13 Feb Cara Cara Orange Curd Pavlovas
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I realize I should probably talk to you about love or the lack of and/or chocolatey heart-shaped desserts with pink sprinkles.
But I don’t really feel like talking about that stuff right now. Don’t get me wrong, I like Valentine’s Day. I even have plans for a romantic evening of sorts that I’m sure I’ll share the details of sometime next week.
But right now, I feel like talking about home ownership.
Sexy, I know.
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes home ownership and a plumber telling you that you need to spend $2K hot water heater. Or sometimes your parents help you buy an adorable little condo and then the latter still happens.
Which is exactly where I’m sitting, my friends. To be precise, I was told that the *electric* (a very important distinction, I’ve learned) tankless water heater in my condo is for guys with hunting cabins who need to wash deer blood off their hands with warm water. NOT for long hot showers and washing mountains of dirty dishes.
And thus, I need an upgrade. An expensive one.
The plumber did however soften the blow of water heater sticker-shock by saying the words anal pipe, nipple, AND ball cock all within the span of our 2 hour conversation.
He claimed to have not taken notice of the plumber-filth coming out of his mouth until I could no longer hold back and let out a stifled giggle after about the 15th (ok, 3rd) time he said nipple. Like a good Texas boy he apologized profusely, admitting that he no longer even thinks about the erm, alternate meaning of the words. Ya right, buddy.
Fine by me, Mr. Plumber. Anal pipes your heart out. He provided some much needed comic relief as I was in serious need of a little laughter to help choke back the 2000+ tears (one for each of my lost homie$) I was working to subdue.
(Take that Ke$ha, you’re not the only one who can “cleverly” replace the letter S with $!)
So here I sit, much poorer than I was this time yesterday and mourning the anticipated loss of another 6 square feet of my already tiny living space.
It’s the kind of thing that drives a girl to stuff her face with junk food while sitting on her butt in front of the TV oggling the chiseled physiques of male Olympic athletes. Luckily, I have these light little Cara Cara Orange Curd Pavlovas sitting around so hopefully the damage to my waistline will be minimal.
A pavlova is a meringue-based dessert, appropriately named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. (Russia = Olympics, ballet = romantic, see totally a Valentine’s post!) They are traditionally made by baking a large meringue disc and then filling it with fluffy whipped cream and fresh fruit. But on the particular day I made my pavlovas I was feeling rather impatient so I made mine mini-sized to quicken the cooking time. (though I’m not sure it did)
In reality, these little meringue morsels are just a vehicle for Cara Cara Orange curd. The way I feel about curd is equivalent to the way most women feel about Ryan Gosling. I see it, and I immediately want it in my mouth.
Man, I’m on fire today.
I had never heard of a Cara Cara Orange until this year (got to love the blogosphere!). I can’t remember where I saw them, but I instantly fell in love with their surprisingly pink flesh. Not to mention they are seedless and low in acid which makes them SUPER SWEET. I assumed this made them fancy and hard to find so you can imagine my surprise when I walked into my local market the following day and almost ran into a giant pile of them!
Of course I bought like 35 (ok, 5) and hoarded them in my refrigerator for the next 2 weeks while I tried to figure out the perfect recipe for my new, rosy little friends.
The answer was this curd from TheKitchn. And since it’s not exactly socially acceptable to eat curd by the spoonful, I made little meringue curd-vehicles to balance things out. That are kind of in the shape of a spoon. But with a crispy outside and light fluffy interior – in other words, way more acceptable. Pop a few blackberries on top and maybe a few mint sprigs for color and fancification and you’ve got yourself a damn good dessert.
Note that sadly the curd does not turn out pink. It appears that the pink color of the Cara Cara Orange comes from the flesh rather than the juice. Nothing a raspberry or two for garnish can’t fix!
Happy Valentine’s! I hope you get all lovey and mushy with your sweetheart, or man-bash and eat chocolate, or do whatever your into. XO, Katie
- 1/2 - 3/4 cups orange juice from 2 oranges
- zest from one orange
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 2 large yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
- pinch of salt
- 4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Pour the orange juice into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring the juice to a rapid simmer and let it reduce down to approximately 1/4 cup, about 2-4 minutes.
- Transfer the orange juice to a measuring cup to cool. Stir in the orange zest and lemon juice.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks, and sugar. When the orange juice has cooled to room temperature, whisk it into the egg mixture in a steady stream.
- Place a clean bowl with a strainer over the top next to the stove.
- Pour the egg and juice mixture back into your small sauce pan and set it over medium heat. Stir slowly but constantly until the mixture has thickened to a pudding-like consistency, about 6-8 minutes.
- Strain the mixture into the clean bowl to remove the zest and any bits of cooked egg. Stir in the butter and the pinch of salt while the curd is still warm.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Draw 6 approximately 4-inch circles on the paper, using a cup or small bowl as a guide, then turn the paper over so the circle is on the reverse side. (This way you won't get a pencil mark on the meringue.)
- Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute.
- With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula.
- Use a spoon to pile about 3/4 cup of meringue into the middle of a cicle on the parchment paper and then use it to smooth the meringue into a disc shape. Make sure you create a crater in the middle each disc so that it can hold the curd.
- Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 180 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour.
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons of curd into the center of each cooled pavlova shell. Garnish with berries and serve immediately.
Meringue adapted from Ina Garten