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Pavlovas with Cranberry-Ginger Sauce
3 h 30 m
“This healthy, gluten-free dessert has everything—crisp-on-the-outside, gooey-inside meringue base, whipped cream, tart cranberry sauce and toasted nuts. Plus, you can make everything ahead of time, then simply assemble and serve.”
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¾ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
⅓ cup honey
⅓ cup spiced rum or cranberry juice
1½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon almond extract
⅓ cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon spiced rum or vanilla extract
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1To prepare meringues: Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 225°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and draw six 2½-inch circles, a couple inches apart, on each piece. (Pavlovas don't spread much.) Flip the parchment marked-side down.
2Beat egg whites on medium-high speed in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, add nutmeg, then gradually add ¾ cup sugar, beating until the mixture is stiff, shiny and smooth. Sprinkle cornstarch, vinegar and 1 teaspoon vanilla over the whites and use a spatula to gently but thoroughly fold it all together.
3Dollop ⅓ cup of meringue over each circle on the parchment. Spread it out with the back of a spoon to fill the circles and even the tops.
4Bake the meringues for 1½ hours, swapping baking sheets from top to bottom, front to back, halfway through. Turn off the oven without opening the door and let stand for 30 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Peel the meringues from the parchment to loosen, then cool on the parchment to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
5To prepare sauce: Meanwhile, combine cranberries, honey, ⅓ cup rum (or cranberry juice), ginger, cinnamon and almond extract in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then reduce to a low simmer. Cook until most of the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens slightly, 10 to 12 minutes.
6To prepare almonds: While the meringues cool, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
7Toss almonds in a small bowl with rum (or vanilla) and sugar. Spread on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, stirring once halfway through and checking every 30 seconds near the end, until the almonds are light amber, 7 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
8To prepare whipped cream: Just before serving, beat cream and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.
9To serve: Top each meringue with whipped cream, cranberry sauce and almonds.
To make ahead: Store meringues (Steps 1-4) tightly wrapped on the parchment-lined pan at room temperature for up to 3 days. To serve, unwrap and recrisp at 225°F for 10 minutes; turn off the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Refrigerate cranberry sauce (Step 5) and store almonds (Steps 6-7) airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week.