My winter spiced orange pavlova is a delicious celebration dessert with a rich Christmas pudding filling, topped with zesty spiced oranges. Ideal for an after-Christmas or New Year lunch party or as a lighter pud for Christmas Day.
Why I Love Meringue
I inherited my love of meringue from my mother. For as long as I can remember, we have both adored the crisp white cakes, with a marshmallowy inside. Like madeleines, meringues really are better when you make them yourself. The shop ones are too white, too tooth-achingly sweet and too powdery, without the chewy soft inside that makes a meringue so special.
I do not know why people are scared of meringue. There really is very little that can go wrong and the result really is the perfect party dessert. You can do most of the work in advance. It doesn’t need a lot of attention at the last minute and it makes a big impression on your guests.
To make meringues, you must have a squeaky clean bowl, and this is one occasion when you do not want freshly-laid eggs. Use one and a half times sugar to the weight of the eggs and you are all set. Whenever I use an egg yolk alone, I freeze the white in my silicone muffin pan. Then I store it in a plastic box in the freezer until I am ready to make meringues. Here I used a mix of white and soft brown sugar to give a light toffee fudge flavour to the meringue. It feels warmer and more suitable for a lovely Christmas pavlova, perfect for holiday parties.
Winter Spiced Orange Pavlova
This winter spiced orange pavlova is the perfect pudding to have a few days after Christmas, as it will use up the remains of the leftover Christmas pudding. It looks impressive and tastes delicious. You can make the meringue a good week in advance and store in an air tight tin. The spiced oranges will keep for a week in the fridge and are also good with cold meat and cheeses. If you want to make it ahead of Christmas, you could use a little mincemeat (the sort without chunks of shredded fat) or soak some dried fruit in brandy or an orange liqueur.
When the time comes to assemble the pavlova on the day, whip up the cream, crumble in the Christmas pudding and you have an impressive centre piece in about 5 minutes. No one will know they are eating leftovers! Please do not worry about the small amount of vinegar in the oranges. It cuts through the sweetness and adds some acidity and balance.
The oranges are based on a Diana Henry recipe. Slice an orange, cut into semicircles and cover the slices with water. Add a splash of white wine vinegar, a generous spoonful of sugar, a cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods. Gently simmer until the oranges are soft. Alternatively, the remains of some homemade cranberry sauce would go well instead.
How to Make Winter Spiced Orange Pavlova
To Make the Meringue
Step one – Preheat the oven to GM2 / 150°C / 300°F.
Step two – Whisk the egg white with half a teaspoon of the sugar. You can either do this in a stand mixer, or with a hand-held electric whisk. Whisk until white and frothy. Then add the sugar gradually, whisking all the time until the meringue stands in soft peaks.
Step three – Turn out the meringue onto a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray. Shape into a nest about 9 inches in diameter.
Step four – Sprinkle with some edible glitter and place in the preheated oven. Turn the oven down to GM1 / 275F / 140C immediately. Cook for about 40–50 minutes. When the meringue is hard on the outside and sounds hollow when lightly tapped, turn the oven off. Allow the meringue to cool inside the oven.
To Make the Oranges
Step one – Slice an orange into narrow slices and cut these in half to make semicircles. Put the orange slices in a pan.
Step two – Cover the orange with water. Add a splash of white wine vinegar, a generous spoonful of sugar, a cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods.
Step three – Gently simmer until the oranges are soft. Allow to cool and then keep in the fridge until you are ready to assemble your Christmas pavlova.
Step one – Drain the oranges, reserving the syrup. Whip the cream together with the syrup from the oranges or with a dash of your favourite liqueur, until the mixture holds soft peaks
Step two – Stir the crumbled Christmas pudding into the whipped cream mixture very gently, so as not to lose air from the cream.
Step three – Fill the meringue nest with the cream. Then arrange the orange slices on top. Serve your winter spiced orange pavlova immediately and enjoy your guests’ appreciation!
Hints, Tips & Variations for Your Christmas Pavlova
- If you don’t have leftover pudding (or Christmas cake), use a spoonful of mincemeat (avoiding the versions with chunks of suet), or soak some dried fruit in brandy or orange liqueur and add a pinch of mixed spice.
- Leftover cranberry sauce makes an alternative topping, or you could poach some pears in a little pear or apple liqueur.
- If you have been given bottled fruit in alcohol or syrup, use this instead of the oranges.
Winter Spiced Orange Pavlova
For the Meringue and filling
- 3 egg whites
- 100 g white caster sugar (or the weight of the egg whites)
- 50 g soft light brown sugar (or half the weight of the egg whites)
- 300 ml double (heavy) cream
- 125 g leftover Christmas pudding
For the Oranges
- 1 large orange (sliced and cut into semi circles)
- splash of white wine vinegar
- 1 dsp sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon
- cardamon pods
To Make the Meringue
- Preheat the oven to GM2 / 150°C / 300°F.
- Whisk the egg white with half a teaspoon of the sugar. Add the rest of the sugar gradually, whisking all the time until the meringue stands in soft peaks.
- Turn out the meringue onto a sheet of parchment paper on a baking tray. Shape into a nest about 9 inches across.
- Sprinkle with some edible glitter and place in an oven pre heated to GM2 / 300°F / 150°C, immediately turn the oven down to GM1 / 275°F / 140°C. Cook for about 40–50 mins. When the pavlova is hard and sounds hollow when lightly tapped, turn the oven off and allow to cool inside the oven.
To Make the Spiced Oranges
- Slice an orange into narrow slices and cut these in half to make semicircles. Put the orange slices in a pan.
- Cover the orange with water. Add a splash of white wine vinegar, a generous spoonful of sugar, a cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods.
- Gently simmer until the oranges are soft. Allow to cool and then keep in the fridge until you are ready to assemble your Christmas pavlova.
- Drain the oranges, reserving the syrup. Whip the cream together with the syrup from the oranges or with a spoonful of your favourite liqueur, until the mixture holds soft peaks
- Stir the crumbled Christmas pudding into the whipped cream mixture very gently, so as not to lose air from the cream.
- Fill the meringue nest with the cream. Then arrange the orange slices on top. Serve your winter spiced orange pavlova immediately.
If you enjoy this winter spiced orange pavlova, why not try my no-churn chocolate ice cream meringue gateau?
Or if you are looking for more seasonal party food, how about these smoked salmon verrines or these easy prosciutto canapés?
This looks superb. And yes, I meringues too!
That looks amazing Helen and I agree about homemade meringues. I would actually buy christmas pudding especially to make this, I might make it for Christmas actually.
ps beautiful photos
I love the balance of sweet and sour and rich and fruity you have here, I would never have thought to do this – top marks!
Looks fantastic, Helen. I do love making meringue.
Sarah, Maison Cupcake
I would much rather have fluffy pavlova for Christmas dessert instead of stodgy pud! Very dramatic pics!
wow Helen, that top photo is amazing. The recipe sounds fantastic too but I love that photo.
Jeanne @ Cooksister
What a great alternative to stodgy, boring old Christmas pudding!
What a lovely recipe, Helen and really stunning photos. They capture a real mood of elegance and sophistication! Have linked to your in my Merry Christmas round-up. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. xx
Such a beautiful pudding, stunningly arranged and photographed. I totally agree with homemade v shop bought meringues. Such easy things to make and always miles better than even the poshest bought meringues (although I haven’t ever bought any from Ottolenghi to *really* test that statement). Thanks for posting this.
This year I made a frozen ice cream Christmas bomb as something different for dessert and I think this will be next year’s centre piece as it is so nice to have something a little lighter to finish off the big meal. Your photos are stunning and this is a really creative solution for using leftovers. Thank you so much for entering it into the No Waste Food Challenge.