Welcome autumn 2013. Pomegranates are beginning to ripen everywhere. The groceries are full of them, and we seem to have an endless supply in the village. A plethora of pomegranates. It’s a strange time of year in Cyprus – weather wise – I mean. The days get shorter and the nights feel a bit cooler but it is still hot during the days. The Mediterranean autumn produce here is enjoyable. There are pomegranates, quince, apples, figs, peaches, kohlrabi, dates, squash and more.
This week I decided to cook with the pomegranates that my aunt picked. I thought I would combine summer & fall feelings together in this dessert. The dessert comes with an orange blossom and pomegranate syrup which you can drizzle on top of the whipped cream. The syrup really showcases the orange blossom and pomegranate flavours, so if you want to keep it simple just omit the syrup. A pavlova is always enjoyable in hot weather because it is light. I decided to make the meringues pink as well because I debated taking this to the baby shower for a girl.
Picture of me taken by Nicolas Iordanou. The meringues came out great. They are not that difficult to make as long as you know what “stiff glossy peaks” are, in my opinion. And it seems that everyone likes meringues. It’s not the best dessert to take places because if you put the whipped cream on too early it will make the meringue melt. But if you are entertaining at home, it’s a wonderfully easy recipe to make. These meringues have a slight vanilla flavour which is what makes them special. It is important to store them in an air-tight container so that they don’t become mushy. Happy Cyprus Cooking!
for the meringues:
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbs cold water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup caster sugar
1 tbs corn starch
pomegranate seeds (to taste for sprinkling on top)
whipped cream (to taste for covering top of meringue)
for the orange blossom and pomegranate syrup:
Juice of 3 fresh pomegranates
1 1/2 tbsp orange blossom water
5 tbsp sugar
1. Spread parchment paper on a baking tray. Draw four side-plate sized circles with a utensil that leaves a crease so you can tell where the circles are for later.
2. Preheat the oven to 135C.
3. Add salt to egg whites. Beat until stiff.
4. Add cold water, vanilla extract and cream of tartar and beat to blend.
5. Combine sugar and cornstarch and add to egg white mixture 1 tbs at a time. Beat well after each addition. Continue to beat until thick and glossy. If you want to add some colouring to your meringues, add a touch of food colouring now and swirl it with a spatula.
6. Pile up the meringues in the circles on the parchment paper with a spatula.
7. Bake the meringues for 1 hour without opening the oven door. Check on the meringues as they are cooking and if you see them burning, turn the heat down. After 1 hour, turn of the heat, do not open the door and leave the meringues in the oven to completely cool.
8. Make the syrup: Pour the pomegranate juice in a saucepan and heat. Add the orange blossom water and sugar. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, simmer until glossy and thick. Be careful as the syrup will thicken up a bit more when it cools, so take it off the stove just before it appears done. Leave to cool and put to the side.
9. When serving, top with fresh whipped cream, cover with fresh pomegranate seeds and drizzle the syrup on top.
Recipe inspired by Mimi Thorrison’s Pomegranate Pavlova.