Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cranberry - Vanilla Pavlova

It seems a bit out of character for me to not have complained about the weather yet, so I thought it fitting to say Sheesh! It's cold! We've already had our first snow (not that it lasted) and I have to remember that a corduroy jacket and summery scarf just isn't going to do the job when I go out. Kids don't seem to notice the cold, no matter what they are wearing, but on those long walks and chilly afternoons at the park, I'm reaching for my long underwear. Let It Snow!

What does that have to do with pavlova? Absolutely nothing, but then neither does this little tidbit..

We sold our house!
It looks like we will actually be moved and settled in a new place by Christmas. Joy to the World!

Not quite as joyful is the prospect of packing up this place; can someone please tell me how we managed to accumulate SO much stuff over the past few years?
Thankfully, Megan over at Simple Kids has inspired me to tackle the children's belongings step-by-step with her great series Winterize Within. Hey! Maybe I could wrap a bunch of stuff up and give it away as Christmas gifts. Just a thought.

On to the sweet stuff...
This cranberry- vanilla pavlova was one of my contributions to a lavish Thanksgiving dinner pot-luck we enjoyed with friends a few weekends ago. As I was looking over the photos I had managed to snap despite the chaos of about 25 bodies clamoring for dessert and Noah's meltdown because he WANTED THE BLUE PLATE, I realized this would make a pretty fitting Christmas dessert as well.

It's red & white, with billowing whipped cream that is reminiscent of snow, and cheery cranberries all over. Visually, it scores very high on the festive chart . Defiantly a recipe not limited to just Thanksgiving. Or maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to make it again. It was GOOD!

At the aforementioned diner party, Danny and I had conveniently seated ourselves within arms reach of the desserts. After one slice each of the decadent and very addicting cranberry pavlova, a very interesting conversation occurred over the consumption of the rest of the dessert.

"It's best eaten the day it is made"

"Yeah, we better enjoy another slice or two. You know, to help contribute to the consumption"

"I don't want to take any home."

"No way. It doesn't travel well. Here, just slide another sliver over."

"Serve me some too, it's so light and airy anyway."

"I know, and cranberries are like superfoods, right?"

"Right. Well, there's a bit left, but, you know, it goes all soggy in the fridge if you store it overnight."

"Eww. We wouldn't want that."

and so on and so forth, until, well, I'm a bit embarrassed to disclose what happened after that. You'll just have to make it for yourself and see how fast it disappears.

Cranberry-Vanilla Pavlova

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, November 2007
Serves 8

3 1/3 cups (12 ounces) fresh cranberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup water

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 1/2 cups heavy cream


4 large egg whites, room temperature

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1/2 cup superfine sugar

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Make the topping:
Combine cranberries, granulated sugar, and water in a saucepan. Using the tip of a paring knife, scrape vanilla seeds into pan, and toss in pod. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook until cranberries are soft but have not burst, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Remove vanilla bean. Topping can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

2. Make the pavlova:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an overturned bowl or a cake pan as a guide, trace a 10-inch circle onto parchment. Turn parchment over, marked side down.

3. Beat egg whites, cornstarch, salt, and vinegar with a mixer on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add superfine sugar. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, and gradually add confectioners' sugar. Raise speed to medium-high, and beat until very stiff, glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

4. Using a rubber spatula or a large spoon, spread meringue into marked 10-inch circle on prepared baking sheet, forming a well in center.

5. Bake until outside is firm and bottom lifts easily off parchment, about 2 hours. (The inside should still be marshmallow soft.) Turn off oven and allow pavlova to remain inside until the oven cools. When cool, carefully remove from parchment. (Pavlova can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

6. Before serving, whisk cream until soft peaks form. Place meringue on a platter or cake stand. Spread cream in center of meringue. Spoon topping over cream.


kickpleat said...

Pavlova was one of the first truly amazing things that I baked. I think it's time to revisit this beauty. Love the cranberries!

Maria said...

Congrats on selling your house! I am loving all of the cranberries on this pavlova!

Jennifer Jo said...

Lovely. I made a pavlova with red raspberries, but I think it would be better with cranberries---the tart would off-set the sweet.

Melissa said...

What a wonderful dessert. It would be perfect for Christmas. I may have to try this for Thanksgiving!

Ingrid_3Bs said...

LOL, lemme guess you guys ate more than a slice?! It is very pretty and with red and white as its colors it would be perfect for Christmas.

queencake and titangirl said...

oh aimee,this looks lovely!could you send some over to germany, like now :-))best,anja

Melissa said...

on another note...I thought this looked familiar...last week I pulled out the NOV 2007 issue of MSL...what a coincidence!

Valérie said...

It looks great! And don't you just love desserts that are full of "good" reasons to have seconds (or thirds)? Congratulations on selling your house!

Lisa-Jo Baker said...

Drooooooooooooling just looking at this picture! Sadly, if it doesn't come in something I can open with a can opener - I don't think I am capable of producing it.

Laura said...

Hey Aimee! It's Laura - just thought you'd be excited....I mentioned your blog to girls at work (and med students) and they LOVE it!! Easy conversion!
They're really checking out your recipes - I think the good pics of the food have really helped. Finally, an interesting blog!!! Way to go!
See ya tomorrow

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Congrats on the sale of your home! Also how awesome that you will be able to settle into your new home before the holidays. This pavlova looks great...I love the cranberries on top...yum!

A. said...

Can't believe I didn't try it...

Mariko said...

I've never wanted to eat a pavlova, but that picture is making me change that idea. It sounds so light and lovely.

Anonymous said...

OH how I love cranberries! This looks so good!

CookiePie said...

Gorgeous dessert! And hey, what you eat on Thanksgiving doesn't count anyway, so no need to justify another slice ;)

Congrats on selling your house! We just sold our apartment too, so we'll be going through the move with you. Here's to lots of virtual glasses of wine following days of packing!

Barbara said...

I'm crazy for pavlovas! Have made them with all sorts of fruits, but for some odd reason, never cranberries. Sure is the season to try them! Great idea.

Cheri said...

This looks so gorgeous Aimee! And, it sounds soo divine! Perfect to satisfy the cranberry fetish I seem to be having. :) I love the conversation.. sounds all too familiar. :)

Deborah said...

That is absolutely gorgeous! Congrats on the sale of your house!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Congratulations on selling your house! Hooray- that's a great early Christmas present. This pavlova would make a beautiful Christmas dessert - it's gorgeous!


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