Did you save the leftover egg whites after making Meyer Lemon Curd + Blood Orange Curd? If so, I have the perfect companion recipe for you, in fact, I have two options. Today we are enjoying the first: Triple Orange Mini-Pavlovas. Tomorrow: Meringue Tartlettes.
Let's talk Pavlovas.
Pavlova is a light and crisp meringue cake with a crunchy shell, they are often garnished with whipped cream and fresh fruit. From outwards appearances you may easily mistake Pavlova for Meringue, however, they have vastly different interior textures. A meringue is made from egg white and sugar, they are typically very dry and have crunchy centers. Pavlova have a similar base but also include cornstarch and vinegar which results in a a slightly squishy interior, almost marshmallow-like consistency at their center.
With a wonderfully pillow-soft interior beneath their crunchy shell, pavlova are a multi-textured phenomena. Paired with fresh orange zest, bitter blood orange curd, fresh fruit, and a cool dollop of fresh whipped cream - these are clouds from an orange-scented heaven.
Why Triple Citrus? Because we can! Let me count the ways.
- Valencia Orange zest stirred into pavlova batter
- Blood Orange and/or Meyer Lemon Curd
- Fresh Orange Segments
- Candied Orange Peels (waitaminute, didn't we say three? Bonus fruit!)
Pavlovas have the added versatility of being baked at any size. They are commonly seen as layered cakes large enough to befit a dinner party but they are equally wonderful (and perhaps even more adorable) served asindividual desserts. Single-serving pavlovas also allow for customization of garnishes to suit your guests.
Triple Orange Mini-Pavlova with Fresh Whipped Cream
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons White Wine Vinegar (or, Distilled White Vinegar)
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
2 teaspoons Orange Zest (1 to 2 small oranges)
6 large egg whites, at room temperature (equal to 3/4 cup or 6 ounces)
Pinch of Salt
1 cup Heavy Cream, or Whipping Cream
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (optional)
Whip until firm peaks form, about 5 to 10 minutes with an electric mixer.
Blood Orange Curd + Meyer Lemon Curd (recipe here)
Fresh Fruit & Berries
Candied Orange Peel (recipe here)
Preheat oven to 275° F and line (2) baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
In a small dish. combine the vanilla extract and vinegar, set aside. In a second small dish, combine the cornstarch, granulated sugar and orange zest. Thoroughly press and stir the orange zest into the sugar, this will help release the fragrant orange oils. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer (or, a hand-mixer and large bowl) whip the egg whites and salt. Begin on low-speed while eggs are still liquid, increasing to medium-speed as soft peaks begin to form. After 2 to 3 minutes, increase further to medium-high and gradually pour in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. Once fully incorporated, add the vanilla and vinegar mixture. Increase speed and continue to whip additional 4 to 5 minutes, or until the meringue is thick, glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted from the bowl,
On baking sheets lined with parchment paper, pipe or spoon the batter into large rounded mounds. If using "half sheet" sized baking pans you can fit about 8 large (about 3 to 4" wide) or 12 small (about 2 to 3" wide) mini-pavlovas per pan. Using the back of a spoon, create a shallow indentation in the center of each mound.
Place baking sheets into the oven and reduce oven temperature to 250° F. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp and dry to the touch, it is okay if they turn a faint golden brown and have occasional cracks. If it seems as though they are browning too quickly or excessively cracking, reduce the temperature by another 25 degrees and rotate the pans. The finished pavlovas should have a slightly squishy interior, almost marshmallow-like consistency at their center.
Allow to cool completely.
Pavlovas will keep well for up to two weeks if stored in an air-tight container (without any added toppings). If exposed to moisture or humidity they will quickly become stale or even sticky.
Assembly & final flourishes: Once completely cooled, lavish the pavlovas with your favorite fruit and fillings, or simply a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream. These are delightful on their own but a few simple toppings will quickly make them into an impressive treat.
To recreate the triple-citrus version pictured here: slather each mini-pavlova with a spoonful of lemon curd, orange curd, or your favorite preserves, add a dollop of freshly whipped cream, and top with sliced fruits, berries, and/or candied orange peel. Fancy-pants presentation, minimal effort. Yes, please.
And a helpful guide to making Fresh Whipped Cream by MyKingCook