Pomegranate Pavlova

Pomegranate Pavlova

Pomegranates and pistachios are often associated with the holiday seasons in late December in the northern hemisphere, but the pomegranate and pistachio season in the southern hemisphere is March through May, so why not enjoy this tantalizingly beautiful fruit year round. The pomegranate was revered in its native Persia and eventually its sweet tartness found its way into cuisines around the world, enlivening kebabs in the Middle East and Africa, curries and chutneys in East Asia, jerks in the Caribbean, and salads, sauces, and sweets in Asia, Europe, the Americas.

A pomegranate and pistachio Pavlova with a hint of bitter orange came to mind. Pavlova, a heavenly Australian creation, or was it a Kiwi inspiration, still vigorously debated, but no matter. A Pavlova is the ultimate sweet flourish to end any celebratory meal…eliciting “oohs and ahhs” every time it arrives at the table.

Do try a pavlova topped with fresh passion fruit. It is an all times hands down favorite!

… and contrary to hear say, meringues are easy to make!  The recipe that follows is tried and true.

Prepare ahead:

  • Pavlova meringues, baked ahead and stored in air tight container
  • pomegranates, seeds removed along with the juice 
  • pomegranate juice, reduced and thickened
  • whipped cream, with Greek yogurt and Seville orange marmalade

Pavlova meringue

preheat oven to 350F/180C     Makes 5 4 inch meringues

  • 4 egg whites
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4  cups fine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts, crushed

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and trace five circles about 4 inches in diameter, using a cup or bowl about that size, with plenty of space between each circle for even heat circulation while baking.

Using a mixer or hand whisk, whisk the egg whites and salt until peaks form. Begin adding 1 tablespoon of sugar at a time while you continue to whisk until all the sugar is added and the mixture is firmly peaking and glossy. Sprinkle the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla over the surface and fold in by hand with a silicone spoon to combine. Then add the crushed pistachios and fold in.

Dollop the meringue mixture in the center of each circle on the parchment paper, staying 1/4 inch inside the drawn circle as the meringue will spread somewhat during baking. Flatten the tops and even up the sides with the back of a spatula.

Place in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 300F/150C and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours until the meringues have risen and cracks begin to appear on the surface. Turn the oven off and crack the oven door and cool the meringues in the oven for 1 to 2 hours.

Remove from the oven and carefully peel the parchment from the bottom of the meringues and store in an airtight container with a parchment square between each. Do not refrigerate!

Pomegranates

Ripe Pomegranate

Ripe Pomegranate

  • 4 pomegranates
  • 2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Slice off the very tops of the pomegranates without cutting into the flesh and make several shallow slices down the sides of the outer skin. You can then ply open the fruit to remove the seeds from the pith, which is a little tedious, but take your time so as not to lose any of the seeds or juice. Place in a bowl, discarding the pith and outer skin.

Reserve 1/4 of the whole seed pods and place the rest of the pods in a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Better wear a bib apron for the next bit to avoid airborne juice stains! Using the back of a large silicone spoon exert a downward pressure to extract the juices from the pods. Place the juice in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer and reduce for about 8 minutes. Mix the corn starch and cold water together and stir into the simmering juice. Cook for 3 minutes until the juice thickens. Set aside to cool to room temperature and then add the reserved seed pods and mix together. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the Pavlova.

Whipped cream with Seville orange marmalade

  • 1 cup very cold whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon fine sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold Greek style yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Seville orange marmalade

Whip the cream, using a mixer or hand whisk, until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and continue to whip until well combined and forming firm peaks. Add the yogurt and orange marmalade. Mix on medium low speed (or fold in by hand) briefly to just combine the yogurt and marmalade. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the Pavlova.

Assembling the Pavlova
Plate each Pavlova meringue and gently press on the top working from the center towards the edges, being careful not to apply pressure near the edges until the interior surface cracks and flattens slightly. Mound whipped cream into the center and spread it evenly, peaking it with the back of a spoon. Spoon the pomegranate mixture over the mounded whipped cream and serve.

 

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