with gentle heating in a water bath. It was still too soft and not suitable for a desert which is not served immediately after it is prepared. It is possible to use honey meringue if you serve your desert within a short period after cooking, but I wanted a stable desert, being presentable even the next day, so I opted for another topping – almond frangipane made with apple puree instead of butter.
Pears and rhubarb
- 1 bunch of rhubarb (350g chopped 2cm pieces)
- 100g organic honey
- 100ml water
- 1 large green pear
- 2 cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 deseeded vanilla bean
- 2 egg whites
- 120g organic honey
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 200g thick apple puree (made from 400g of Granny Smith peeled and cored apple pieces, 12-13min in microwave on high)
- 120g honey
- 180 – 200g almond meal, sifted
- 1 table spoon of lemon juice
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- sliced almonds for decoration
- clean and wash rhubarb, discard rough parts
- slice rhubarb sticks in 2 cm pieces
- place rhubarb, honey and water in a sauce pan
- add deseeded vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and cloves (I always keep deseeded vanilla beans, some put in granulated sugar, some kept as they are in air tight container)
- cook for 3-5min
- peel and core a pear, cut it into 8 pieces
- add pear to rhubarb
- cook until the pear becomes soft and rhubarb sauce reduces
- take the spices out
- use any baking dishes or ramekins
- place pear pieces and rhubarb sauce into baking dish
- beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks, add honey and continue beating until glossy and hard peaks (you will never reach the consistency of sugar meringues)
- spread meringue to cover pear and rhubarb
- bake in preheated to 150 C oven for 50-60min
- best served still warm
- photo below is taken 3 hours after baking
It can be seen clearly, that honey meringue is reduced in volume immediately after baking. However, it tasted very nice and flavoursome. All spices came through in the fruit layer and were better when the desert was cold.
To make apple and frangipane topping:
- beat whole eggs with apple pure and honey until double in volume (7-8min)
- carefully fold in almond meal
- add lemon juice and lemon zest
- spoon the batter over rhubarb and pear layer
- use sliced almond for decorations
- bake in preheated to 160 C oven for 30-50min depending on the size of baking dishes or ramekins
Baking is better done when baking dishes are placed on the tray, some of the fruit layer can be spilled during baking. This pudding can be served warm or cold. The only remark I will make is about rhubarb acidity. I expected it to be more tart and harder in cooking. I am glad that I added just a little honey, expecting to add more later, but it was not necessary.
In individual serving dishes this pudding is very forgiving and can be served with any extra toppings, such as whipped coconut cream. Enjoy!
And if you are curious about a biscotti in the first photo, I can report that I am working on final touches to the recipe I have selected as more promising. Have a peek.