I love GBBO. If you do not know what that stands for…leave now.
Just kidding, don’t leave. GBBO stands for Great British Bake Off, otherwise known as one of the greatest television shows ever. Naturally I have watched every single episode I could find here in the States, and get very excited when I find a new season is out.
A lot of inspiration can come from this show because the bakes are so different to what is found in America. We love our apple pies, chocolate chip cookies, and banana puddings. (For good reason might I add.)
Occasionally it is nice to get a bit of insight into other cultures, especially if you do not feel like spending thousands to fly to a foreign land. Each episode of GBBO has three rounds of different desserts, the majority of which are traditional British treats.
Have you ever had a bakewell tart, mince pie, or chelsea bun? Have you even heard of those things? Yeah, me either. Although, I would love to try them all.
Another dessert I have never tasted, also featured on GBBO, is the Pavlova. This one is not traditionally British, if you hadn’t guessed by the name. Pavlova is three large layers of baked meringue and some sort of fruity filling.
And although I am not a fan of meringue, mainly because I have only ever tried the kind you get on top of a pie that is never prepared properly, the idea of a proper meringue sounds very delicious. If done right, the outside is light and crispy, and the inside is like a sweet airy pillow. As for the flavor, it should be reminiscent of a marshmallow.
In order to achieve a good meringue, the sugar has to be added in very slowly. This allows the sugar to dissolve into the eggs (so it will not be grainy), and keeps the eggs from deflating. As for baking, you have to dry them out low and slow to achieve the perfect outer and inner textures.
For this recipe, rhubarb was a no brainer because it is in season. Pistachios would add the perfect crunchy jolt of saltiness. And of course I kept the meringue itself as simple as possible, adding only the flavoring of vanilla. I decided to make little individual meringues, and not shackle myself to one giant cake that would most certainly fall apart before you could finish it. By keeping the meringues small and the toppings separate I could extend the shelf life and allow eaters to personalize their dessert. You could surely impress your friends by featuring them as the dessert for a summer dinner party. They look very fancy once all together.
- 1 Pound of Rhubarb, cubed
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1/2 Cup of Water
- Juice of One Lemon
- A Pinch of Salt
- In a small saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar, water, salt, and lemon.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Once bubbling, turn the heat to medim-low.
- Allow the rhubarb to cook over medium-low for approximately 45 minutes, or until the jam is thick and reduced in half.
- Allow to cool before transferring to an airtight container.
NOTE: This jam can store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Ingredients: Makes 8-12
- 4 Large Egg Whites
- 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
- 1 Cup of Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
- 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
- 1 Tablespoon of Corn Starch
- 1/2 Cup of Pistachios, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line two baking sheets with slipmats. Set aside.
- Prepare a large piping bag with the desired tip. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium for one minute.
- Add in cream of tartar and continue to mix on medium for another minute.
- Mix together salt, sugar, and corn starch. Add into mixer, while on medium, one tablespoon at a time.
- Continue to beat until soft peaks have formed.
- Add in vanilla, and beat meringue on medium until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form.
- Gently transfer meringue into prepared piping bags. Pipe meringue, in your desired shape, onto prepared baking sheets. I piped cones, but most people pipe a nest to hold their topping.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until meringues are very lightly golden on the outside.
- Let cool in the oven for 4-6 hours before serving.
- To serve, top each meringue with a tablespoon of jam and a sprinkling of pistachios.