Mini Rhubarb And Custard Meringues
Here's a fun little dessert that is sure to get you in a summery mood. These mini meringues are an exciting take on the classic rhubarb and custard dessert. Crisp Swiss meringue cups with tart rhubarb and creamy custard. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.
In this post:
How do I store mini rhubarb and custard meringues?
Unfortunately, the meringues don't store very well once they have been filled with custard. These are best eaten fresh but if you haven't filled the mini meringues then you can store them in an airtight container for a couple of weeks.
Can I freeze mini rhubarb and custard meringues?
Meringues are very sensitive to any liquid in the air so once filled with the custard, the mini meringues cannot be frozen. However, each individual element of the dessert can be.
The meringues, by themselves can be placed in an airtight container and then frozen for about a month. The same goes for the poached rhubarb. To defrost the meringues, remove them from the container and allow them to come to room temperature. To defrost the rhubarb, just place in the fridge overnight to defrost.
The custard doesn't tend to freeze very well and can separate so I wouldn't recommend freezing. Although, where there's a will, there's a way and it's not impossible. The custard may not be the same quality as when it was made fresh but if it saves you from creating food waste then definitely freeze it.
5 tips for a successful meringue
Don't let any egg yolk get in to the egg whites
Always make sure your bowl is really really clean. Plastic bowls are a no no as they often retain a layer of fat which will stop your egg whites from whipping.
Bake meringues at a low temperature to stop them from browning.
Leave meringues in the oven once it has been switched off to allow them to cool slowly. This will prevent them from cracking.
Store your baked meringues in an airtight, moisture-free container to keep them fresh. The meringues can usually keep for a couple of weeks this way and can even be stored in the freezer for a month.
Mini Rhubarb and Custard Pavlovas (extended)
1 hour 45 minutes
For the Swiss meringue
3 Egg whites
200g Caster sugar
Making the Meringue
What I like about Swiss meringue is that it is each to make than Italian meringue and, I believe, more reliable than French meringue.
To make the meringue, half fill a saucepan with water and place on a low heat. Mix your egg whites and sugar in a clean bowl—make sure the bowl isn't plastic. Place the bowl above the water to heat the egg whites, mix occasionally. Bring the egg whites up to 45C before removing from the heat and whisking. Whisk the eggs whites until you get stiff peaks.
Piping the Meringue
Line a baking tray with baking parchment and then draw twelve 5cm circles onto the baking parchment with a pencil.
Place the meringue into a piping bag with a star tip— You can use any piping tip you want but I used a star tip to create a nice pattern. Using the circles you drew as a guide, pipe a solid circle of meringue to form the base of the meringue cup. Continue piping around the edge of the base in a spiral to build up the sides of the meringue. Pipe around the edge of the circle 4-5 times until you get a good height of meringue which is almost like a cup. Repeat this process another 10-11 time until all of the meringue is used up.
Baking the Meringue
Preheat the oven to 120C/100C fan and bake for 45 minutes- 1 hour until they are crisp and dry. Switch off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven until it is completely cool.
Note: leaving the meringues in the cooling oven is to stop them from cracking.
For the custard
275ml Whole milk
100ml Double cream
80g Granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
3 Egg yolks
2 1/2 tbsp Cornflour
1 tbsp Vanilla extract
25g Salted butter
Making the Custard
While the meringues are in the oven, make the custard.
For the custard, add the milk, cream, sugar and salt to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mix to a simmer, whisking occasionally to stop it from burning. Once the milk mix starts to simmer remove from the heat.
In a separate heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornflour and vanilla until smooth. Slowly pour around 100ml of the milk mix into the eggs while continually whisking. Once fully combined, slowly pour the egg mix back into the pan while continually whisking again
Note: this stage is to stop the eggs from scrambling.
Place the pan back onto the heat and cook until thick and large bubbles rise to the top when it's boiling, (around 1 minute) making sure to whisk the mixture while cooking. Pour the custard into a heatproof dish and whisk in the butter. Place cling film directly on top of the custard to stop a skin from forming and allow to cool completely.
Tip: If your custard has split slightly, immediately use a hand blender to bring it back together.
For the poached rhubarb
250g Caster sugar
1 Stick of Rhubarb
Poaching the Rhubarb
Chop the rhubarb into 1 cm sized cubes and then set aside.
Mix together the sugar and water in a small pan. Place the pan on a low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the sugar syrup to the boil and add the rhubarb. Remove from the heat and leave the rhubarb in the syrup to cool. Once cool, drain the rhubarb and place in a container.
Tip: the leftover syrup can be kept for a week in the fridge and used to make drinks or in cocktails.
Once you are comfortable poaching rhubarb you can try different infusions. Try poaching the rhubarb with whole spices or herbs like whole cardamom, cloves mint leaves etc. Just add your chosen spice or herb to the sugar syrup as it starts to boil.
You can also try poaching rhubarb in orange juice or a similar liquid. The amount of sugar will need to be changed depending on the liquid that you use but a good estimate for orange juice is 250ml of orange juice to 80g of sugar.
Assembling the meringues
Now that you have all of your components, you can start assembling. Spoon a layer of the poached rhubarb into the meringue cups and then pipe the custard on top of the rhubarb up to the top of the meringue. (you can use a couple of spoons instead, I just find piping the custard a little easier and neater).
For decoration, place a couple of cubes of rhubarb and a few mint leaves and enjoy!
Tip: to really make the meringues 'pop' save the pinkest rhubarb for the decoration.