Berry Pavlova with Lemon Curd

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I hope everyone had a nice sunny and relaxing holiday weekend.  It seems everyone is wearing white pants now (I saw a couple people cheating before Easter) so I’m assuming so!

I spent the weekend with friends eating all sorts of Springtime meals. From a most delicious Harissa Butterflied Chicken, to Beet Salad with Tahini Dressing – and this most splendid Berry Pavlova with Lemon Curd.  This dessert takes several hours to make (which provides a great excuse not to go to the gym after a wild Friday night) but is fairly simple and fun. I love working with egg whites – they look much more complicated and are so silky once whipped to perfection.

This dessert is light, airy and has a nice crunch. It will certainly impress friends. Take the leap and test the meringue!

Berry Pavlova with Lemon Curd, Gourmet Magazine 2009

For meringue:

  • 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For filling:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups mixed berries

Preparation

Make meringue:
Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in middle. Trace an approximately 7-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Turn parchment over and put on a baking sheet.

Whisk together superfine sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.

Beat whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add water (whites will loosen) and beat until whites again hold soft peaks.

Increase speed to medium-high and beat in sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.

Add vinegar and beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes (longer if using hand-held mixer).

Gently spread meringue inside circle on parchment, making edge of meringue slightly higher than center (the “crater” is for curd and fruit). Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes (inside will still be marshmallow-like).

Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven 1 hour.

Make Lemon curd while meringue bakes:
Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then add lemon juice and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup lemon mixture, then whisk into remaining lemon mixture in saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened, about 2 minutes (do not let boil). Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest. Chill, surface covered with parchment, until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.

Assemble Pavlova:
Beat heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold 1/4 cup beaten cream into curd to lighten. Spoon lemon curd into meringue and mound berries on top. Serve remaining whipped cream on the side.

 

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