Surprise Céleste

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This sweet and crispy meringue conceals a tart, melting heart. It’s the pleasure of a new taste, a mixture of strawberry and rhubarb, well known to lovers of German pastries and associated with passion fruit. Brought together, they form a sort of north/south alliance, both smooth and sharp at the same time.

Preparation time: 90 minutes
Cooking time: 90 minutes

Drink pairing

Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Champagne Duval-Leroy Rosé de Saignée, Vouvray Demi-sec.

Ingredients

French Meringue

  • 3 egg whites (4 oz/100 g)
  • oz (200 g) superfine sugar

Almond Biscuits with Slivered Almonds

  • 3 oz (75 g) ground white almonds
  • oz (275 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 oz (20 g) T55 flour
  • 4 egg whites ( oz/125 g)
  • oz (50 g) flaked almonds

Purée of Rhubarb Confit

Prepare 12 Hours in Advance

  • oz (250 g) rhubarb, frozen or chilled, in pieces
  • oz (40 g) superfine sugar
  • 1 oz (25 g) lemon juice
  • A pinch powdered cloves

Rhubarb Confit with Strawberries

  • ¼ oz (9 g) Gold Quality gelatine leaves (200 Blooms)
  • oz (100 g) rhubarb confit
  • 10½ oz (300 g) of fresh strawberry purée
  • 1 oz (30 g) superfine sugar

Passion Fruit Cream

Prepare 24 Hours in Advance

  • 3 whole eggs ( oz/150 g)
  • 5 oz (140 g) superfine sugar
  • oz (105 g) passion fruit juice (approximately 5 fruits)
  • ½ oz (15 g) lemon juice
  • oz (150 g) unsalted butter

Passion Fruit Chiffon Cream

  • oz (150 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 lb 1 oz (500 g) passion fruit cream

Method

French Meringue

  1. Pour the egg whites into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk; whip at medium speed, until they double in volume, incorporating oz (35 g) of sugar, and continue to whisk until they become very firm, very smooth, and very glossy, while adding oz (65 g) of sugar. Detach the mixer bowl and fold in oz (100 g) of sugar in a steady stream, lifting the meringue with a spatula, and working it as little as possible. Use immediately.

Meringue shells

  1. Fill a plastic pastry bag with the meringue and pipe it one-third of way up the cups of the dome-shaped 2½-inch (7-cm) Flexipan molds then, using a spoon, cover the domes. Scrape off any excess meringue, with a spoon. Ideally, dry the meringue shells in the oven at 140°F (60°C) for several hours. When they are completely dried, turn them out on to a baking sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper and return to the oven at 230°F (110°C) for 20 minutes.

Almond Biscuits with Slivered Almonds

  1. Mix and sift* the ground almonds with 7 oz (200 g) superfine sugar and the flour. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, adding the rest of the superfine sugar little by little. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the first mixture by hand, lifting it gently. Using a pastry bag fitted with a No. 8 nozzle, form disks 2 ¼-inch (6-cm) in diameter, and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Cook at 340°F (170°C) for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.

Purée of Rhubarb Confit

  1. The day before, cut the fresh rhubarb into½-inch (1.5-cm) sections and leave them to macerate in the sugar.

  2. Drain the rhubarb and cook it to a purée with the lemon juice and powdered cloves. Leave to cool, then blend. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Rhubarb Confit with Strawberries

  1. Soak the gelatine in cold water for at least 20 minutes. Drain it and dissolve it in a little rhubarb confit.

    Add the strawberry purée and the sugar, then stir. Pour into a rectangular dish and leave in the freezer for an hour.

    Using a cutter, cut out disks measuring 2-inch (4-cm) in diameter.

Passion Fruit Cream

  1. Mix the eggs, the superfine sugar, the passion fruit juice, and the lemon juice. Cook in a bain-marie*, stirring occasionally. Bring this mixture to 178/180°F (83/84°C).

  2. Pass it through a chinois*, cool to 140°F (60°C) in the bain-marie* and add the butter, using a whisk. Mix it all with a hand blender for 10 minutes, so as to burst the fat molecules and obtain the desired creamy result. Leave to cool for 24 hours before use.

Passion Fruit Chiffon Cream

  1. In the bowl of a mixer fitted first with the blade, then the whisk, whip the butter to make it as fluffy* as possible. Now work in the passion fruit cream. This preparation must be made and used immediately.

Assembly

  1. Put the meringue shells back into the Flexipans and half-fill with the passion fruit chiffon cream. Arrange the disk of rhubarb and strawberry confit on top, pressing lightly, and garnish to the top with passion fruit chiffon cream, so as to fill the meringue shell.

  2. Arrange the almond biscuit with slivered almonds on it. Keep in the refrigerator to make turning out and wrapping easier.

  3. Lay a sheet of red cellophane (9-by-10 inches/23 by 25 cm) on the work surface, then place a Surprise in the center, upside down (curved side down), fold back the two longer opposite sides of the cellophane so that they come together under the Surprise, and turn in the ends, in the opposite direction. Repeat with the remaining surprises.

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