Rhubarb and Quince Meringue Pudding

I have recently made rhubarb and pear pudding with meringue and frangipane topping with honey, as grain and sugar free desert.  I particularly enjoyed the meringue version with a tart sauce on the bottom and sweet and chewy meringue on top. Using honey to stew rhubarb with pear chunks in spicy sauce with deseeded vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and cloves resulted in intense sophisticated tart flavour. Honey meringue, however, was more difficult to master, compared to sugar one. So, I left honey for the sauce, but used sugar for the topping. I have also replaced pear with quince.

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Ingredients: 

sauce

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  • bunch of rhubarb (350g left to use, after hard parts discarded)
  • quince, cored but left with the skin on
  • 100-200g honey (depending on the acidity of rhubarb)
  • 150ml water
  • deseeded vanilla bean
  • cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves

meringue

  • 3-4 egg whites (depending on baking arrangements, either individual serving size dishes, or one big baking dish)
  • sugar 50g per 1 egg white

Preparation:

When I made rhubarb sauce for the first time, 100g of honey was enough to balance the tartness of rhubarb. The second time rhubarb had more intense and tart flavour, and it took 170-180g of honey to achieve the right taste balance. The sauce was still sharp and tart. Because of that, I recommend to add honey in portions, gradually and taste the sauce after each addition to make sure it is not too sour or overly sweet. Quinces I had, were not excessively hard and I added them to the sauce when rhubarb started to disintegrate.

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It might be more practical to cook quince wedges in water, use this water to stew rhubarb with honey and add quince during final stage of sauce cooking.

  • cut rhubarb sticks in 2 cm pieces (non stick sauce pan is easier to use)
  • cover with 150 ml of water
  • add honey, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick and cloves
  • cook until rhubarb starts to soften
  • add cored quince wedges
  • cook on low heat until quince wedges are nearly cooked
  • cover with lid and leave to cool down

This desert is at it’s best when served warm. I kept the sauce with quince wedges and used it several times to bake fresh desert in individual generous size baking dishes. I used 1 egg white for 2 serving portions.

  • spoon the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish
  • place quince wedge(s) in the middle
  • beat egg white until soft peaks
  • add sugar gradually
  • beat until hard peaks
  • spoon meringue on top of the sauce
  • use the spoon to make the surface interesting

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  • bake in preheated to 160C fan forced oven until soft cream colour
  • serve warm

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I had mine with dandelion tea. Meringue deflated a bit, was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, exactly as I wanted. To avoid meringue deflation cream of tartar or corn starch can be used, but I did not want that.

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All I can say, it was a very nice desert. Plenty of sugar, but very satisfying. It is such a lovely combination of an intense, sharp and tart sauce, quince texture soft, but still with a bite in it and sweet and tender meringue, washed down with slightly bitter dandelion tea. I did enjoy it! Plenty of sauce left in the fridge for several more deserts.

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