Saturday, 8 September 2012

Organic September - raspberry and rhubarb curd pavlova

... last night I cycled to the beach... you see, the thing is I seem to spend so much time talking about the wonderful countryside i'm surrounded by and all the wonderful fresh produce that sometimes I forget I also live within a stones throw from the most glorious sandy beaches.  The east coast of England is quite literally awash with some award-winning beaches and because many of the seaside towns are a little... how shall I put this... common... they are often neglected in favour of the more rugged southern or western coastlines... but last night at around 5pm, whilst the last of the summer sun still clung to the sky I got on my bicycle and gently rode the 10 miles to the beach resort of Mablethorpe and up onto the promenade that runs south along the cost for about 4 miles to the small village of Hutoft and I have to say - it was a life-affirming evening....

... Mablethorpe is a proper British 'Kiss-Me-Quick' type of town, the air alive with the aroma of traditional fish and chips... as I cycle past the merry holiday-makers, shuffling slowly back to their chalets or bead and breakfast abodes, thinking about getting back to the grind of every day life as the school term starts afresh next week I am greeted by the heady scent of malt vinegar and sugary candyfloss... shop-keepers begin to board up their store fronts and the donkeys are led languorously back to their grazing as another day is done... I cycle on past the fabulously kitsch Gin and Tonic beach hut and on through the sleepier seaside villages of Trusthorpe and Sutton, row upon row of wooden beach huts, some painted with dizzying colours and others bleached by the sun...

... children play on the sand as the waft of burning charcoal reaches my nose and I hear my name called... my friend Sally and her family, setting up their fancy pyramid barbecue outside their own beach hut... and I stop to chat as she threads marinated chicken breast onto skewers ready for the grill... the 10 mile ride home was not fun.  My back and arms began to ache but I made it back home to the best reward...

raspberry and rhubarb curd pavlova
raspberry pavlova is one of those fabulously louche desserts that is terribly easy to make but not so easy to make look good... I think mine is more along the lines of 'pile of fruit and fruity curd plopped onto some meringue'... but what you gonna do eh ...and I was sent some lovely organic eggs and raspberries in the hamper I received from Sainsbury's as part of their Organic September campaign so naturally this rather wicked dessert sprang to mind...

for the pavlova
3 large organic egg whites
6 oz caster sugar

for the topping
a jar of home-made rhubarb curd - recipe can be found here
350g raspberries

- pre heat the oven to 150C and prepare a baking sheet with some parchment paper on it

- place the egg whites in a large, very clean, bowl and whisk them until they form soft peaks and you can turn the bowl upside down without them sliding out

- next spoon the sugar in, a spoonful at a time and continue whisking until all the sugar is in

- spoon half the meringue mixture onto your baking parchment forming a circle about 20cm wide, then go around this mixture with further spoonfuls of the mix forming blobs, creating a larger circle

- place the tray into the oven and turn the heat down to 150C and bake for 1 hour, then turn the oven off and leave it in there until the oven is completely cool.

- to assemble the pavlova simply spoon the curd into the centre then top with fresh raspberries... I also had a little of the rhubarb puree left that I made the curd with and I dolloped this on too which added a nice tartness to a very sugary dessert

... pavlova starts with a P and therefore I am entering this divine creation into this months alphabakes challenge hosted so beautifully by both Caroline from Caroline Makes and Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker... I hope they like...

eat and of course, enjoy!



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