Peonies, scoops of ice cream, dances through the sprinkler, warm summer rains and juicy strawberries. All the things that are making summer a blast for us here in Weimar. Those end of year exams are done and dusted for my son, my last workshops and events for the first half of the year are under the belt and we are gearing towards summer break in just under a week.
As the summer lull has started to spread over us we find ourselves easing into a more relaxed routine. It’s funny how automatically our brain and body simply adjusts to this new routine. We spend afternoons in town walking through the shady pedestrian cobblestoned streets with no particular destination. Weimar in the summers is beautiful and … rather quaint. Street musicians fill the air with music – vibes of cello in one corner and the booming of a trumpet in the other corner. Summer also means tourists – tourists in packs - who descend upon Weimar and add to the unique flair this town is known for.
Even the students at the university seem to come alive with the first warm rays of summer light. The campus buzzes with a vibe that only the summer semester can boast of. Short skirts, short shirts and short shorts, flip flops and sandals, sunglasses and sun screen, chit chat in the cafes and laughter in the hallways. Classes are taken outdoors, ateliers and workshops throw open their doors allowing access to research and art side by side. This vibe keeps Weimar young and exciting.
Around the town the parks are dotted with flowers and picnic blankets – an easy game of Frisbee here or a lively soccer match there. Babies take wobbly steps on the gravel paths, while mothers chatter under the shade of a blooming tree. A pair stroll hand in hand along the stream that snakes through the town and – oh - those tourists again discover Goethe’s stately garden house.
A little further out of town the fields are wheat green or rape yellow with a sprinkle of red poppies and the air is heavy with the scent of summer – freshly cut grass, field flowers and barbecues.
We make our way to the strawberry fields ready to pick baskets of the first strawberries – a ritual as the first strawberries are always the best and the sweetest. Before the baskets can be filled we jam handfuls of the juicy fruit into our mouths, fingers stained red and dripping. We compare our overflowing baskets arguing who gathered the most and whose basket is the heaviest.
Before we even leave the field my mind wanders through my mental recipe collection. Strawberry cake, strawberry mousse, strawberry ice cream – no none of the above. It has to be a special treat to honor the first strawberries and the last of the rhubarb I have sitting in the fridge. Nothing does it more than a royal pavlova. A delicate crunchy shell topped with a creamy, smooth, rich cream and piled high with the best of what summer provides.
A pavlova it was. I love making meringues – there is something elegant but also something that always leaves everyone, including me in awe. I flavored both the meringue and the cream with a little pinch of cardamom. For the cream I use creamy Skyr with an addition of whipped cream to give it a bit of body. The rhubarb was preserved in a jar! Mainly to use over the next few months but also to add a tangy flavor yet a smoother texture to the pavlova – finally the first of the strawberries are topped for a burst of sweet flavor. MAKE IT!
Recipe: Rhubarb Strawberry Pavlova with Cardamon CreamMeeta K. Wolff
- 4 egg whites
- 220g caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Rhubarb Jam (Makes 5 x 340g jars)
- 1kg forced rhubarb (untrimmed weight)
- 900g jam sugar with added pectin
- 100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- Skyr Cream
- 150 ml double cream, whipped
- 200g Skyr (alternative thick Greek yogurt or mascarpone
- 2 tablespoon coconut blossom sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 150g fresh strawberries sliced
- 50 g pistachios, finely chopped
- Make the rhubarb jam: Wash and trim the rhubarb and cut into 2–2.5cm chunks. Pour a layer of sugar into the bottom of a bowl or a form, then add a layer of rhubarb. Repeat, continuing until all the sugar and rhubarb are used, finishing with a layer of sugar. Pour the orange juice over the top. Cover and leave to rest overnight. This draws the juice from the rhubarb to make a sweet and thick jam. The following day, bring the mixture to the boil, stirring carefully. Boil rapidly for 5–6 minutes, then test for setting point (see "READ" below). Remove from the heat and rest for 5 minutes before pouring into warm, sterilized jars (see "READ" below). For the pavlova you will need about 1 jar - using a hand blender puree the rhubarb so that it has a thick consistency. Allow to rest and thicken further.
- Make the meringues: Preheat oven to 150C degrees. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Place egg whites into a clean bowl. Beat with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Gradually add caster sugar and cardamom, beating well between each addition. Beat until mixture is thick and glossy - this will take at least 5 minutes. Pipe swirls of the mixture onto baking trays then bake for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely in the oven with the door ajar (see "READ" below).
- For the skyr cream: Gently mix together the whipped cream, skyr, icing sugar and cardamom. Refrigerate.
- Assemble the pavlovas: Spoon cream mixture into centers of meringues. Add a few teaspoons of the rhubarb jam, arrange with the fresh strawberries and sprinkle some pistachios. Arrange pavlovas on a serving dish and serve immediately.
READ:Making meringues / pavlova for the first time? Don't forget to read my tutorial How to make the perfect Pavlova
It's all about the jam! Make sure you catch my big post on preserving summer in jellies, chutneys and jams with 101 tips on how to preserve including how to test for the setting point, sterilizing jars and several recipes.
This dessert symbolizes many of the highlights of summer but also of the perfect dessert. It is crunchy, creamy and absolutely fruity – not to mention easy to make and prepare some of the elements ahead of time. It makes a great party or elegant dinner dessert. The wonderful flavors of cardamom paired with the rhubarb jam and fresh strawberries harmonize truly magnificently – a bit earthy, slightly tangy and ravishingly sweet.
DUBAI WORKSHOP UPDATE
Are you going to join us? You will find everything you need to know about the workshop here >> Details and Programme
15 - 16 October 2016 Dubai, UAE
More summer meringue desserts and treats from What’s for lunch, Honey?:
|Black Forest Pavlova: Quark, Cherries, Kirsch & Chocolate||Cherry Pistachio Meringue Tart||Chocolate Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse, Honey Roasted Peaches and Fresh Raspberries|