Pavlova with Grapefruit Curd & Cocoa Nibs

pavlova with grapefruit curd and cocoa nibs

Dreamy clouds of sweet meringue combine with the bracing flavor of grapefruit in this ethereal dessert. Pavlova was named after a Russian ballerina. We imagine the loft of a fluffy tutu was the inspiration behind the original dessert. Pavlova is practically the national dish of Australia and New Zealand, where it’s often made with passionfruit or berries. Here, we embrace seasonal winter citrus, playing with super tart flavors of cocoa nibs and whipped Mexican sour cream.

Serves 6



A dry day is always a good day for meringue, and it will be best if made the day of serving. If it’s rainy where you are, make the meringue 2-3 hours before serving. Cornstarch and the marshmallow-y, soft center of this meringue is the difference between it and a classic French meringue, which is crisp.

  • 1cup sugar
  • 1tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3large egg whites
  • 2tablespoons cold water
  • 1teaspoon white vinegar
  • 3tablespoons cocoa nibs, finely chopped (optional)
  • Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Heat the oven to 275 degrees.
  • 2
  • In the very clean bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, cornstarch, and egg whites until they form soft peaks. Run the machine on low as you drizzle in the water and vinegar. Turn the heat to high, beat until stiff peaks form.
  • 3
  • Spread the mixture onto the lined sheet pan in a 10-inch circle and sprinkle with cocoa nibs. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the outside is crusty and the center is still a bit soft. Turn the oven off, prop the door open slightly, and let the meringue cool in the oven.

Grapefruit Curd

The key to the curd is not to boil it (which will scramble the eggs). Once the eggs are added to the pan, take special attention to be sure the curd does not boil, removing the pan from the stove if necessary. The curd can be made 3 days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

  • 3large egg yolks
  • 2large eggs
  • 1cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, strained
  • 1tablespoon white vinegar
  • 5tablespoons unsalted butter (2.5 ounces)
  • 12cup sugar (3.5 ounces)
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2grapefruits
  • 34cup Mexican sour cream (Crema Mexicana Agria) or heavy cream
  • Set a fine strainer over a medium bowl, set aside. Lightly beat the yolks and eggs together in a medium bowl until lightened in color and uniform, set aside. Simmer the grapefruit juice in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until reduced to 12 cup.
  • 2
  • Add the next five ingredients into the juice, whisk to combine. Allow the mixture to return to a simmer, whisking constantly. Continue to simmer for 1 minute more, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is uniform. Whisk the grapefruit mixture into the bowl of beaten eggs. Return the mixture to the pan, turn heat to low, and continue to whisk for about 2 minutes, until the curd begins to thicken.
  • 3
  • Transfer the curd to the strainer right away to stop the cooking. Use a rubber spatula to press the curd through the strainer. Press parchment paper to the surface of the curd. Allow the mixture to cool before refrigerating. The curd will stiffen as it chills.
  • 4
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the pith and skin off the grapefruit, discard. Work over a bowl and cut the segments of flesh, letting them drop into the bowl, which will fill with juice as you work. Remove any seeds. Cut the segments in half.
  • 5
  • Transfer the meringue to a serving platter. Beat the cream in an electric mixer on high until soft peaks form. Dollop the cream on top of the meringue. Top with cooled grapefruit curd, and place grapefruit segments on top. Serve right away.