Pavlova is one of my favorite desserts. It makes me think of springtime, but I wanted to make a version using some of my favorite winter fruits just before the seasons change. The brown sugar meringue is such a good flavor that I'll definitely use it again, I added a little yogurt to the whipped cream since I thought some tang would better suit the citrus, and I piled on blood oranges, kiwis, candied kumquats and pomegranate seeds.
This recipe made one ginormous meringue. In fact, it was dangerously close to being bigger than the plate, so you may want to make a few mini meringues instead. So many colors, flavors and textures, the whole thing just makes me happy.
Winter Fruit Pavlova
Recipe adapted from Gourmet
Brown sugar meringue:
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
5 large eggs at room temperature, egg whites only
Pinch of salt
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 blood oranges, segmented
2 kiwis, sliced
1/2 cup candied kumquats
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 250°F with rack in middle. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch-diameter circle on the paper with a pencil, tracing a round cake tin that size. Flip the paper over so your meringue doesn't touch the pencil marks -- you'll still be able to see the circle. Pulse superfine sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a food processor or blender until well combined. Stir together vanilla and vinegar in a small bowl. Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Increase speed to medium-high and add sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more. Add vinegar mixture, then beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Mound the meringue onto the parchment within the circle, smoothing the sides and the top with a spatula. Bake until it's crisp and feels dry to the touch, about 1 hour (insides will still be marshmallow-like). Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven for about 1 hour. Carefully peel off parchment (meringues are fragile and may crack).
Combine cream, yogurt and sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Top cooled meringue with cream mixture. If you plan to use candied kumquats, plan ahead so they have time to cool. Directions are here. Combine sliced fruit with kumquats and pomegranate seeds. Pour fruit over cream, sprinkling a few extra pomegranate seeds on top. Serve immediately.