Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!
While my husband and I don’t usually make a big fuss over this holiday, we do always take the time to cook together and create something special for dinner. To us, Valentine’s Day acts as a reminder to slow down and take time for each other by turning what is just a normal necessary task (making dinner) into time well spent together. So, with today being Valentine’s Day, I wanted to create a recipe that was truly special. If you are looking for a dessert that is both beautiful and romantic—this is it.
This Pavlova is assembled from two light and fluffy meringues that are perfectly crisp on the outside and is soft and marshmallowy on the inside. Its layers are generously filled with whipped coconut cream, spiced blood orange curd and fresh fruit. To finish it off, it is topped with loads of fresh blood orange slices, blackberries and pomegranates. It is an absolute DREAM.
While Pavlova is traditionally a Christmas dessert, you can bet that anytime I am looking for a truly impressive finish to any meal, this is high on my list. Not only is it delicious but it is absolutely STUNNING.
So, no matter who you are cooking for (or with) this Valentines Day, this Pavlova is sure to be the perfect dessert to share…or not 😉
- 3/4 cups fine castor sugar
- 4 fridge cold egg whites
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 4 egg yolks
- 4 whole eggs
- 5 blood oranges juiced and zested
- 6 tbs unsalted butter (dairy free)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground clove
- 2 cans refrigerated coconut cream
- 1-2 tbs sugar optional
- 2-3 oranges sliced
- Pomegranate arils
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
You will be baking 2 meringues, each about 8 inches in diameter. On a sheet of parchment that will fit your pan, trace two circles (depending on the size of your pan you may need to use two) and set aside.
Separate the whites of the eggs into a large bowl ( set yolks aside to use for curd) . With an electric hand mixer or stand beat the egg whites on high until soft peaks form (peaks should be just starting to hold). Add the sugar in by the spoonful and continue whisking until the sugar is completely incorporated (another 2-3 minutes after all the sugar has been added). The mixture should look thick and glossy and all the sugar should be dissolved.
Stir in the cream of tartar and mix well.
Dab a bit of the meringue under each corner of the parchment, to help it stick to the pan and keep it from lifting up when you are forming the pavlova.
Gently scoop 1/2 of the meringue onto each circle and form your desired shape.
Place the baking sheet gently in the oven and turn the temperature DOWN to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake without opening the oven for 1.5 hours.
Once the time goes off, turn the oven off. Use a wooden spoon to prop the door open and leave the Pavlova in the oven to cool. This slow clooling prevents the Pavlova from being as fragile and can help to prevent cracking. If you are in a hurry you can remove form the oven and place on a cooling rack. You might just get more cracks.
Combine 4 egg yolks and 4 whole eggs in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
Zest and juice the oranges, set aside.
Set up a double broiler with a pot boiling water and tempered glass or metal mixing bowl setting on top. Using the steam to heat the curd prevents it from getting over cooked and lumpy.
With the bowl on top of the pot and the water boiling, add the butter and melt. Then add the juice, zest, sugar and finally the whisked eggs. Continue to heat and stir over the double boiler until the curd has thickened. It should be able to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove from heat and allow to cool in the fridge.
Open the chilled cans of coconut cream and use a spoon to scoop out only the hardened cream from the cans, avoiding as much liquid as possible.
Place into a large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to whip the cream into a fluffy consistency. Add the sugar (if desired) and whip until incorporated.
You will want to assemble the Pavlova no more than 3-4 hours before serving as the meringue will begin to soften as it sets. Ideally you would assemble about an hour before serving.
Place the one meringue circle on your serving platter or cake stand and spoon about half the coconut cream all over. Then layer on some of the orange blood curd. If desired add some of the fresh fruit to the middle layer. Add the second meringue and top with additional curd and coconut cream. Arrange orange slices, blackberries and pomegranates on top (the more the better!).
Serve and enjoy!!
If you don't have Castor sugar you can put regular sugar in a food processor and blitz it for a few seconds to get a finer grain.
If you cant find cans of coconut cream you can use cans of full fat coconut milk but you will probably need 3-4 cans instead of just 2.
For the the coconut cream, I personally don't add sugar because I think that with the curd and meringue the dessert is sweet enough. feel free to add or omit.