For the meringue:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large eggs, separated, yolks reserved
Pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice or white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the lemon curd:
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon lemon zest
For the topping:
5 kumquats, mandarinquats or a combination
¼ cup sugar
1 Oro blanco or pink grapefruit
1 Cara Cara or navel orange
1 blood orange
1 Murcott or Satsuma tangerine
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
Photo Credit: The San Francisco Chronicle
To make the meringue: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone baking liner or parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch. Put the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer). Mix on medium speed until the whites hold soft peaks, then add 3 tablespoons of cold water and continue beating until the whites again hold soft peaks. Increase the speed to medium-high and add the sugar and cornstarch mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. When all the sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.
Add the lemon juice and vanilla, increase the speed to high, and continue to beat the egg whites until they hold stiff, glossy peaks, 5 minutes more. Transfer the meringue to the prepared baking sheet and, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, gently spread into a circle about 8 inches wide, slightly higher on the sides and with a slight depression in the center.
Bake the meringue until pale golden, about 45 minutes. The meringue will have a crust on the exterior but still be soft inside. Turn the oven off, crack the oven door slightly (stick a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it propped open) and let the meringue sit in the oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Once cool, run a spatula under the meringue to free it from the silicon baking mat or parchment and transfer to a large plate. The meringue is best made the same day you plan to eat it. If you prefer, you can make individual meringues; prepare two baking sheets, then spoon four equal-size mounds of meringue onto each of the baking sheets, for a total of 8 meringues. The baking time is the same.
To make the lemon curd: While the meringue cooks, make the lemon curd: In a medium non-reactive bowl, whisk together the reserved egg yolks, lemon juice and sugar. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water) and whisk vigorously and constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and lemon zest. Transfer to a medium bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd (this prevents a skin from forming) and transfer to the refrigerator. Let cool completely. The lemon curd can be made up to two days in advance; if you make the curd before the meringue, make sure to reserve the egg whites for the meringue.
To make the topping: Thinly slice the kumquats and/or mandarinquats into rounds. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the sliced fruit and simmer just until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and, with a slotted spoon, remove the fruit from the syrup and transfer to a bowl. Refrigerate until chilled. Reserve the syrup; it’s great in cocktails.
With a sharp knife, cut the ends off of the grapefruit and orange. Working with one piece of fruit at a time, use a sharp knife to cut off the peel and pith, following the curve of the fruit. Cut the blood oranges into wagon wheels about ½-inch think. With a sharp knife, cut out each Cara Cara and grapefruit segment by inserting the knife blade between the flesh and the membrane on both sides; the wedges should come out easily, leaving only the membrane intact. Discard the membrane. Peel the tangerine and separate the segments.
In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer), beat the cream and confectioner’s sugar on high speed until it holds soft peaks.
To finish: With a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the lemon curd to lighten it. Spread the lemon curd onto the meringue base, leaving a 1-inch border. Top with the remaining whipped cream. Arrange the citrus on top of the cream, finishing with the poached kumquat slices. The assembled pavlova is best eaten right after it’s assembled but will keep, refrigerated, for up to an hour.