Spring Forward: Rhubarb Eton Mess

Why, hello there, Mr Spring!

Spring Rhubarb Eton Mess

You sure are early this year, aren’t you? Not that I’m complaining, mind you… I’m loving the sunny skies and balmy weather you’ve brought along. It’s been utterly glorious.

Outside, the scylla are blooming, dotting the front lawn with their bright blue blossoms. Crocuses in purple and white fill the beds, birds congregate in our massive silver maple tree to fill the air with cheerful songs, and the gosh-darned squirrels keep busy by digging up all my bulbs and chewing on my crocus blossoms.

Lilac Leaves

Of course, Canadian weather being what it is, I know there’s still a (slim) chance we might find ourselves up to our knees in snow sometime between now and the end of May, so I’ve been making the most of it while I can.

Doors and windows have been flung open all over the house to let out the stuffy winter air, scattered piles of clothing litter the bedroom as warm corduroys and sweaters are packed away to make way for fluttery skirts and bright printed dresses, and each room is systematically attacked in a frenzy of tidying and de-cluttering.

Brown Sugar Meringues

With the change in the seasons comes a change in my kitchen, leaving behind the bland, hearty flavours of winter and replacing them with the fresh, bright, palate-cleansing flavours of spring, meant to make your tastebuds shake off their winter slumber in anticipation of the vibrant flavours that summertime will bring.

To me, rhubarb is one of the quintessential spring ingredients. Astringently tart, even when tempered with sugar, it makes sleepy tastebuds perk up and stand at attention.

To celebrate spring’s early arrival, I decided to cook down the last of the rhubarb I had stashed away in the freezer into a bright pink compote, and swirled it into an Eton Mess in lieu of the traditional summer strawberries. It feels like the everything a spring dessert ought to be… bright, airy and almost ethereally light.

Stewed Rhubarb and Whipped Cream

The idea is to throw it together at the last minute, so that the different components still retain their individual qualities – chewy-crisp chunks of crumbled meringue, soft mounds of feathery-light cream and swirls of bright magenta rhubarb compote.

Of course, as light as Eton Mess might taste, all that heavy cream means it’s anything but light in the fat and calorie department. Seeing as spring also means that swimsuit season is just around the corner, I decided to stray a little further from the classic by lightening up the whipped cream base with non-fat Greek yogurt, which adds a lovely tangy note and still keeps that perfect pillowy texture. “Fluffy” is an adjective I’d rather apply to my desserts than my midsection. :)

Spring Rhubarb Eton Mess

So lovely to see you, Mr Spring. I do hope you’ll stay awhile, and maybe enjoy an Eton Mess or two with me.

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Disclosure: I was provided with financial compensation in exchange for creating this post as part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher Program.
This post was sponsored by Frigidaire.  When you check out Suzanne Goin’s springtime recipes at www.maketimeforchange.com, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children’s U.S. programs. Plus, you’ll be entered for a chance to win the new Frigidaire Range with SymmetryTM Double Ovens – featuring two large ovens (that can each fit up to a 28 pound turkey!), providing the flexibility to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures, so you can get more on the table at the same time.

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Rhubarb Eton Mess
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A spring-inspired take on a British classic - stewed rhubarb, crumbled brown sugar meringue and whipped cream, all mixed together in one glorious, messy dessert.
Ingredients
Brown Sugar Meringues
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp corn starch
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Rhubarb Compote
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
Yogurt Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
Make the Brown Sugar Meringues (up to 2 days ahead)
  1. Preheat oven to 250F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mixer on medium speed, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium-high and slowly add in white and brown sugars, one spoonful at a time. Continue beating until sugar has been completely incorporated and the whites have been beaten into stiff peaks, gently fold in the vinegar, corn starch and vanilla.
  3. Spoon the meringue into twelve large dollops onto the prepared cookie sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until the surface of the meringues feels dry to the touch. Turn off the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven with the door closed to cool for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.
  5. (If making ahead, transfer the cooled meringues to a paper-lined container with a tightly-fitting lid, and store in a cool, dark place)
Rhubarb Compote (can be made up to 1 week ahead)
  1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the rhubarb, orange juice, sugar and orange zest. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, the reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, or until rhubarb is soft and beginning to fall apart. Set aside to cool off to room temperature (if making in advance, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use, or for up to 1 week).
Make the Yogurt Cream (shortly before assembling)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whip together the heavy cream, yogurt, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Assemble the Eton Mess (at the last possible minute)
  1. Crumble meringues into a large mixing bowl. Top with alternating spoonfuls of yogurt cream and rhubarb compote, and fold until just barely combined - the mixture should still look quite streaky and, well, messy.
  2. Divide evenly between six dessert bowls or martini glasses, and serve immediately.

Comments

  1. Clinton says

    Isabelle, this looks amazing! Will try this with fresh Rhubarb (when its ready to be picked) since we have already eaten all our frozen Rhubarb. I think it will be a HUGE hit with the family.

  2. Peggy says

    I’ve never heard of an Eton Mess before, but it looks like a beautiful dessert! And absolutely perfect for the start of spring =)

  3. Natalie says

    I love rhubarb and always make a crumble with it, but this is much more Springy and I love the brown sugar meringues (never tried that) and the low fat Greek yoghurt cream sounds perfect with the sweet meringues. I LOVE it all!!!

  4. Eileen says

    What a beautiful dessert. I’ve never been a big fan of rhubarb but I’d definitley try this :) We had beautiful weather last week in the Finger Lakes but … sniffle, sniffle, it’s freezing now.

  5. Lemons and Anchovies says

    I keep telling myself, “this year I’ll make something with rhubarb” but I never get around to it. I have been wanting to make meringues, though, so your recipe may have just finally convinced me to get busy with both! This is lovely!

  6. sweet road says

    I can’t wait for rhubarb pies in the summer! It has been flip-flopping between tropical weather and a tundra where I am, so I may have to wait a bit longer!

  7. Kiri W. says

    Oooh yum! I love rhubarb, I feel like it’s been forgotten a bit. And the stickier and messier, the better! :)

  8. Denise says

    Now this seems like a perfect dessert to welcome Spring. I love the idea of brwon sugar meringues, mmm!

  9. Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) says

    i’ve just recently become obsessed with making meringues…this sounds like the perfect outlet for my newfound obsession! love it!

  10. Mireia says

    I’ve never bought rhubarb but I’ve heard that it’s delicious, and this recipe sounds like worth trying!

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