Quite a while ago, a friend of mine called me for a chatter after a long and exhausting day . I was very tired, had no interest in talking on phone with anyone. I thought "darn, what does he want now, I have to get rid of him quickly". So I just answered with a deep "sigh" and a rude "what can I do for you", to warn him that it is not the right time for phonecalls. Not quite friendly is it?
Anyway, he started with some blabla, I honestly did not even pay much attention, but then he threw in the "I have a new girlfriend" subject, and that got me immediately interested. I am a woman afterall, and which female would not have thousands of questions regarding other females!? All in all the conversation took an interesting curve, and after I knew her name (which I forgot on the spot of course), the color of her hair and eyes, her size, and where they met, I invited them for a dinner on the weekend. I just started to plan the menu in my head when he said something that cleared my mind. She is a cook. A COOK. A chef in a restaurant.
Have you ever had to cook for a cook? I was shocked, had only one question in mind, what should I prepare? The menu had to be excellent, not because she is a cook, but because she is a woman and a cook, who will judge an other woman, me. After days of consideration I decided to go for a slow roasted veal with pasta, but the main focus was on the dessert. And guess what, she liked it. No no, it had to me more than that she must have LOVED it because she even asked for the recipe. I was flattered, walking in clouds. A cook, a professional cook has liked something that I created. Of course she is the nicest and prettiest girlfriend my friend ever had :)
Rhubarb, Strawberry and Tonka Bean meringue pie
120g caster sugar
120g cold butter
2 egg yolks
For pastry, combine caster sugar and flour. Add the butter in small cubes and mix it with the flour mixture. Stir in egg yolks and beat until just combined, turn onto a lightly floured work surface, form into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 200C. Roll pastry on a lightly floured surface to few mm thick and use to line a 26cm cakepan. Line pastry-lined pan with baking paper, weigh down with pastry weights or beans and bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove paper and pastry weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden and crisp.
1/2 kg rhubarb and strawberry
sugar according to taste
agar agar for half a kilo juice (see packaging)
Cut fruits into small cubes and transfer to a saucepan. Over medium heat cook until tender. Crush the fruits, stir in sugar and agar agar, bring to boil and set aside to cool.
Fill the bottom of the pastry with the jam
3 egg yolks
180g sugar (or according to taste)
2 Tbsp corn starch
half of a tonka bean
Combine milk, corn starch, grounded tonka bean and eggs in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until cream thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in sugar and butter. Set aside to cool.
Spoon the cold custard over the jam.
180g caster sugar
Combine sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and cook until syrup reaches 115C on a sugar thermometer, then remove from heat. Whisk eggwhites until soft peaks form, then, with motor running, slowly add hot syrup and whisk for a few minutes.
Spoon the meringue over custard, forming into peaks. Bake for a few minutes until meringue starts to brown.