Coronation pavlova tower
John Whaite's towering pavlova will reign supreme at any summer gathering. While it’s not particularly complicated, it does require a little planning, so gather your ingredients and set aside a bit of time.
- Prepare1 hr
- Cook1 hr 50 mins
- Total time2 hrs 50 mins
- Pluscooling and chilling
- 600g rhubarb, cut into 3-4cm chunks
- 300g caster sugar
- 100ml ruby port (or 100ml red wine, or 3 tbsp blackcurrant cordial mixed with 3 tbsp water)
- 460g strawberries
- 2 tbsp cornflour
- 2 balls stem ginger, chopped
- 8 large egg whites
- 500g caster sugar
- 600ml double cream
- 6 tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 300g strained Greek yogurt
Put the rhubarb in a deep roasting tin (about 25cm x 35cm), then add 200g caster sugar and the port (or wine or cordial) and toss together. Ensure all the chunks are in a single layer – the more closely packed, the better – then cover and chill overnight. Hull and halve the strawberries and toss with the remaining 100g caster sugar. Put on a tray or large lipped plate; cover and chill overnight.
For the meringue, preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment and draw on 4 circles: one 23cm in diameter, one 18cm, one 15cm and the final one 10cm. Put the egg whites into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a bowl and electric beaters). Whisk on a high speed until the egg whites form a thick foam. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk until you have a very thick, glossy meringue and there are very few granules of sugar left (test by rubbing a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger).
Divide the mixture between the 4 circles and spread it out to form thick discs, all the same height. Put in the oven and reduce the temperature to 140ºC, gas mark 1. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, then turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the meringues cool inside (overnight if possible). If, once cool, the meringues are a little sticky because of humidity, bake them for 1 hour more at just 80ºC, gas mark ¼, to crisp them up.
For the rhubarb, preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Pour the juice from the tin of rhubarb into a pan and set aside. Ensure the rhubarb is evenly spaced in the roasting tin and bake for 10-15 minutes until soft but not overly mushy. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Drain off any liquid and pat dry with kitchen paper.
Add the juice from the tray of strawberries to the pan of rhubarb liquid. In a small jug, mix together the cornflour with 3 tbsp of the liquid and stir to dissolve. Bring the pan of juices to a boil, then add the cornflour mixture a little at a time, whisking after each addition, just until it thickens up to a coating consistency. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, use a balloon whisk to whip the cream with the icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and Greek yogurt until it holds its shape well.
Set the largest meringue on a cake stand or large flat plate. Dollop on just over ¼ of the cream mixture. Scatter over some strawberries and rhubarb. Repeat, using all the cream and meringue and most of the fruit, finishing with a cream layer. Decorate the top with the remaining fruit, and brush with the thickened syrup. Scatter over the ginger and, just before serving, drizzle over more syrup, letting it dribble all the way down the tower.
SHORT ON TIME? Instead of macerating and roasting the rhubarb, use a pot of No.1 Rhubarb & Raspberry Preserve. Mix half of it with the juice of half a lemon and use to decorate the pavlova along with the strawberries.
Macerate the fruit the day before you want to assemble and serve the pavlova. It’s also worth cooking the meringues so they can cool down in the oven overnight.
Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe