Food for Soul

Orange, Cranberry, and Mint Pavlova with Whipped Cream

DESSERTS OR BAKED GOODS

FRUIT DESSERTS

EGGS

FRUIT

SERVES10

TIME2 to 2½ hours, plus 2¼ hours cooling and 1 hour standing

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS

For foolproof pavlova, we switched from the typical French meringue—which requires precise timing when adding the sugar to the egg whites—to a Swiss meringue, which is made by dissolving the sugar in the egg whites as they are heated over a simmering water bath and then whipping the mixture to stiff peaks. Cornstarch and vinegar produced a meringue that was marshmallowy within, with a slight chew at the edge; a generous amount of sugar ensured a crisp exterior. We shaped the meringue into a wide, flat disk and then baked it and let it dry in a turned-off oven. Lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh fruit balanced the meringue’s sweetness and made for a beautiful presentation of colors and textures. Letting the finished meringue sit for a few minutes before serving helped soften the crust for neater slices.

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GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS

Meringue

1 ½ cups (10½ ounces) sugar¾ cup (6 ounces) egg whites (5 to 7 large eggs)1 ½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping

1 ½ cups (10½ ounces) sugar, divided6 ounces (1½ cups) frozen cranberries5 navel oranges⅓ cup chopped fresh mint, plus 10 small leaves, divided

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream, chilled2 tablespoons sugar

KEY EQUIPMENT

KEY EQUIPMENT - Stand Mixers (High-End)

Stand Mixers (High-End)

KEY EQUIPMENT - Serrated Knives

Serrated Knives

KEY EQUIPMENT - The Best Rimmed Baking Sheets of 2021

The Best Rimmed Baking Sheets of 2021

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

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 the meringue cracks; it is part of the dessert’s charm. The inside of the meringue will remain soft. You can substitute tangelos or Cara Cara oranges for the navel oranges in the topping, if desired. Valencia or blood oranges can also be used, but since they are smaller, increase the number of fruit to six.

INSTRUCTIONS

1.

For the Meringue: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees. Using pencil, draw 10-inch circle in center of 18 by 13-inch piece of parchment paper.

2

Combine sugar and egg whites in bowl of stand mixer; place bowl over saucepan filled with 1 inch simmering water, making sure that water does not touch bottom of bowl. Whisking gently but constantly, heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture registers 160 to 165 degrees, 5 to 8 minutes.

3

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

4

Spoon about ¼ teaspoon meringue onto each corner of rimmed baking sheet. Press parchment, marked side down, onto sheet to secure. Pile meringue in center of circle on parchment. Using circle as guide, spread and smooth meringue with back of spoon or spatula from center outward, building 10-inch disk that is slightly higher around edges. Finished disk should measure about 1 inch high with ¼-inch depression in center.

5

Bake meringue until exterior is dry and crisp and meringue releases cleanly from parchment when gently lifted at edge with thin metal spatula, 1 to 1½ hours. Meringue should be quite pale (a hint of creamy color is OK). Turn off oven, prop door open with wooden spoon, and let meringue cool in oven for 1½ hours. Remove from oven and let cool completely before topping, about 15 minutes. (Cooled meringue can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 1 week.)

6

For the Topping: Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Off heat, stir in cranberries. Let cranberries and syrup cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Cranberries in syrup can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)

7

Place remaining ½ cup sugar in shallow dish. Drain cranberries, discarding syrup. Working in 2 batches, roll ½ cup cranberries in sugar and transfer to large plate or tray. Let stand at room temperature to dry, about 1 hour.

8

Cut away peel and pith from oranges. Cut each orange into quarters from pole to pole, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick pieces (you should have 3 cups).

9

For the Whipped Cream: Before serving, toss oranges with nonsugared cranberries and chopped mint in bowl until combined. Whip cream and sugar in chilled bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and whip until whisk leaves trail, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue to whip until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume, about 20 seconds longer for soft peaks. If necessary, finish whipping by hand to adjust consistency.

10

Carefully peel meringue away from parchment and place on large serving platter. Spoon whipped cream into center of meringue. Using slotted spoon, spoon topping in even layer over whipped cream. Garnish with sugared cranberries and mint leaves. Let stand for at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour. Slice and serve, drizzling pavlova slices with any juice from bowl.

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/11239-orange-cranberry-and-mint-pavlova-with-whipped-cream

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