This is a great make ahead recipe with only a few last minute steps to turn a simple (and inexpensive) meringue into an elegant dessert to serve to company. The Raspberry Eton Mess I made a while ago is another creative and delicious way of using meringues.
The addition of cornstarch and vinegar to the meringue mixture really makes a difference. The resulting ‘pav’ puffs up and is glossy and crisp on the outside and creamy/chewy on the inside.
The combination of whipped cream and curd (blood orange, this time) really takes this dessert to another level.
I chose to make mini pavlovas rather than a single, large pavlova as I was eating by myself and the finished dessert does NOT hold.
Pavlova with Blood Orange Curd and Fresh Berries – makes 8-10 servings
For the pavlova:
4 large egg whites, room temperature
a pinch of salt
1 cup regular white sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
For the assembly:
1 cup of blood orange curd, made with 4 egg yolks
1 cup cold whipping cream
1 tbsp regular white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar or extract
1 1/2 cups fresh berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or sliced strawberries
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange a rack in the middle.
Preparing the baking sheet:
Using a 9-inch round cake pan, trace a circle onto a piece of parchment paper with a pen, pencil or marker. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking sheet (the traced circle should be visible); set aside.
Making the pavlovas:
Place the egg whites and salt in a clean, dry metal or glass bowl. Using a whisk attachment and a hand or stand beater, beat on medium speed until the whites begin to lighten in color and only small bubbles remain, about 2 minutes.
Increase the speed to high and add the sugar a tablespoon at a time or pour in gradually in a stream. (If using vanilla sugar, add it to the white sugar at this point.) Whisk until firm, shiny peaks form, resembling marshmallow cream, about 3 minutes.
Sift the cornstarch through a fine-mesh strainer into the meringue.
Drizzle the vinegar and vanilla extract (if using this form) over the top and fold them into the meringue with a rubber or silicone spatula until no streaks of vanilla remain, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
Using the spatula, pile the meringue into the center of the circle drawn on the parchment paper and smooth it to the edges of the circle to form a rough, even disk about 1 inch tall.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and turn the heat down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the meringue is firm to the touch but slightly soft in the middle, about 60 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Run a thin metal spatula under the meringue to loosen.
Carefully slide it onto a serving platter or cake stand. Set aside while beating the whipping cream.
Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a clean, dry metal or glass bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, fold the chilled blood orange curd into the whipped cream, leaving big streaks of curd and whipped cream.
Pile the mixture into the center of the baked meringue and spread it to the edges.
Top with the fresh berries and serve the pavlova immediately.
For 8 mini pavlovas:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need TWO baking sheets. Center two shelves in the oven. Line each sheet with parchment paper. On each paper, draw 4 x 4 inch circles. Divide the meringue evenly among the circles, make a bit of a hollow in the middle. ( I only used 3 egg whites so I managed to squeeze 6 pavs on a single baking sheet)
Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 30 minutes then turn the heat off and leave the meringues in the oven for another 30 minutes, in the turned off oven, to cool. Then cool the baking sheets on cooling racks until they come to room temperature.
Assemble as for full sized pavlova.
I had some of the cream and curd left over and poured it into a pretty glass … a great dessert all by itself.
Next time, I’ll make some wonton cups as I did in this earlier post cause the blood orange curd is REALLY really good. 🙂