I’m something of a traditionalist. My family tends to gravitate toward the same desserts every year for our holiday celebrations – sugar cookies, something pumpkin, and something with chocolate…but this year, I was feeling like trying something new. Enter Cranberry Pavlova. This recipe is part of our 2014 Holiday Brochure, and I was in love at first bite. Although it’s not a “traditional” holiday dessert (at least not in our family), I would highly recommend it for a show-stopping dessert – perfect for Thanksgiving.
One of the parts that I love about this recipe is the homemade Cranberry Curd. You may have had lemon curd before – this is very similar, but it has a slightly different, tangy flavor. Plus, who doesn’t love fresh cranberries this time of year while they’re in season? Also, the cranberry curd can be made as a separate recipe and is great for gift-giving!
The first step in the recipe is to cook the cranberries with water so they soften slightly. You can use frozen cranberries if you can’t find fresh, but most supermarkets carry fresh cranberries this time of year.
Once the berries are very soft (about 15 minutes), pour them into a sieve…
… and press them with a spoon to remove the juices. Discard the pulp.
Pour the cranberry juice into a saucepan and add 1/2 cup sugar. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Separate 4 eggs – we’ll be using both the whites and yolks in the recipe, so there’s no waste!
Whisk the egg yolks together, then add about 2 tablespoons of the hot cranberry mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly.
This is called tempering and it helps bring the yolks up to temperature so they don’t scramble when the hot liquid is added. Add about half of the remaining cranberry liquid and whisk together.
Now add the egg mixture into the remaining cranberry mixture in the saucepan.
Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 165°F. By this time, the mixture will have thickened quite a bit.
Now, whisk in the butter in chunks until combined and no lumps are present.
Pour into a bowl and refrigerate.
Combine 1 cup sugar and the corn starch in a small bowl. Place the egg whites in a mixer bowl.
Whisk until the egg whites hold soft peaks.
Slowly add the sugar mixture and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and vinegar and mix well.
Spoon the egg white mixture into 12 mounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
Create an indent in the middle of each with a spoon.
Bake for 35 minutes, then turn off the oven (but don’t open it!) and let the Pavlovas stand for 15 minutes. This will help dry them out.
Then remove them from the oven to cool completely.
While the Pavlovas are cooling, prepare the sugared cranberries. (Umm, can I say, “Yum?!?”).
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Stir in the cranberries and cook 2-3 minutes or until a cranberry bursts.
Remove from heat, drain, and let stand for about an hour or until dried. Once dried, coat the cranberries in sugar and let dry.
To assemble this stunning dessert, place one Pavlova on a plate. Top with about 2 tablespoons of cranberry curd, a few sugared cranberries, and a mint leaf. How gorgeous is this? Not to mention delicious. Sometimes it’s okay to try something different like Cranberry Pavlova for Thanksgiving dessert – I can attest to that!