Some women want diamonds for Christmas. Some women want pearls. All I want is local produce. We’ve really been missing the fresh produce from California. I heard a rumor at work that the FFAkids in Kansas sell big cartons of local citrus and avocados around the holidays. I dreamed about it. I lusted after it. Citrus and avocados in Kansas—could it really be true? And then! I came home from work on Thursday to find that Mr. Dessert For Two bought a carton from his coworker’s son. I didn’t even tell him I had heard about this glorious thing! He just knew that avocados the size of a linebacker’s fist and dozens upon dozens of sweet oranges, ruby red grapefruits and fresh lemons right off the tree were my dream for the holidays.
I’ve been gobbling up citrus like a monkey lately, but I paused for a day to dream up citrus desserts for you. In a world of holiday cookies and sweet fudge, I thought you might need an impressive (yet effortless) festive holiday dessert. What’s not to love about pavlova? The crisp shell remains slightly chewy and marshmallow-y on the inside, and the thick layer of fresh whipped cream and fruit on top is divine. The effortless part is that this contains only5 ingredients. Egg whites, sugar, cream, fresh cranberries and an orange.
This is my entry for Kristanand Shelly’sCreative Holiday Recipe Contest. Wish me luck!
Oh, and how about a winner for the gift basket of Tate’s Bake shop goodies giveaway? I used random.org to generate the number 28. Comment #28 belongs to Christopher S. He has been emailed and alerted of his prize.
Cranberry Orange Pavlova
Makes 2 pavolvas
2 large egg whites
8 tablespoons sugar, divided use
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 orange, zested and juiced
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
To make the perfect meringue, you must have a scrupulously clean bowl. I wipe out a clean bowl with a small amount of vinegar on a paper towel to make sure it's very clean. Ensure your beaters are clean as well. Also, when separating the egg, it is very important that no trace of yolk is in the white. If the yolk breaks, the white is no longer good to use. Sorry, but these are the rules.
Once you have 2 perfect egg whites in a bowl, line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 200.
Beat the egg whites until fluffy, then slowly stream in 3 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest. Beat the mixture until stiff picks form (maybe take up to 5 minutes). Divide the mixture into 2 rounds on the baking sheet. With a spoon, make a divot in the center of each to hold the toppings later. Bake for 60-80 minutes, until the meringue lifts easily off the parchment paper. Let cool. (These can be made 2 days in advance, if stored air-tight).
In a small saucepan, add the cranberries, 4 tablespoons of sugar and the juice of 1 orange. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when the berries begin to pop. Let cool completely.
When ready to serve, whip the cold cream until it slightly thickens, then sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Beat until almost stiff.
To serve, layer each meringue with whipped cream, then top with cranberries.
Christina Lane is the author of 3 cookbooks all about cooking and baking for two. She has scaled down hundreds of recipes into smaller servings so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without the leftovers! Valentine's Day is her favorite holiday.