Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Mixed Berries




From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is one of my favorite seasonal desserts and I make it several times each summer. Pavlova is a light meringue dessert that is usually topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. This airy dish was named after Anna Pavlova, a Russian prima ballerina who toured Australia and New Zealand in the late 1920's. The dessert was created in her honor and I'm told it is still wildly popular in those countries. A well-made Pavlova has a crackly crisp crust and a soft marshmallow interior that makes it a perfect base to hold a creamy filling and seasonally fresh fruit. The version I'm featuring today is based on a recipe that first appeared in Gourmet magazine. It differs slightly from more classical preparations in that it uses lemon curd to fill the shell on which the berries rest. The combination of sweet and tart is irresistibly delicious, but because this is a meringue dessert, some care must be taken when assembling it. The eggs should be at room temperature if you want to achieve maximum volume and the meringue should be baked at a low temperature to achieve a light crust, while still retaining a soft marshmallow interior. The meringue should dry in the oven and as it does, it will crack. The shell is very fragile, and while the recipe developers say it can be frozen, I wouldn't count on being able to do that. That crackly crisp crust also crumbles. The tartness of the lemon curd is a perfect foil for the sweetness of the berries and meringue shell and the yin and yang nature of this dessert is close to perfect. The only caution I have to share with you regards the appearance of the Pavlova. In my kitchen, anyway, it is unpredictable and can range from stunning to something best described as a hot mess. I live in a generally damp climate that probably explains the variance, but the inconsistency prevents me from telling you that this dessert makes my socks go up and down. It is, however, really, really, really good and I know you will love its play of flavors. This deserves to be tried. Here's the recipe.

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Mixed Berries ...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

Ingredients:
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
Lemon Curd
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
Topping
1-1/2 cups heavy cream, divided use
4 cups mixed berries

Directions:
1) To make meringue: Place a rack in center of oven and preheat to 300 degrees F. Trace a 7-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Turn parchment over and put on a baking sheet.Whisk superfine sugar and cornstarch together 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.
2) To 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.
3) To assemble: Beat heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold 1/2 cup beaten cream into curd to lighten. Spoon lemon curd into meringue and mound berries on top. Serve remaining whipped cream on the side.

Cooks' notes:
•For best results, keep oven door closed as much as possible during baking.
•Meringue can be made 2 days ahead and frozen, wrapped well in plastic. Thaw before serving.
•Curd can be made 2 days ahead and chilled.









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34 comments:

J e l e n a said...

I made Eton mess the other day, and it is essentially a Pavlova in a bowl but an English dessert. I never seen a recipe using water in the egg whites. One very easy, lovely and delicious recipe.

Pondside said...

Pavlova is one of our favourite summer desserts - just about any soft fruit works, but berries are best!

Alessandra said...

Ciao Mary, yes I can confirm that it is still a popular dessert here in NZ (although I very rarely make it, too sweet for me) mostly topped with cream and kiwi fruit and strawberries. I am glad that you recipe is true to the name pavlova, I saw too many pavlova recipes in blogosphere that look like gigantic smooth white meringues, and not like pavlovas, so well done!

Ciao
Alessandra

Hovkonditorn said...

What a lovely dessert and refreshing with lemon curd and berries!

Angie's Recipes said...

wow Mary, this palova looks so gorgeous with the mixed summer berries.

What's Baking?? said...

This is an ultimate dessert. Look at all the berries on it! Wow.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I LOVE this type meringue desserts... and lemon... and fresh fruit! Sounds like a Perfect Bite. blessings ~ tanna

decocinasytacones said...

Pavlovas are our favourite summer dessert..obviously merengue is always welcomed in our house.
Love from Spain
Marialuisa

Kathy said...

Mary, This looks marvelous! I have always wanted to make a pavlova! You have inspired me!

Martha said...

I've never made this but it's on my "to try" list. Yours looks so beautiful and I like the lemon curd in there. Happy Sunday!

Vicki Bensinger said...

Your Pavlova looks beautiful. I agree with you, my favorite way to serve it is with lemon curd as well however sometimes I just use whipped cream and berries. Either way they never last long in my home. Very pretty!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Mmmm that is so mouth watering. Have a good week. Diane

Buttercup said...

Perfect summer dessert...berries and lemon and meringue!

Big Dude said...

I've never heard of this but it looks and sounds delicious. Bev has made a couple of lemon curd pies lately topped with our fresh blueberries and whipped cream and we both really like it, so I know we'd love this.

my diary said...

nice post thanks for sharing i found your blog thrue other followers...looking for to visit more...blessings across the miles..

Ciao Chow Linda said...

This is so delicious any time of year, especially in the summer when all those berries are abundant.

Jane said...

I adore lemon curd ... all the fresh fruit looks so good!

David said...

Mary, This is just a beautiful dessert! The combination of the fresh berries with the lemon and meringue is hard to beat... Thanks for the recipe! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Jeannie Tay said...

I love pavlova and had baked a couple already, your variation with the lemon curd sounds lovely!

Dixie said...

This look phenomenal! I've never had this dessert before but I love berries and merengue. The first time I had merengue was with my uncle in Belgium, so it brings back good (tasty) memories. Lovely!

bellini said...

I finally made a pavlova last year for the first time. Love all the seasonal berries on top!

Lilli said...

it looks so good!:) kisses!

The Café Sucré Farine said...

This is beautiful and would be on my top list of desserts! I love the lemon curd with the pavolva, what a great way to use the yolks as well as the whites of the egg, perfect!

Ratolinha said...

É uma das minhas sobremesas favoritas. Adoro!!!
beijos

Daniela said...

You know that I never made ​​this dessert, the Pavlova is your perfect and irresistible, I can not wait to try it. Daniela a hug.

Anna C said...

Mary, your Pavlova is absolutely gorgeous...the perfect summer dessert.

Ellen B Cookery said...

I think this is a perfect dessert. I love the berries!

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Years ago, Dave had Pavlova for the first time in Scotland. I always meant to make it and never have. Now is the time, especially with those yummy summer berries. Thanks, Mary.

Kim Garceau said...

When there is crunch and lemon, I'm in. I never made any pavlovas, but your makes me want to try for sure...

mia xara said...

Delicious and light dessert, Mary, the presentation is beautiful!Very appropriate for a hot summer day! XO

Joanne said...

I've actually nev had a pavlova but I love all lemony desserts, especially if lemon curd is involved!

My Little Space said...

Oh my, I am 100% SOLD here! Your pavlova looks so pretty.
Kristy

Poornima Nair said...

Love the berries on top. Ive been wanting to try pavlovas for such a long time, this looks super delicious!

Tender B. said...

Lemon curd absolutely needs to be paired with berries. Awesome!

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