Summer Berry Pavlova with Rhubarb granita

Summer berry pavlova

I love entertaining friends. Normally I would rack my brains the week or two prior the event to plan the menu in detail, but this time round I was at a total loss as what to do for dessert.

As I was scouring through the supermarket aisles I was trying to think of things that I would love in a pudding. The rhubarb winked at me and instantly I took the bait. It jumped straight into my shopping trolley! When I was little I couldn’t say rhubarb, yet it was my most favourite dessert when my mother stewed it with a bit of sugar and served it with homemade custard. I called it mampoerretjies (mampoer is a homemade peach spirits with a very high alcohol content).

In memory of the above-mentioned I decided to put my own Summer time spin on it for this dessert and, I must say, it was very, very delicious! The tartness of the rhubarb and the berries were cut by the sweetness of the sugar and the praline just gave the dish another level of texture. Delicious!

I started off with a basic sugar syrup that I divided into three parts to create this dessert. So here we go!


Rhubarb granita

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 240ml cold water
  • 400g rhubarb
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 5 raspberries
  • juice of 1 lime

Method

  1. Pour the sugar and water into a saucepan. Place over low heat on the hob. Stir until sugar has been dissolved.
  2. Once sugar has been dissolved, stir in the vanilla bean paste and the lime juice. Let it simmer over low heat until thick and syrupy, but not discoloured.
  3. Once the sugar syrup is ready, pour out about three tablespoons of the syrup and put to one side (this is for the pavlova) and pour about 1/4 cup of the syrup into another small saucepan (this is for your praline).
  4. Add the rhubarb to the remaining sugar and let it cook down until it is nice and soft. Avoid adding water if possible as this will form unpleasant ice crystals.
  5. Once cooked, pour into a freeze proof container and leave to cool completely.
  6. Once cooled, with an immersion blender, blend the rhubarb with the raspberries until smooth and place into the freezer.
  7. Stir every 30 minutes until it is frozen. Depending on your freezer it may take a good few hours. Mine took over night to freeze into a sorbet, but only 3 hours to make a granita consistency.

Praline

  • Reserved sugar syrup
  • 50g extra sugar
  • 50g nuts of your choice (I used unsalted cashews and chopped walnuts that was already in my cupboard.)

Method

  1. Boil the sugar syrup with the added sugar on the hob. Do not stir.
  2. Place the nuts on a baking tray (I used baking parchment that I greased before placing the nuts on).
  3. Once the sugar is golden in colour, take it off the hob and pour over the nuts. Set to one side to harden. Do not touch this as it is extremely hot.

Berry pavlova

  • Selection of fresh, in season, berries. I used cherries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
  • Fresh mint to taste
  • 1 meringue nest per person

Method

  1. Pit the cherries and halve both the cherries and the blackberries if you wish.
  2. Chop the mint and mix gently through the berries.
  3. Place in the fridge until serving time.

To serve

  1. Scoop granita into ramekins (it may either be like a sorbet or more liquid depending on when you’ve placed it in the freezer.)
  2. Blitz the praline in a food processor until it looks like crumbs.
  3. Place one meringue nest on your plate and top with the berry mix.
  4. Spoon over some of the vanilla and lime sugar syrup, top with the praline and garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

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