Mark the beginning of spring with a rhubarb-topped cardamom pavlova by south east London chef, Guy Awford

The arrival of outdoor grown rhubarb marks the beginning of spring. Soon we will be enjoying the delights of Jersey Royals, asparagus and salt marsh lamb, but for now let’s make the most of this humble fruit. Naturally astringent, rhubarb works very well in a sweet crisp pavlova. In my recipe I’ve added cardamom, honey and pistachios to give it an eastern twist.

The key to a great pavlova is, of course, the meringue. To achieve this you need to start with a scrupulously clean bowl and whisk. The whites should be whisked stiff before adding any sugar.

If you add it too early, you can kiss goodbye to a light and airy pavlova, as no amount of additional whisking can save it. Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time. The mix should be thick and very stiff, holding itself in peaks by the time all the sugar is incorporated. Gently whisk in the vinegar, cardamom and corn flour and it’s ready for the oven.

Arguably the most important element of the process is to set the oven at a low heat; you’re not cooking the meringue so much as drying it out. And while it doesn’t need to be completely dry, it needs enough time to form a brittle crust with an ever-so-slightly gooey centre.

Print Cardamom Pavlova with Rhubarb, Honey & Pistachio Prep Time 20 Cook Time 180 Serves 6


3 egg whites
190g caster sugar
2 tablespoons corn flour
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground roasted cardamom
400g rhubarb, cut into 2.5cm chunks
60g golden caster sugar
100ml water
40g chopped pistachios
300ml double cream
100ml yoghurt
1 tablespoon runny honey
Preheat the oven to 90°C. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then slowly whisk in the sugar. When it’s very stiff, whisk in the corn flour, cardamom and vinegar. Spoon the meringue onto a tray lined with baking paper and spread into a circle (about 24cm diameter). Hollow out the centre so the sides are about 2cm higher.
Cook for 3 hours, or until the pavlova is very crisp underneath. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Place the rhubarb in a single layer in a large pot. Add 100ml of water and 60g of sugar, cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a low heat for 8 minutes, or until tender but retaining its shape.
Leave to cool, strain off the syrup and then boil the syrup hard to reduce in volume by half.
Whisk the cream, fold in the yogurt, then fold in half the rhubarb, a little syrup and spoon onto the pavlova.
Top with the remaining rhubarb. Scatter over the pistachios and drizzle over a little syrup and honey.

By Guy Awford

Guy Awford is chef-patron of, &


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