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We’re celebrating today with this smaller-scale Winter Citrus Pavlova.
Everyone keeps telling me that the fact my blog turns 9 years old today is a big deal. I’m excited for next year when we hit the big 1-0, but if anything I feel that 9 candles means I’ve just hit my stride. It’s a bit of a tradition that on 1st February each year I put together some sort of celebratory recipe, so this year I thought I’d take the best of the winter citrus (hello blood oranges, that only seem to come out slightly tinged whenever I’m buying them!) and turn them into a showstopper (but small enough for everyday) pavlova, studded with pomegranate jewels and flavoured with lemon curd, finished with a scattering of fresh mint.
Don’t you find that most pavlova recipes serve massive amounts of people? Or is it just me. They always seem to need to be the thing you serve to a crowd, using masses of eggs, and you’re always worried about people not finishing them because they’re always past their best if kept, fully assembled, overnight in the fridge? This pavlova only serves 4-6 people, rather than the usual 6-8 / 8-10 / 10-12 ratios found in most recipes, so it is perfect for a family for four, if you’re entertaining as a couple, or if there is just two of you and you want to mash the leftovers into a mess for the next days dessert. And do you know the best bit? It only uses two eggs!
Though, if you are planning on making this ahead, you can make the meringue base a couple of days in advance as long as you store it in an airtight container (and don’t do what I do and accidentally make a meringue base bigger than any of your plates – I’m still in the process of moving all of my kitchen stuff into the new flat – or your biggest cake tin!) Also, if you want to use this base for any fruit pavlova topping, either keep the lemon curd to give it a bit of a lift, or switch it out for another curd that matches the fruits you’re putting on top (passion fruit or mango if you’re going for a tropical number, perhaps?)
A few tips for your leftover egg yolks: either keep them in the fridge to glaze pastry for the tops of scones and pies you may be planning on making over the next few days, or simply throw them into the beaten egg mix for dipping and bread-crumbing, or to make an omelette or scrambled eggs for an extra flavour/ colour boost.
Pre-heat the oven to 130 degrees (270 fahrenheit) and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
In a stand mixer or using an electric hand whisk (I have this one, and these), in a large, clean bowl beat the egg whites until they are just stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar, spoonful by spoonful until the mixture is thick and glossy. Whisk in the vanilla extract for flavour, and the vinegar and cornflour to stabilise the mixture.
Spoon the mixture onto the baking parchment, shaping it into a high sided nest. A few tips: to make sure your meringue is a nice circle that fits on your plate, draw around it with a pencil on the baking parchment before you start shaping your base so you have a guide. Also, stick the baking parchment onto the tray by dabbing a bit of the mixture under each corner.
Bake for an hour, then turn off the oven and allow it to go completely cold before you remove the meringue.
To assemble the pavlova, whip together the cream, icing sugar and lemon curd until only just stiff enough to spoon – you want it to hold its shape, but still be quite floppy! Spoon it into the middle of the meringue, and arrange the blood orange slices.
Scatter over the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves, before serving immediately.
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