Spiced Pavlovas with Oranges and Mulled Wine Caramel

The first Christmas Food & Wine editor Melanie Hansche celebrated in Bavaria with her Australian husband, he made her Bavarian family a classic Australian pavlova. Even though Bavarians don't tend to eat dessert at the end of a Christmas meal, the lightness and freshness of the fruit and meringue in the pavlova, which balanced the rich, savory dinner that had come before, was a winner. These individual pavlovas represent a mash-up of Hansche's Bavarian and Australian upbringing. In it, the the aromas and ingredients of a Bavarian Christmas markets—glühwein, toasted almonds, spiced cookies—are infused into the components of the classic Australian dessert: a base of sweet, cinnamon-spiced meringue is topped with fresh tangy quark, and crowned with bright citrus and intense mulled wine caramel.

Spiced Pavlovas with Oranges and Mulled Wine Caramel
Photo: Photo by Greg Dupree / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Prissy Lee
Active Time:
1 hrs
Cool Time:
8 hrs
Total Time:
9 hrs 50 mins



  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

  • 1 cup superfine sugar

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar


  • 3 medium navel and/or blood oranges, divided

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup water

  • ¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • Pinch of fine sea salt

  • ½ cup (4 oz.) dry red wine

  • 2 whole star anise, broken

  • 2 (about 3-inch) cinnamon sticks,broken in half

  • 10 whole cloves

Additional Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • cup quark or crème fraîche

  • Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish


Make the pavlovas:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Beat egg whites in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. With mixer running, gradually add superfine sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Stop machine, and scrape down sides of bowl. Beat on high speed until meringue is very thick, about 6 minutes. Stop machine; scrape down sides of bowl. Add cinnamon and vinegar; beat until meringue is glossy and sugar is fully dissolved, about 2 minutes.

  2. Spoon mixture onto prepared baking sheet in 4 even mounds (about 3 3/4 inches round and 1 1/2 inches tall), leaving at least 2 inches between mounds. Using the back of a spoon, form a shallow divot in center of each mound. Transfer baking sheet to oven, and immediately reduce oven temperature to 250°F. Bake pavlovas 50 minutes. Without opening oven door, turn off oven and oven light. Let pavlovas cool completely in oven, at least 8 hours or up to 12 hours.

Make the caramel:

  1. Using a Y-shaped peeler, remove peel from 1 orange in long strips. Following the shape of orange, cut away and discard white pith; reserve orange peel strips and peeled orange. Combine granulated sugar, 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down any sugar crystals that stick to sides of pan using a wet pastry brush. Boil, swirling pan often, until caramel is deep amber in color and registers 380°F on a candy thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully add wine all at once. (Mixture will sputter and bubble vigorously.) Return mixture to heat over medium-low; stir in orange peel strips, star anise, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is syrupy and registers 230°F on a candy thermometer, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool 1 hour.

  2. Slice tops and bottoms from remaining 2 oranges; following the shape of each orange, cut away and discard peel and white pith. Slice peeled oranges, including reserved peeled orange from caramel, into 1/8-inch-thick rounds, half-moons, or supremes, as desired. Set aside.

  3. Place cream in a large bowl; whisk until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently fold in quark. Divide pavlovas among plates, and top evenly with whipped cream mixture. Top with oranges, and drizzle each with 1 to 2 tablespoons caramel. Garnish with almonds.

Make ahead

Cooled pavlovas can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

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