Photograph by Martyn Thompson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Styling by Molly Findlay

Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm McLaren

Rhubarb Grapefruit Syllabub & Spiked Meringues

Desserts from Issue 9 – Summer 2016 – The 1970s

The poster children of London’s ’70s punk scene, Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren (his sidegig: cultivator of the Sex Pistols), gave the nihilistic movement’s ardent followers something to believe in. The rejection of staid notions of good taste was the hallmark of their designs and string of boutiques (at Sex, shopgirl Jordan was as legendary as the “rubberwear for the office” on sale). Westwood once said: “People would regard my clothes as shocking, but I thought I looked like a princess from another planet.” Shocking and otherworldly were what we had in mind with our rhubarb syllabub and spiked meringues.

serves 4

rhubarb compote
  • 1 ½ lb rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 grapefruit, finely grated zest and juice

syllabub cream
  • cup superfine sugar
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp white wine with citrus notes
  • cups heavy cream

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup superfine sugar

  • Rhubarb and Syllabub

    1 Stir together compote ingredients in a saucepan and let stand 30 minutes. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring gently once or twice, until the rhubarb is just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer rhubarb pieces to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Continue simmering the liquid until slightly syrupy, about 15 minutes, then pour over rhubarb and cool.

    2 Whisk together sugar, zest, lemon juice, and wine until sugar dissolves. Add cream all at once and gently whisk until softly thickened. (The acid makes it thicken; don’t over-whisk or it will curdle.)

    3 Divide the rhubarb compote between glasses and top with syllabub cream. Chill until serving.

  • Meringues

    1 Preheat oven to 200°F. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.

    2 Beat egg whites with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

    3 Beating constantly, gradually add sugar. Increase speed to high. Beat until meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks.

    4 Dollop meringue into spiky, egg-shaped mounds. Bake 2 hours, and then turn off oven and let meringues sit inside the oven 1 hour longer. Store cooled meringues in an airtight container.