12 February, 2012

Pavlova with easy cranberry sauce

Who said that Valentine's day has to be about chocolate?  I think that a beautiful white Pavlova with bright red cranberry sauce is as Valentine's day worthy as a box of your favorite chocolate.  But then again, I've loved meringue desserts since childhood.

Classic Pavlova is served topped with whipped cream and garnished with fresh fruits. I didn't not use any whipped cream but feel free to add it. As for fruits, I wanted something tangy to balance meringues' sweetness and cranberries worked perfectly.

What you need:
(for 6 Pavlovas)

meringue base:
  • 3 egg whites (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
easy cranberry sauce :
  • 1 cup whole fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2-3 cups water
What to do:
meringue base
  • Preheat the oven to 250.  In a small bowl mix sugar and cornstarch.
  • In a large bowl whip egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt using an electical blender.  Begin at low speed and increase speed to medium/high over 3-5 minutes (or until you can see soft peaks forming when the whisk is lifted).
  • Gradually add sugar/starch mix, increasing speed to high.  2-3 minutes after pour in the vanilla extract.  Continue whipping until the mix becomes glossy and you see hard peaks forming when the whisk is lifted.
  • Spoon meringue onto the baking sheet, lined with parchement paper.  The mix should make about 6 medium-sized portions.  Lightly flatten the top of the meringue to make an indentation that would hold sauce and whipped cream.
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 40-60 minutes.  Meringue should stay white, crispy on top, and not cracked.
  • Remove meringue from the cooking sheet and cool on a wire rack.
easy cranberry sauce
  • In a medium-sized pot bring water, sugar and cranberries to boil.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes, until cranberries popped.  If you want a thicker sauce, mash some of the berries with a fork.
  • Cool sauce before serving.  Taste and adjust sugar.
to assemble
  • Place one meringue onto a plate and top with cranberry sauce.  If your meringue do not have an indentation and look like mine on the picture above - carefully cut off the top of meringue to create an opening that would hold whipped cream and sauce.

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