For Easter this year, I decided to try out a recipe from Gourmet Magazine. We already had a chocolate dessert in the works so I wanted something a bit lighter. I came across a recipe for Pavlova with lemon curd and berries and decided to give it a shot. The original recipe can be found in the April 2009 edition of Gourmet on page 86. I, however, have some tiny changes to the recipe that I want to share with you that I think will produce an even better pavlova. If you don't know what a pavlova is, you're not alone. I was clueless until a friend made it for us awhile back. Basically, a pavlova is a bed of baked meringue that has some sort of custard or sauce on top and then berries on top of that. It's light and sweet and perfect for the summer. Below is my version of the Gourmet Pavlova.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch (mix this in with the sugar before you begin)
3 large egg whites room temperature (save the yokes for the filling)
1 tsp white vinegar (I used coconut vinegar, not sure if it made a difference or not)
2/3 cup granulated
1 Tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 1/2 lemons)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 large lightly beaten egg yokes
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups mixed berries (I used strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
Making the meringue:
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Using a piece of parchment paper, trace the face of a plate or cake platter that you plan to put the pavlova on. A regular dinner plate would make a good size. Beat together the salt and egg whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks. Next add the water and beat until the egg whites hold soft peaks again. Next, on medium-high speed slowly add in the sugar and beat 1 more minute. Lastly, turn to high speed and beat in the vinegar until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks (this takes approx. 5 minutes). Once done, spread the meringue out on the parchment paper in the size of the circle you traced, mounding up the sides more than the middle to create a place for the berries to lay. Bake in the oven about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, turn the oven off and prop the door ajar and let the meringue cool inside for an hour.
Make the lemon curd while the meringue is cooling:
stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-qt heavy saucepan. Next add the lemon juice and butter. Bring to a simmer and whisk constantly for about a minute. Mix in 1/4 of this mixture with the egg yolks. Take the mixed yolks and pour them into the saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thick (about 2 minutes). Don't let curd boil. After 2 minutes transfer the curd to a bowl and mix in the lemon zest. Cover the surface of curd with plastic wrap or parchment paper and let cool in fridge for about an 1 1/2 hours.
Beat the heavy cream until it holds still peaks, then fold it into the lemon curd. Spoon lemon curd into the meringue and mound the berries on top.
You can eat the pavlova right away but from my own experience it tastes better if you refrigerate covered overnight. The meringue becomes more marshmallowy and the flavors have time to blend.