Monday, 3 June 2013

Rhubarb Meringue Trifle

We're not selling any rhubarb this year, so we are awash in it. I'm eating it regularly stewed, and also freezing it for the winter. But every so often I feel the need to get a little fancier with it. How about trifle?

I didn't have any whipping cream, and I didn't particularly want to have any whipping cream, but trifle generally has whipping cream. On the other hand, I figured once I made the custard I'd have leftover egg whites, so meringue supplies that note of fluffiness instead.

I made this in a pie plate, because it was convenient. The meringue also makes it look more pie-like than most trifles, but use a spoon to serve it and to eat it - it's far too gloopy to actually be pie.

6 to 8 servings
1 hour prep time - allow time to cool

Stew the Rhubarb:
3 cups chopped rhubarb
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Wash, trim and chop the rhubarb, and put it in a pot with the sugar and water. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring frequently, until the rhubarb has completely disintegrated. Set aside to cool. This can be made up to a day ahead, and stored, covered, in the fridge.

Make the Custard:
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons arrowroot, cornstarch OR flour
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups rich milk or light cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Put an inch or so of water in the bottom of a double boiler, and get it started. Whisk together the sugar, salt, arrowroot (or etcetera), and egg yolks. Whisk the milk or cream in slowly, a little at a time to make a smooth, lump-free mixture. Put it in top of the simmering water, and whisk  until thickened.

Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat at once, and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract. Let cool for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Make the Meringue:
3 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

Whisk the eggs until frothy with the cream of tartar, adding the sugar slowly, then  beat them until very stiff.

Assemble the Trifle:
200 grams (1/2 pound) ladyfingers, sponge cake OR angel food cake
1/4 cup sherry OR rum

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Slice or cube the cake and arrange the pieces in the bottom of a large pie dish (10") or 2 quart (litre) glass bowl, or individual serving bowls for that matter. (However, they MUST be oven-proof - they are going in there; that's why you turned it on.) Sprinkle them with the sherry or rum.

Spread the stewed rhubarb over the cake pieces as evenly as you can. Poke the cake pieces with a fork, to  help them absorb the juice. Slowly pour or spoon the custard over the rhubarb, again spreading it as evenly as possible.

Gently scoop the meringue onto the top of the trifle, using a spatula to spread it evenly over the trifle, and arranging it in artistic peaks and swirls assuming it is willing to co-operate. When the oven is hot, but the trifle in, and bake for 6 to 8 minutes until the meringue is nicely browned. Remove and let cool before serving.

Meringue does not refrigerate particularly well, but if the trifle is not all eaten on the first occasion upon which it is served, into the refrigerator it must go. Better soggy meringue than food poisoning.


cinnamon gurl said...

If you're looking for more to do with your rhubarb, my Grandma Ruth's Rhubarb Relish is a hit in my family. We eat it with just about any kind of meat, but it's most sublime with sausages imho. The recipe is here if you're interested.

Ferdzy said...

Thanks, Cinnamon. Looks good, although I find the amount of sugar a little frightening! I guess that's rhubarb for you though. I've been thinking of experimenting with some kind of rhubarb chutney, and may very well do so yet.

Anonymous said...

I must say, I love your blog! Your recipes and information are fantastic! I made your rhubarb crumble the other day, and put a link to your blog on my desktop ;) I'm slowly but surely transitioning here to incorporate a more local/seasonal way of eating. Thanks for your work!