On the Ninth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Nine ladies dancing (Anna Pavlova Christmas Wreath)
Pavlova is a simple but beautiful meringue dessert created by the iconic ballerina Anna Pavlova. Unsweetened whipped cream and the tang of a fruity topping perfectly counterbalance the intensely sweet, crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside meringue.
For this recipe, make sure to leave ample time (a couple hours) to allow the pavlova to cool very slowly inside the hot oven. If you plan on sugared sage or mint leaves and berries for the wreath, it can take several hours or overnight for them to dry. Do this first before you start baking. The cranberry sauce can be made a day or two in advance and stored in the fridge.
You can make Pavlova any season of the year by changing out the fruit—this recipe uses cranberries and pomegranates for the holiday. And since the merengue-base is spread out on a sheet pan, you can shape it any way you like it really—a big disc, several small discs, a wreath (like this one), a rectangle...
CHRISTMAS PAVLOVA WREATH
4 egg whites (save the yolks for the custard)
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice plus zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup pomegranate syrup (optional but highly recommended!)
Zest and juice of 1 orange