This dessert has been years in the making. Not that I’ve had a jar of curd sitting in my fridge for years and, to use it up, decided to spread it on a meringue. Sam’s been asking for pavlova for years, & I’ve been promising to make pavlova for years. I just haven’t gotten around to it. I don’t know what the hang up has been. Pavlova just moves to the bottom of my ‘to make’ list every week. It’s been a real test of how patient my partner is. Let me tell you, he is the most patient.
I don’t have anything against pavlova. I love making meringue; I find the shiny, swirly almost whipped to perfection meringue mesmerizingly beautiful. The taste just tends to bores me. Meringue, as I’ve often had it, often has one major flavor note: cloyingly, over-the-top, in-your-face sweet. Sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Like a crunchy marshmallow, but without any char from a campfire. This is some people’s thing. This is not my thing.
But then I saw these gorgeous blood oranges at the market last week. I saw them & I knew that curd must be made which led me to the inevitable conclusion that the time had finally come for pavlova.
This was the best decision that I have made in a while.
The zingy blood orange curd is the perfect balance to sweet meringue. To offset the usual sweetness, I added a drop of almond extract to the meringue and sprinkled toasty rich almonds over the thinly sliced blood oranges. Instead of just the one note sugar taste, the resulting recipe has a little sweet and a little sour, plus the bright citrus flavor that comes with wonderful winter fruit. The combination of flavors mingle together to make a slightly tart creamsicle-y situation. A more refined marshmallowy creamsicle with a little crunchy crust and a fluffy interior. I think it’s safe to say that this recipe is a win.
All the components of the pavlova can be made ahead which makes it the perfect thing for a little gathering. A five minute assembly job and voila, a very polished and impressive looking dessert for a small crowd. Given how simple the whole thing is to make, Sam should really hold a grudge for how long it’s taken me to get around to making it.
But he won’t.
If you like this Almond and Blood Orange Curd Pavlova, you might also like:
Almond and Blood Orange Curd Pavlova
- 4 egg whites 132 g up to 140
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Blood Orange Curd
- 1 cup blood orange juice reduced to 1/2 cup
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
To Top it All Off
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup flaked almonds
- 2 blood oranges peeled of all the pith and sliced into thin rounds
Preheat the oven to 225*F.
Place 1/4 cup of flaked almonds on a small baking tray and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes or until toasty, tossing them once or twice so they don't burn.
Using a 9" plate or the removable base of a 9" cake tin, trace a circle on a piece of parchment paper. Turn the parchment over (so that the ink is facing down and doesn't come into contact with the food) and place on a baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, miix the granulate sugar and cornstarch together. In a small bowl, mix the the almond extract and vinegar together.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites on low until completely foamy. They should look like good cappuccino foam! About 2 minutes.
Add a pinch of fine sea salt and slowly add sugar mixture a few tablespoons at a time, letting each addition become incorporated for about 20-30 seconds before adding more. While you're adding this in increments, gradually increase mixer up to high. Mix until forms stiff peaks 4-5 minutes. It will be glossy and shiny and ripply thick. It shouldn't look foamy at all and it shouldn't look dry or clumpy. Now add the vanilla and vinegar mixture and mix on medium until completely integrated, about 1 minute.
Using a rubber spatula, scrap all of the gorgeous meringue onto your baking sheet covered with parchment. Put it right in the middle of that circle you drew. Using an off set spatula, working from the middle of your meringue mound, gently press the meringue down and outwards until it almost reaches your traced circle. I tend to give the top of the meringue a few swoops with the offset spatula, but you flatten it all the way or give it lots of swoops! Whatever you like.
Put the meringue in the preheated oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours. At this point check the meringue. The outside should be hard and crisp. If it isn't keep baking the meringue in ten minutes increments until the outside is hard and crisp. If it is, insert a toothpick in the middle. When you remove the toothpick, it should be sticky and marshmallowy. When the meringue has reached this stage, turn off the oven and leave the meringue to cook for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the curd. Place the cup of blood orange juice in a small sauce pan over medium low heat and reduce to 1/2 cup, stirring occasionally.
Boil about 2" of water in a medium sauce pan and reduce to medium low. In a heatproof bowl that fits over the medium sauce pan, whisk together the yolks and sugar. Make sure that the water is low enough so that the bowl does NOT touch the water at all! Place the bowl in the sauce pan and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved into the yolks. Stir in the blood orange juice, the salt and butter. Continue stirring until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back the wooden spoon, about 15-20 minutes. I test it by dipping my spoon in the curd and then running my finger down the back of the spoon. If the line stays, the curd is done. Carefully remove the bowl of curd from the saucepan. Strain the curd through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. Press plastic wrap down onto the top of the curd and allow it to cool. This will keep it from developing a skin as it cools. Once it's cooled, keep it in the fridge until you're ready to assemble your pavlova.
Whip up the heavy cream and 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar in a medium bowl until soft and lightly whipped. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
When you're ready to put it all together, place your meringue on a serving dish. Spread a nice layer of curd over the top, leaving a about inch all around so it's not dripping off the sides. Dollop your whipped cream over the top and spread so that it covers the curd. Layer your cut citrus over the top of the cream. Top the citrus with flaked almonds. Serve and be thankful for winter citrus!