As a child I saw absolutely zero merit in any dessert than didn’t contain chocolate, and was baffled by anyone who would be so crazy as to order anything fruit-based. The insanity! How times have changed, and after a decade or so of ‘progression’ (depending how you look at the evolution of my palate towards an obsession with oysters and offal), I have arrived at a point where desserts are best containing fruit (rhubarb), some kind of acidity (the lemon juice) and contrasting textures of crunch, coolness (ice) and creamy smoothness (in this case, meringue).
It’s a really simple and light dessert, and requires just a handful of ingredients.
From the veg box:
750 g rhubarb
2 small beetroots, halved and scrubbed
juice of 1 lemon
From the pantry:
200g caster sugar
2 egg whites
makes 700ml, Serves about 6-8 people
Place the 200g of sugar and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar. IN the meantime wash and cut the rhubarb into 5 cm pieces. Place the rhubarb in the pan with the beetroot and lemon juice. Pop the lid on the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes over a low heat, you want to break down the rhubarb and get it all mushy. Strain through a sieve into a tupperware, squeezing out the last of the juice from the mush. Place in the freezer for about 4 hours. Scrape it up with a fork and return to the freezer.
Preheat your oven to 200c. Place the sugar in a baking dish and into the oven for 10 minutes. Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk rigourously until frothy and starting to hold peaks (you might want to do this in a free-standing mixer if you have one). Once the sugar has been in the oven for 10 minutes, start to add it to the egg whites bit by bit until fully incorporated and stiff. Keep whisking until it cools down (hold the base of the bowl to feel if it has).
Place the meringue in a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm nozzle (or bigger if you fancy). Remove the granita from the freezer, scrape it up again with a fork and scrape into bowls or glasses (it helps to keep them in the fridge or freezer before serving). Get your blow torch ready, pipe some dollops of meringue onto the top of the granita and burn the tips with the blow torch. Serve immediately.