With spring time comes two of my favourite foods; asparagus and rhubarb. I’ve always found the best way to make the most of rhubarb is to make a sweet and tangy compote, it’s perfect for meringues and a dollop of ginger cream. I spotted a bunch of bright pink young rhubarb in the supermarket which makes this desert look even more wonderful, but you can always cheat it with a few drops of pink food colouring.
juice of half a lemon (or orange)
50g caster sugar
one piece of finely sliced stem ginger
Place chopped rhubarb in a medium-sized saucepan with the lemon juice, caster sugar, a tbsp of water and the sliced ginger. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for five minutes if you want rhubarb pieces still intact or ten to fifteen minutes for a sauce consistency.
2tbsp ginger syrup
400ml whipping cream
Just whip up the cream with the syrup until it’s at the thickness you’re after. Easy.
3 egg whites
150g caster sugar
Heat oven to 110°c. Tip the egg whites into the clean bowl of the food mixer and whisk until the whites double in volume and hold a peak when the whisk is drawn through them. Keep the whisk running and add the sugar one tbsp at a time and whisk until stiff peaks form and the whites are glossy. The easiest way to check if it’s ready is to take a small amount and rub it between your fingertips, if you can still feel sugar granules then keep whisking until they’ve dissolved.
Use a star shaped tip on a piping bag and dip a pastry brush into pink colour paste, then paint two to three large stripes from the tip to the top of the bag. Dollop your meringue mixture gently into the piping bag and swirl out nest shapes onto a parchment lined baking tray (watch this video as a guide). Bake for two hours until they are crisp and can be lifted straight off the paper and then leave to cool on a wire rack before assembling the whole lot together. I find the best way is to fill the centre of the nests with the cream and drizzle the compote all around the sides.