A Pretty Though Not Perfect Pavlova
While they can look pretty spectacular, making a Pavlova is not that complicated if you leave enough time. (Photo by Pem McNerney/ The Source)
You can make a lemon curd with the yolks left over from the whites used to make the meringue. Or you can buy store bought lemon curd. Or, switch it up and fill it with freshly whipped cream and berries. A raspberry or strawberry sauce drizzle with a sprig of mint offers a finishing touch. (Photo by Pem McNerney/The Source)
I’ve longtime loved Pavlovas, the feather light meringue concoction that, when made properly, surrounds a slightly chewy marshmallow-y center.
When served, Pavlovas always look so spectacular, usually decked out with some kind of fruit and whipped cream. So I always thought they were complicated to make. Then I watched a video from Chef John, who writes for both allrecipes.com and foodwishes.blogspot.com, and he made it look easy. He had lots of great tips, like to always use good butter (“good people don’t use bad butter”), and to hand-mix it with a whisk instead of with a handheld or stand mixer. Those tips gave me the confidence to give it a try.
It did take a fair amount of time. This recipe, which also includes a lemon curd and blueberry sauce, took about 45 minutes of hands-on time, and a total of about five hours when taking into account the time you leave the Pavlova in the cooling oven. So it’s best to make sure you have that kind of time before you try it out.
But it was so worth it.
I decided to make a raspberry sauce instead of blueberry, because raspberries are so much better than blueberries this time of year, and we added a splash of Chambord just for the fun of it. And I didn’t have cornstarch so I used arrowroot, in a one-to-one substitution, and it worked out just fine.
Making the lemon curd requires a fair amount of patience, and the ability to set up a double boiler arrangement in a way that the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. The homemade lemon curd was good, but store bought would be a suitable and time-saving substitute.
A key piece of equipment is a Silpat, or a silicone baking sheet.
While my finished product was not perfect, sustaining a few cracks after I moved it to the serving plate, it was pretty and left me feeling pretty satisfied with my work. The only thing I would have to disagree about in this recipe is that it yields six servings. While I did, this time, share it with family and friends, I easily could have and happily would have eaten the whole thing. Visit www.allrecipes.com to check out the video, for lots of great tips, and for the recipes for the lemon curd and fruit sauce.
A Pretty Pavlova
Adapted from a recipe by
Chef John on allrecipes.com
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1 cup white sugar
1 pinch cream of tartar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For Serving: Fresh fruit such as raspberries or blueberries, lemon curd, and raspberry or blueberry sauce, and one sprig of fresh mint
Separate four eggs, placing whites in glass, metal, or ceramic bowl. Cover egg whites and leave on the counter to come to room temperature for the meringue. Set yolks aside to make lemon curd or for another use.
Preheat the oven to 250. Line a baking sheet with a silicone liner, such as Silpat. Lightly spray with cooking spray.
Mix cornstarch or arrowroot into sugar and set aside.
Add cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla to the reserved egg whites. Whisk with a large whisk until very soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
Whisk in sugar mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, whisking about 1 minute between each addition, until incorporated. When all sugar mixture has been added, continue to whisk until relatively stiff peaks form and the meringue is firm enough to hold its shape.
Use 2 spoons or a piping bag to transfer meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, forming a ring of dollops about 8 or 9 inches across. Fill in the middle with meringue, then go back around the edges adding more meringue to build up the outside edge.
Bake in the center of the preheated oven for exactly 1 hour. At 1 hour, turn off the oven and crack the door. Let meringue sit in the oven until it is cooled completely, about 1 hour.
Very carefully transfer cooled meringue to a serving platter using 2 large spatulas if necessary; you may get some cracks but that’s okay. Crack the center a bit to make room for the filling, if you want.
Fill the center with chilled lemon curd filling and fruit, if desired. Drizzle with fruit sauce. Garnish with mint.