Photo by @thenonchalantcook
Tart and sour flavors are some of my favorite. I wait all season long for fresh satsumas, mandarins, grapefruits, cara caras and blood oranges. As a kid I would actually eat whole lemons and limes—no need for sour candy. Unfortunately, as it turns out eating a whole lemon is just as bad for your teeth as sour candy so my parents didn’t exactly encourage that behavior.
As an adult I’ve learned a little more about balance. As much as I love a fresh orange or grapefruit unadulterated, there is nothing quite like a show-stopping citrus dessert piled high with winter’s brightest jewels.
Enter this Winter Citrus Pavlova! Pavlova’s may seem intimidating but I’m going to go on record and state that they are actually quite easy. Hear me out. There are only a few ingredients, there isn’t too much to the prep other than whipping eggs with sugar in a stand mixer. And when you get to the baking, you just have to be patient. Pavlova cooks is a very low oven yielding a meringue with a crisp exterior and a soft and fluffy marshmallow like interior. Once the baking time is up, the most important thing to remember is to turn the oven off and NOT open the oven door until the meringue has had a chance to cool. If you open the door too soon and the pavlova cools too rapidly it can crack. If this happens, don’t worry! It will still be edible, just not as pretty. Some people like to let pavlova sit overnight in a cold oven to cool, but I think 2 hours usually does the trick. Finish it off with some tart grapefruit curd, some fresh citrus, lightly whipped cream (I usually go for unsweetened) and you're ready to impress your friends with a meringue masterpiece.
Recipe and Headnote Molly Adams
For the Pavlova
- 4 Handsome Brook Farm Pasture-Raised Organic Egg Whites, at room temperature
- pinch salt
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice,
- 1 teaspoon Simply Organic Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Grapefruit Curd (recipe below)
- 1 small cara cara orange, rind and pith removed and cut into segments
- 1 small blood orange, rind and pith removed and cut into segments
- 1 small grapefruit, rind and pith removed and cut into segments
- Freshly whipped cream (optional), for serving
- pistachios, chopped (optional), for serving
- pomegranate arils, optional, for serving
For the Pavlova
Preheat the oven to 300˚F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an 8-inch cake pan as a guide, trace an 8-inch circle onto the parchment, then flip the paper over on the sheet so the ink side is facing down.
Add egg whites and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment. Begin whipping at low speed, then gradually increase the speed to high. When the egg whites begin to look foamy, reduce the speed to medium and begin adding the sugar in one tablespoon at a time.
Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, increase the speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form and the meringue mixture is glossy and the sugar is fully dissolved. Add cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla and beat at low speed until incorporated.
Remove the mixing bowl from the machine and scrape the meringue into the circle you traced on your parchment paper. Using an offset spatula or a flexible bench scraper, smooth the outer edge of the meringue up, creating a border around the edge that is slightly higher than the center.
Place the sheet pan in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 250˚F. Bake for about 80 minutes, or until the outside is a creamy white color and appears dry to the touch (do not open the oven to check!).
Turn the oven off and do not open it. Let the meringue sit and cool inside the oven for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Once cooled, fill the pavlova with grapefruit curd, whipped cream (if using), fresh citrus, pistachios (if using) and pomegranate arils (if using).
For the Grapefruit Curd
- 4 Handsome Brook Farm Pasture-Raised Organic Egg Yolks
- 1/ 3 cup sugar
- 1/ 3 cup fresh grapefruit juice
- 1 grapefruit, zested
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Grapefruit Curd
Set up a double boiler by placing a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water. Make sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Add the egg yolks, sugar, grapefruit juice and zest to the bowl and whisk until smooth. Continue whisking constantly for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the butter 1 tablespoon at a time until well combined. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
Let cool, then place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.