THE GREAT INDOORS: Beyond the crisp: Beautiful way to bake with rhubarb
I’ve spoken before about the ginormous rhubarb plant in my backyard. Suffice it to say it has not shrunk in the past year or two — in fact, I’m thinking we might see if it’s eligible for it’s own zip code.
What that means exactly is that in late spring and early summer, I try like a mad woman to harvest as much rhubarb as I can without harming the plant. But I’m still left with a enough to feed a small army. I manage to freeze some and give away some to friends and neighbors; that’s one problem solved. But the second problem is a little trickier: finding new and creative ways to use up my bumper crop. You can only eat so much rhubarb crisp, rhubarb bread and rhubarb muffins.
Alas, Martha Stewart to the rescue. The culinary goddess is sharing a beautiful and elegant way to use rhubarb. (Are we surprised? I think not.) Her Rosy Rhubarb-Meringue Cake is a lot prettier than a loaf of rhubarb bread. It looks like it should be super hard to make, but it’s not. It doesn’t get any harder than whipping up egg whites and whipped topping and creating a rhubarb compote on the stove. But when you put it all together, it’s the kind of cake perfect for a bridal shower, baby shower or even a holiday dinner.
Thanks, Martha. Now can you do something to make my Tater Tot Casserole look elegant, too?
Rosy Rhubarb-Meringue Cake
Coconut oil, for brushing
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white- wine vinegar
2 pinches of kosher salt
1 bunch rhubarb (1 pound), trimmed and cut into 1/2–inch pieces (about 3 1/3 cups)
2 tablespoons Moscato
1 1/2 cups cold, heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush an 8-inch springform pan with coconut oil; line bottom with parchment. Beat egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar while beating continuously until stiff, glossy peaks form — about 7 minutes. Fold in cornstarch, vanilla, vinegar and 1 pinch salt. Spoon meringue into prepared pan, smooth top level with an offset spatula; transfer to oven. Immediately reduce heat to 325 degrees; bake — without opening oven door — until cake has a pale honey color or about 70 minutes. (If top appears to be getting too brown, lower heat slightly.)
Turn off oven; let meringue stand inside, without opening oven door, at least 1 hour and up to overnight. (Marshmallow center will sink and leave high, crisp sides.) Meanwhile, place rhubarb, remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar, Moscato and remaining pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and rhubarb is tender and partially broken down — about 7 minutes. Transfer rhubarb to a bowl with a slotted spoon and continue to cook liquid until reduced by half. Pour liquid over rhubarb; let cool completely. Rhubarb can be made to this point and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.
Just before serving, carefully remove cake from springform and place on a serving platter. Whisk together cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Pile 2 1/2 cups whipped cream into center of meringue, then spoon 1 cup rhubarb mixture over. Serve, with remaining rhubarb mixture and whipped cream on the side. (And since you should now have a nearly full open bottle of Moscato, pour yourself a glass to go along with it.)
Serves eight to 10. Watch our video at thegreatindoors.areavoices.com for a step-by-step look at how to make the cake.