Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Orange Cranberry and Mint Pavlova with Whipped Cream

This Pavlova Cake is definitely one for the holidays. So festive your guest will glad you took the 3+ hours to make it. Cooks Illustrated switched the typical French meringue for Swiss meringue which is made by dissolving sugar in the egg whites as they are heated over a simmering water bath and then whipped to stiff peaks.

Cornstarch and vinegar produce a meringue that is marshmallowy within, with a slight chewy edge: generous amount of sugar ensure a crisp exterior.

Remember to let the finished meringue cool and sit for a few minutes to an hour before serving to help soften the crust for neater slices. Serves 10


  1 1/2 cups sugar
  3/4 cup egg whites (5-7 large eggs)
  1 1/2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
  1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  6 oz frozen cranberries
  5 navel oranges, peeled into slices
  1/3 cup chopped fresh mint + 10 small leaves, divided

Whipped Cream
  2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  2 tablespoons sugar


Note: Because eggs can vary in size, measuring the egg whites by weight or volume is essential to ensure that you are working with the correct ratio of egg whites to sugar.

Open the oven door as infrequently as possible while the meringue is inside. Do not worry if it cracks. The inside will remain soft.

Meringue: adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250F. Using a pencil, draw 10” circle in center of 18”x13” piece of parchment paper.

Combine sugar and egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer; place bowl over saucepan filled with 1” simmering water (make sure water does not touch bottom of bowl). Whisk gently but constantly, heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture measures 160 to 165 degrees, 5-8 minutes.

Fit the stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whip mixture on high speed until meringue forms stiff peaks, is smooth and creamy and bright white with a sheen, about 4 minutes (bowl maybe slightly warm to touch). Stop mixer and scrap down bowl with spatula. Add vinegar, cornstarch and vanilla and whip on high speed until combined, about 10 seconds.

Spoon about 1/4 teaspoon meringue into each corner of a rimmed baking sheet. Press parchment paper, marked side down, onto baking sheet to secure. Pile meringue in center of circle on the parchment paper, using the circle as a guide. Spread and smooth meringue with back of spoon or spatula from center outward building a 10” disk that is slightly higher around edges. Finished disk should measure 1” high with a 1/4” depression in the center.

Bake meringue until it’s dry and crisp and meringue releases cleanly from parchment paper when gently lifted at edge with a thin metal spatula, 1-1 1/2 hours. Meringue should end up quite pale. Turn off oven a prop door open with a wooden spoon and let the meringue cool in the oven 1 1/2 hours. Remove and let cool out of oven for 15 minutes before you put on toppings.

Topping: bring 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup water to boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Off heat stir in cranberries then let cool for 30 minutes. Place remaining sugar in a shallow dish. Drain cranberries and discard syrup. Working in two batches roll 1/2 cup of cranberries in sugar and transfer to a plate or tray. Let stand at room temperature to dry, about an hour. Cut away peel and pith from oranges. Cut each orange into quarters from pole to pole, then cut crosswise into 1/4” pieces, ending up with 3 cups total.

Whipping Cream: before serving toss oranges with nonsugared cranberries and chopped mint in bowl until combined. Whip cream and sugar in a chilled bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on low speed until smal bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and whip until whisk leaves a trail, 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue to whip until cream becomes smooth, thick and doubles in size, about 20 seconds longer for soft peaks.

To Serve: carefully peel meringue away from parchment paper and place on a large platter. Spoon whipped cream into the center of meringue. Using a slotted spoon, spoon topping in an even layer over whipped cream. Garnish with sugared cranberries and mint leaves. Let stand for at least 5 minutes to 1 hour before slicing. Once sliced drizzle any juice from the orange, nonsugared cranberries and mint bowl. Yum Yum!

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