Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A dessert of rosewater meringue, cardamomy yoghurt and pistachio praline

That's a photo of pistachio praline, on baking paper.  That praline was sprinkled over my gorgeous gooey meringue dessert oozing with berries and creamy filling.  But this is the only photo I've got.  The thing is, this dessert is so yummy, taking a photo of it comes second to eating it. 

This dessert is based on a recipe by Maria Elia (author of Full of Flavour).  Her recipe is a meringue roulade, stuffed with yoghurt (mixed with saffron and cardamom) and roasted rhubarb, sprinkled with pistachios.  I added rosewater to my meringue, and used berries instead of rhubarb.  I made pistachio praline to sprinkle over the top of the roulade. 

I love all these middle eastern flavours, and the contrast of textures makes this both a really fresh tasting and comforting dessert.

It's a good dessert to make in advance and then assemble just before serving. 

Here's the recipe:

Cardamom, saffron, roasted rhubarb and pistachio meringue roulade
(with a few twists and turns from me)

Serves 6-8

(OK, so Maria Elia begins with draining the yoghurt in muslin the night before.  No one will be surprised to hear that I skipped this step, not least because I first looked at the recipe 4 or 5 hours before I hoped to eat it ...)

500g Greek yoghurt (I used a mix of Greek yoghurt and marscapone cheese)
a pinch of saffron (I skipped the saffron)
8 cardamom pods
175g caster sugar
3T roughly chopped pistachio nuts, plus extra for garnishing (I used more nuts than this and used them to make a praline - check out this recipe if you want to do the same)

400g rhubarb cut into 4cm lengths (I couldn't find rhubarb when I needed it, so used a selection of red berries instead)
grated zest and juice of 1 orange
75g caster sugar

4 egg whites
190g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract (I added about 1-2 teaspoons of rosewater to my meringue mixture instead of vanilla)

1tsp white wine vinegar1tsp cornflour, sifted
icing sugar for dusting

For the rhubarb, heat the oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6.  Scatter the rhubarb in a single layer on a baking tray, drizzle with the orange juice, sprinkle over the zest and sugar, and roast for about 15 minutes, until just tender.  Set aside to cool.

Line a 23 x 33cm baking tray with parchment paper.  In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Gradually whisk in the sugar a little at a time, and continue whisking until thick and glossy.  Fold in the vanilla (or rosewater), vinegar and cornflour.  Spread the meringue evenly in the baking tray and cook for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 170C/Gas Mark 3 and bake for a further 10 minutes.

Dust a large sheet of parchment paper with icing sugar.  Remove the meringue from the oven and cool for 2-3 minutes, before turning out onto the paper.  Cool for a further 5 minutes, then gently peel off the paper.  Roll the meringue up lengthwise.

Place the saffron in a small bowl (if using).  Add 2tsp warm water and leave to infuse for 2 minutes.  Crush the cardamom pods using a pestle and mortar, pass through a sieve and discard the husks. Mix the yoghurt, sugar, saffron and its water in a bowl (I also added my berries to this mixture and combined).  Unroll the meringue, spread the yoghurt mix over the surface, top with rhubarb, sprinkle with pistachios and roll up, using the paper to help you. 

Serve dusted with icing sugar and pistachio nuts (or praline, go on, why not add a little extra sugar!).


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