Muscovado pavlova with caramel oranges and cardamom custard
A winter pavlova recipe that will round-off dinner in style.
The meringue recipe is a quick cook version that results in gloriously soft meringue, so don’t worry if it cracks, it will still taste delicious.
For the cardamom custard
- 150ml/5fl oz double cream
- 150ml/5fl oz full-fat milk
- 10 cardamom pods, lightly smashed in a pestle and mortar
- pinch salt
- 40g/1½oz golden caster sugar
- 15g/½oz cornflour
- 2 free-range egg yolks
For the pavlova
- 4 free-range egg whites
- 175g/6oz golden caster sugar
- 75g/2½oz dark muscovado sugar
- pinch salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 300ml/10fl oz double cream
For the caramelised oranges
To make the custard, pour the cream, milk, half the sugar and salt into a pan and gently bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once little bubbles are starting to pop on the surface, remove from the heat and stir in the cardamom. Allow to cool and infuse for about an hour.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and the cornflour until frothy and pale. Strain the infused cream, return to the pan and bring up to just below the boil. Drop a tablespoon of the warm cream into the egg yolk mixture and whisk to warm it up, then pour on the remaining hot milk and cream mixture and whisk it until combined.
Wash and dry the saucepan. Return the mixture to the pan and heat over a low–medium heat, bring slowly to the boil and stir for a few minutes, cooking until the cornflour is cooked out and the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat, then strain through a sieve into a clean pan. Cool by putting the pan into a large bowl of iced water. Once cool, cover the surface with cling film to avoid a skin developing, then chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
To make the pavlova, preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 5. Make sure the bowl you’re going to whisk the egg whites in is spotlessly clean. (I find squeezing a drop of lemon juice in and rubbing it over the inside with a piece of kitchen towel helpful.)
Combine both the sugars and salt in a bowl and rub out any lumps in the muscovado with your fingers. Put the egg whites in the bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. While still whisking, add in the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to incorporate into the egg whites. Pour in the vanilla extract and keep whisking for 5–6 minutes, or until any visible lumps of sugar have dissolved and the mixture is glossy, smooth and fluffy.
Line two baking trays with baking paper. Use a blobs of the meringue mixture to stick the baking paper to the baking trays.
Using a metal spoon, divide the mixture between the baking trays, dolloping it on and spreading it out into circles the size of small dinner plates, using the back of the spoon to create cloud-like whisps and peaks.
Bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven.
Meanwhile, to make caramelised orange, place the orange slices in a bowl.
Combine the sugars and salt in a frying pan and placed over a medium low–medium heat. Without stirring, heat the sugar gently until it’s melted. Carefully add the orange zest and juice and rosemary (it will sizzle, spit and bubble) and stir with a wooden spoon until you have a caramel. It should be the consistency of orange juice, so add a tablespoon of water if it needs thinning. Pour over the oranges and set aside.
Once cool, carefully peel the parchment from the meringue discs and use a palette knife to lift one onto a serving platter or cake stand. Whip the cream to soft peaks and remove the custard from the fridge. Fold the custard and a tablespoon of the orange caramel syrup through the cream.
Spread most of the cream and custard mixture onto the base meringue, then top with half of the caramelised oranges. Sandwich with the other meringue, pile the remaining cream and custard mix on top and cover with the remaining oranges. Drizzle with a little more syrup, and serve.