Rose and rhubarb fool pavlova

My love for pavlova knows no bounds. It’s the pudding my mind wanders to every time I plan dinner for friends. It must be something about the playfulness, the way you can be endlessly creative and, of course, the marshmallowy soft centre under its brittle walls of meringue. Here I have brought together a bevvy of pinks: puckery rhubarb, musky rose, piney pink peppercorns and glassy beads of pomegranate. The result is kaleidoscopic layers of sweet, tart and fragrant.
Serves 8

  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 375g caster sugar
  • 2½ tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp rose water
  • ¾ tsp pink peppercorns, ground
  • 350g rhubarb, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • ½-1 tsp rose water
  • 225ml double cream
  • 75ml Greek-style yoghurt
  • Pomegranate seeds, to serve
1. Draw a roughly 23cm circle on a piece of baking paper (I draw around a cake tin) and put it pencil-side down on a baking sheet. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F.
2. In a stand mixer or with an electric whisk, beat the egg whites until they become white and foamy. Add the sugar patiently, a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Turn up the speed and whisk for five to ten minutes until the mixture is glossy and thick. If you rub a little between your fingertips, it should feel smooth. At low speed, briefly whisk in the cornflour, vinegar, rose water and pink peppercorns.
3. Tip the meringue onto the baking sheet, mounding it high and swirling it into the shape of a cake using the circle as a guide. Smooth the edges using a palette knife then drag the sides from bottom to top to create deep grooves around the edge.
4. Put into the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 150C/130C fan/300F. Bake for one hour 15 minutes. Leaving the meringue in the oven, turn off the heat and let it cool slowly without opening the door. The longer you leave it, even overnight if you have time and patience, the less it will crack - though a few cracks are normal and will soon be buried in cream.
5. For the rhubarb fool, shake together the rhubarb, sugar and rose water in a pan. Set over a medium heat and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or so - the fruit will reduce and collapse into a compôte. Leave to cool.
6. Whip the cream to soft peaks then gently fold through the yoghurt. Ripple in the stewed rhubarb and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
7. At the last moment, spoon the rhubarb fool into the centre of the meringue and top with a hot-pink scattering of pomegranate seeds.

Add a heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the meringue and top with whipped cream and dark berries.

A Whisper of Cardamom: Sweetly Spiced Recipes to Fall in Love With, by Eleanor Ford, is published by Murdoch Books, price £26

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