They are the final addition to my basket, their long, slender rosy-red stems balance on top of a beautiful snow-white cauliflower, a butternut pumpkin, locally grown potatoes, broccoli, long green beans and brussels sprouts.
I enter the large shed at Hawkes farm; an Aladdin's cave of inspiring produce. My mind happily racing, concocting ideas as my hands pick up whatever catches my eye at the time. I invariably leave with my basket overflowing and find myself saying to the staff every single time, "I knew I should have bought another bag in with me!"
Crimson rhubarb and raspberry jam with a hint of floral essence from my last remaining bergamot gifted to me from Kath www.kulinaryadventuresofkath.com
slowly bubbled away on the stovetop, sending the most wonderful aroma through the kitchen. My hands pressed the buttery shortbread base into the tin, fork marks followed - baked until tinged with a pale golden hue. The jam spread generously over the hot base. Eggwhites whipped until snowy soft peaks. Finely shredded coconut folded through. Baked. Cooled. Sliced. Shared.
It's tart. Not too sweet, slightly chewy and makes for one very enjoyable afternoon (or anytime) treat.
Rhubarb and coconut meringue slice
Makes a 31cm x 17cm slice cut into fingers, squares or triangles
Recipe inspired by Gourmet Traveller.
For the jam.
1 bunch of rhubarb, ends trimmed and cut into 5cm lengths.
100g raw sugar
juice of 1 bergamot (or lime, orange or lemon)
50g frozen raspberries
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line with baking paper so that the sides and ends sit about 5cm up from the tin. set aside.
Place the rhubarb, sugar and juice into a medium pot over medium heat, stir everything together and allow to simmer away for at least 18-20 minutes until its beautifully jammy. Stir in the raspberries and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool while you make the base.
For the base.
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small chunks
100g caster sugar
zest of bergamot (or lime, orange or lemon)
2 free-range egg yolks (reserving whites for topping)
225g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer or using electric beaters, cream the butter, sugar and zest until light and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time and beat until combined. Sift the flour and baking powder along with the salt and add this to the bowl. Very slowly turn the mixer on again being careful not to send flour flying all over the bench, or you! Mix until only just combined and then spoon out into the prepared slice tin. Using floured fingertips, gently ease the dough into the corners, pressing down until its all even. Dock the base with a fork a few times over and pop into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly coloured. Remove and set aside while you make the meringue.
For the meringue.
120g raw sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
120g shredded coconut
Once again in a very clean and dry bowl, add the eggwhites and starting slowly with the whisk attachment, whisk gently until small bubbles start to form, gradually increase the speed to medium until the whites have turned to soft peaks. Add the sugar a little at a time, about three batches should do it, whisking well in between each until the meringue is thick and glossy. Whisk in the vanilla.
Gently fold in the coconut with a few turns.
Bringing it all together.
Spread the rhubarb over the top of the base then spoon over the meringue and either using the back of a spoon or an offset palette knife spread it all out evenly.
Pop into the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until the meringue is golden.
Allow to cool in the tin and then slice into your desired shapes. I allowed my slice to rest in the fridge overnight and this also worked well and made slicing quite easy.
It will keep in the fridge for at least 5 days.