Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring! Rhubarb! Meringue!

Aw, barbecues! This is a good opportunity to cook. If only I had known in England barbecues meant meat, meat and more meat. If I had known this before we planned it with my roommate and we invited our friends ... No, I would have done it anyway. Because even though I love English culture, I love my little French and Provençal cuisine.

And in the South, we love salads, raw vegetables to crunch in a homemade mayonnaise or olive spread, aubergines and grilled fish. We also like fruit salads and pastries. Oh but the latter, I think it's mutual. That's why I wanted to do something a little refined, even though I knew that if it succeeded, it would be caught by hand and swallowed in a few mouthfuls. Today, there remains no crumbs to tell.

I made this recipe with already prepared dough, but next time I will take the time to make it. But with the number of guests, we will say that I had an excuse. Okay so I need another excuse because I actually cooked this recipe last summer, and there is no reason why I have not added it before.

ingredients for a tart (8 servings):
1 shortcrust pastry 
2 egg yolks
20cl single cream
1 packet of vanilla sugar
800g rhubarb
50g caster sugar

Meringue: 2 egg whites 100g caster sugar

Start by washing and peeling rhubarb sticks. Cut them in half in length, depending on thickness of stems, then cut into 1 inch pieces.
In a bowl, add rhubarb and sprinkle with 50g of sugar. Leave it marinate for several hours.

Preheat oven to 230°C.
Drain the rhubarb in a colander.
In a pie plate, spread the pastry, keeping the baking paper or buttering the pan. Trim excess at the edges and prick the bottom with fork.
In a bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla cream. In the dish, divide the rhubarb and pour over the preparation. Bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the meringue. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt. In general, I place the bowl in the refrigerator shortly before in order to make it cold. It helps to make the eggs harder if you whisk by hand. While continuing to whisk, gradually add caster sugar. The meringue will take consistency, like melted marshmallow.

You don't need to do this, but I like to add sugar after placing the bowl over a bain-marie. With water vapor, egg whites gradually harden as you add sugar, and meringue becomes firmer. It takes 2 minutes. That way we can easily draw shapes with a spoon or a pastry bag. After I leave it just enough time to brown under the grill.

But you can just add sugar to egg whites while beating. Lower the oven to 110°C and remove the pie. Spread meringue over the just cooked pie, then bake again. It takes about an hour. It must be hard on the surface. There are plenty of ways to cook the meringue: either slowly at very low oven or faster (25 minutes at 150 ° C, 8-10min at 230 ° C), the best is you regularly watch until it turns a nice golden colour.

Detail from a Berthe Morisot's painting, Young girl carrying a basket, 1891.

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