I made this pavlova layer ‘cake’ a few weeks ago. It’s just been sitting here waiting, so very patiently, to be posted. Pavlova. With lemon Curd. And Whipped Cream. And Strawberries. It’s like a fluffy cloud of sweet goodness that melts in your mouth.
Have you ever had pavlova? My first time having pavlova was a few years ago, when I made it. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t GREAT. The flavor was excellent, but the texture was off, I knew I didn’t do something right. Since then I’ve been determined to remake it, and make it perfectly! Let’s get something straight, I am not a perfectionist. But when I know something can be done better, I get it in my head to well, do it better.
Pavlova or meringue, whatever you want to call it is just delicious! It’s light, and fluffy, but crunchy. It’s crunchy on the outside, and pillowy and soft on the inside. The sweet pavlova paired with tart lemon curd, mmmm, delicious!
Besides how delicious the combination is, another reason I love making pavlova with lemon curd, is because 1 element uses the yolk and one uses the white of an egg. So nothing gets wasted. With all of my heart I hate wasting food.
There are essentially 4 elements to this cake:
Pavlova (3 layers)
Fresh berries (I used strawberries, but any berry would be fantastic!)
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten (My go to girl for almost anything and everything)
I used her recipe as a starter, but I increased the amounts because I wanted extra layers of pavlova.
Makes 3-8 inch round disks
Time: 2 1/2 hours
6 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp distilled vinegar
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees F.
*I had my oven preheated around 200 degrees, maybe a little more. So somewhere right around there will work.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on each sheet pan. Draw 8-inch circles on the papers, using an 8-inch plate as a guide (I used a salad plate).
Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high speed until firm, about 1 minute. With the mixer still on high, slowly add the sugar and beat until it makes firm, shiny peaks, about 2 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar and vanilla, and fold in lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile a 1/3 of the meringue into the middle of each circle on the parchment paper and smooth it within the circle, making a rough disk. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven, about 1 hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Invert 1 meringue disk onto a plate and spread the top completely with lemon curd, then whipped cream, then sprinkle with fresh berries. Do this with each layer and top with as many berries as you like. The more the merrier.
Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (you can also use a hand mixer). When it starts to thicken, add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until firm. Don’t over beat or you’ll get butter, not whip cream.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Makes about 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes
6 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 4-5 lemons)
2 tbsps grated lemon zest
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter (1 stick butter), cut into 1/8-in slices
Add about 1 inch of water to a double boiler (or a pot with a heat proof bowl on top) and heat the water over low/medium heat.
Add the bowl with the mixture to the heating water. Stir the mixture constantly with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you stir, until it begins to thicken, and will coat the back of a spoon. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
Whisk in the butter, one slice at a time. Wait until each piece almost disappears before adding the next. Spoon into ca glass bowl (or a mason jar) and allow to cool with a piece of plastic wrap laid on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
Refrigerate until needed. This lemon curd will keep for 2 weeks.