Preheat oven to 300 and prepare 1 half sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Draw an 8 inch circle on the parchment, then flip the parchment over so the pencil side is down on the half sheet pan.
Next, clean your mixing bowl and whisk with some vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of any oils.
Add the room temperature egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt to the mixing bowl and mix on speed 4 for a 10 speed mixer.
Once soft peaks form, begin adding the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time every 30-60 seconds. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl 4-5 times when adding the sugar so that all of the sugar gets mixed in. If any sugar remains undissolved, this will cause the mini lemon pavlovas to weep.
Mix on speed 4 until stiff peaks form, which takes about 25-35 minutes from start to finish. To test for stiff peaks, lift the whisk attachment out of the bowl and see if the pavlova meringue stands up straight. If not, mix longer until stiff peaks.
Add the cornstarch and lemon juice and mix for about 30 seconds.
Spoon the meringue onto the parchment in the circle, keeping it high.
Gently spread the meringue out to fill the circle and make upward furrows around the sides so that it helps the meringue to rise up and not outward.
Make the top of the pavlova flat or slightly like a bowl.
Place the pavlova in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 250 degrees. Bake for 90 minutes, then turn the oven off, and let the pavlova rest in the oven for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Do NOT open the oven for any reason once the pavlova is in the oven, otherwise it can deflate. Keep the oven closed until the pavlova has baked and cooled completely.
You can make the pavlova a day ahead store it in an airtight container without the toppings, but it is best eaten within 1-2 days.
To Make the Orange Cream
Whip heavy cream until medium stiff peaks form. Add orange zest and mascarpone and mix for 30 seconds.
To Make the Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce
Combine all sauce ingredients in a medium pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until berries easily break down when pressed with the back of a spoon.
Press sauce through a fine mesh strainer to leave pomegranate seeds and cranberry skins behind.
Refrigerate for at least two hours before pouring onto pavlova.
To Assemble the Winter Pavlova
Top the pavlova with orange cream, cranberry pomegranate sauce, fresh pomegranate arils, sugared cranberries, and gingerbread cookies (optional). Add toppings right before serving or within an hour of serving.
Don’t add toppings far in advance, as the toppings make the pavlova dissolve some from the added moisture.
*If you don’t have superfine sugar, pulse granulated sugar in a blender until fine and powdery.