Baker Gesine Bullock-Prado puts a spring spin on the traditional pavlova, folding nutty pistachios into the crisp and chewy meringue and mixing tangy rhubarb and strawberries into the cream that’s piled on top.
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1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
2 tablespoons cornstarch
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 ounces rhubarb, chopped into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries, plus 1/2 cup small strawberries for garnish
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, chilled
1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios, for garnish
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the pavlova
Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, toss the pistachios with the cornstarch.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt at high speed until foamy, 2 minutes. Beat in the vinegar, then beat in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until the whites are glossy and stiff peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes. Gently fold in the pistachio mixture. Using a large spoon, dollop the meringue onto the prepared sheet and spread into a 10-inch round with a slight indentation in the center. Lower the oven temperature to 225° and bake the meringue for about 1 1/2 hours, until crisp but still chewy on the inside. Turn the oven off; let the meringue rest in the oven for 1 hour. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
Step 3 Meanwhile, make the rhubarb cream
In a small saucepan, simmer the rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice over moderate heat, stirring and mashing the rhubarb with the back of a wooden spoon, until the sugar is dissolved and the rhubarb breaks down, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the quartered strawberries and vanilla bean paste. Let cool completely.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the cream with the mascarpone at medium speed until moderately firm, about 3 minutes. Stir 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into the cooled rhubarb, then fold the mixture into the remaining whipped cream. Spoon into the center of the meringue. Garnish with the small strawberries and chopped pistachios and serve.
The cooled meringue can be stored in a large ziplock bag overnight.
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Review Body: This is really, really delicious. I've never made meringue before but I thought it turned out very well. Maybe still slightly wet-ish in the middle but it really didn't matter. (And maybe that's how it's supposed to be-- I don't know!) I wasn't sure how to decide whether it was "crisp but still chewy on the inside" so I just cooked it for exactly the time it said! It was definitely crisp and cracking on the outside. I didn't bother with the small strawberries or pistachios for garnish-- if I'd been making it for company, I would have, and it would have been even prettier, but it's not necessary. The extra strawberries in particular might have added a nice fresh textural element too, but I think there are plenty of pistachios already in the meringue (I didn't chop them too finely). FWIW I would say it's fine to eat the second day, though it's not quite as good, and by the third day it's not really very good at all. I'd make it fresh the day you serve it if you can.