pavlova
Pavlova with orange curd and roast rhubarb

A dessert that speaks of spring, this stunning pavlova is topped with a smooth and zesty orange curd and slightly-tart roasted rhubarb. Any unused orange curd will keep in the fridge, too.

Serves 
6 - 8
Ingredients 

For the meringue

4 medium free-range egg whites (set the yolks aside)

200g unrefined caster sugar

Butter to grease

 

For the roast rhubarb

4 large firm rhubarb stalks

2 tbsp runny honey

 

For the orange curd

Very finely grated zest and juice 2 large oranges and ½ lemon

100g unsalted butter

250g caster or granulated sugar

4 medium free-range egg yolks

 

To serve

300ml double cream

30g hazelnuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan and roughly crushed

25-30g piece candied orange peel, very thinly sliced

Fresh primrose flowers (optional)

Method 

For the meringue, put the egg whites in a large clean mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk until the whites hold soft peaks when the beaters are removed. Add the 200g sugar, a large spoonful at a time, whisking until it’s all incorporated. Whisk for 5-6 minutes until the meringue is thick, smooth and glossy.

Heat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas 1. Lightly grease the baking paper, then put on the baking tray (greased side up). Spoon the meringue onto the paper in a large, rough circle with slightly raised edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then turn the oven to 110°C/90°C fan/gas ¼ and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, trim and rinse the rhubarb stalks, then cut into 3-4cm lengths. Arrange them in the base of a roasting dish and drizzle over the honey and 1 tbsp water. Cover the rhubarb loosely with a sheet of baking paper, then put in the low oven with the meringue to cook gently for 25-35 minutes or until
the rhubarb is tender but holding its shape. Remove and allow to cool.

For the orange curd, put the orange and lemon zest and juice, butter and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the base of the bowl). Using a balloon whisk, slowly whisk until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the egg yolks and whisk every few moments until the curd is thick and creamy (8-10 minutes). As soon as the curd has thickened, pour it into a clean bowl and leave to cool. Chill.

To serve, whisk the double cream in a bowl until thick and pillowy. Spoon the cream over the cooled meringue base, spreading it roughly out towards the edges. Generously top the cream with the chilled curd, swirling it outwards from the centre of the pav. Using a slotted spoon, layer the roast rhubarb onto the curd (too much juice will overwhelm the meringue), then sprinkle over the hazelnuts and slices of candied peel. Finish the meringue with freshly picked primrose flowers, if you like. Serve straightaway