There is much to love about Australia and New Zealand and this sweet perfection is right at the top of my list! I ran across this recipe, originally on Chowhound, while doing my Sunday Pinterest worship. Having two girlfriends for dinner was the perfect time to try it out but I did not have enough time to make everything from scratch so I modified the recipe from the original, to one that is fast and fabulous. If you love lemon meringue pie you will likely substitute this from now on. Here is the result…
To make the Pavlova (meringue shell)
4 large egg whites at room temperature
Pinch of fine salt
1 c. sugar
2 t. cornstarch
1 t. distilled white vinegar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
Place the egg whites and salt in the very clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a clean, dry whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until the whites begin to lighten in color and only small bubbles remain, about 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and very slowly add the sugar in a thin, continuous stream. Whisk until firm, shiny peaks form, resembling marshmallow crème (this is the meringue), about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the cornstarch through a fine-mesh strainer into the meringue. Drizzle with the vinegar and vanilla and fold them into the meringue with a rubber spatula until no streaks of vanilla remain, being careful not to deflate the whites. Using the rubber spatula, pile the meringue into the center of a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Smooth out into a 9-10″ round circle about an inch thick. Bake until the meringue is firm to the touch but slightly soft in the middle, at 250 degrees for about 60 minutes. The meringue will be a very light brown. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Run a thin metal spatula under the meringue to loosen and transfer, if you like, to a decorative plate or cake stand.
Here is the part you can play with. The original recipe called for whipping heavy cream and making your own lemon curd. I don’t think you get better results than if you do it my easy way. I had a can of whipping cream and a jar of Dickinson’s Lemon Curd. You will find this in the baking section, or with jams and jellies.
I just sprayed and good bit of the cream in a bowl and swirled in about 1/2 a jar of the curd (use more if you like!). You want to see the swirls. If the curd is too thick to blend, you can soften a few seconds in the microwave. I am sure you could use Cool Whip too and probably a portion of Greek Yogurt if you wanted to make it a bit healthier. Right before serving, top the pavlova with the cream and dress with plenty of berries….I mean they should cover the surface. Raspberries and blueberries go so well with the lemon. If you prefer a saucier fruit topping do this:
Boil a small box of raspberries with 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. water until syrupy. Place in food processor with 1 c. raspberry jam and if you like, 2 T. Raspberry Liqueur. Process until blended, toss with fruit and top over the cream.
This whole thing comes together with a crisp and spongy shell, creamy rich topping and the freshness of fruit. I think this is the perfect Mother’s Day treat and she will think you worked all day!