Hibiscus Pavlova with Lemon-Hibiscus Cream

  • Active Time

    1 hour 30 minutes

  • Total Time

    4 hours (including cooling time)

Hibiscus tea has a gorgeous magenta hue and sweet-tart cranberry flavor. This pavlova uses the tea two ways: finely ground to infuse and tint light-as-air meringues and also brewed, reduced, and combined with lemon curd to create a rich whipped cream topping. The result is a dessert that’s both stunning and delicious.

Ingredients

Serves 6

For the meringue:

1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons superfine sugar, divided

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

6 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers (available at natural food stores, Latin or Middle Eastern markets, or online) or 7 hibiscus tea bags

3 large egg whites, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 3/4 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For the hibiscus syrup:

2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers or 2 hibiscus tea bags

1/4 cup superfine sugar

For the lemon-hibiscus cream:

1 cup cold heavy cream

3 tablespoons homemade or store-bought lemon curd

2 tablespoons sour cream

Pinch of fine sea salt

  1. For the meringue:

    Step 1

    Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tsp. superfine sugar, cornstarch, and salt, breaking up any lumps; set aside.

    Step 2

    Grind flowers or tea leaves (cut open bags, remove tea, and discard bags) in a spice mill or food processor until very finely ground; set aside.

    Step 3

    Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar or vinegar on medium-high speed until the mixture transforms from frothy soapsuds to soft, opaque peaks, about 3 minutes. You should see tracks from the whisk on the surface of the whites.

    Step 4

    Add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating to incorporate fully before adding the next spoonful, 5–8 minutes total. Continue to beat on medium-high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 2 minutes more. Test to see if sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a small amount between your fingertips. If it still feels gritty, keep beating until dissolved.

    Step 5

    Sprinkle the sugar, cornstarch, and salt mixture over egg whites and fold in gently with a spatula. Using a fine-mesh strainer, sift 1 Tbsp. reserved ground tea over mixture and fold in gently. Reserve remaining ground tea.

    Step 6

    Using a large spoon, divide meringue into 6 even mounds on the prepared baking sheet. Using the back of the spoon, make a small well in the center of each meringue. Lightly dust 1 tsp. reserved ground tea with fine-mesh strainer over meringues. Reserve remaining ground tea.

    Step 7

    Bake, rotating halfway through cooking time, until outsides are dry and a very pale cream color, 65–70 minutes. Turn oven off and leave door slightly ajar with meringues inside, letting them cool completely, at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

  2. For the hibiscus syrup:

    Step 8

    Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Remove from heat and steep dried hibiscus flowers or tea bags, 4–5 minutes. Strain tea or discard tea bags; if straining, strain into a medium bowl, then return tea to pot. Add sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the liquid, stirring occasionally, until a scant 1/4 cup liquid is left, 8–11 minutes—it should be thick with a syrupy consistency. Transfer to a small bowl and chill until cold, about 20 minutes.

  3. For the lemon-hibiscus cream:

    Step 9

    Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream on medium-low speed in a large bowl until very soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low and gently beat in lemon curd, sour cream, and salt. If necessary, continue whipping until soft peaks return. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. chilled hibiscus syrup over whipped cream. Using a spatula, marble syrup throughout cream, creating dark pink streaks rather than a solid pink cream.

  4. Assemble the dessert:

    Step 10

    Divide meringues among 6 dessert plates, then top each with a dollop of lemon-hibiscus cream. Using a fine-mesh strainer, lightly dust top of each pavlova with 1 tsp. reserved ground tea total, if desired, and serve immediately.

Cooks’ Note

Do Ahead:

Meringues can be made up to 3 days in advance and, once cool and completely dry, stored at room temperature in an airtight container. Hibiscus syrup can be made up to 7 days in advance and refrigerated.

__Cooks’ Note:

Leftover hibiscus syrup can be drizzled over yogurt or ice cream, mixed with club soda for a refreshing drink, or incorporated into cocktails.

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