Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lemon Curd Pavlova

For Mother's Day this year my bros. and I made dinner for Mom. There were some crises, some of which were dramatic. Dinner was late, but at least everything was finished pretty much at the same time. I think that we had fun; I know I enjoyed spending this time with my brothers as friends and peers. Thank you, brothers, for your patience, hard work, and good humor! I can see that you are your mother's sons.

Anyway. We made salmon with a maple-ginger glaze; a salad of spinach, grapefruit, and avocado; ginger ale Jell-O (an homage to Mommy cuisine past); a pistachio rice pilaf; and lemon curd pavlova.

Pavlova will not supplant a good cake or pie for deliciousness to me, but I did think it made a fun party dessert. Bang for the buck. Pretty, different, yummy. Nice textural contrasts. Although I'm told some people like their pavlova to sit and turn marshmallow, at first experience, I would suggest eating all your pavlova right away.

The idea for the pavlova came pretty much all from my brain, but my brain of course has zeitgeist influences, and Epicurious had a pavlova recipe which is exactly what I'd dreamed up: lemon curd and berries. I used their meringue, but not their lemon curd, which reviewers complained about. I got that from, but were I too make it again, I'd try harder to find a recipe that used just yolks (to balance using the whites for the meringue). Then I just sugared some raspberries and strawberries and plunked them on top.

Lemon Curd Pavlova


1 c sugar
1 T cornstarch
3 large egg whites, ideally held at room temperature for 30 minutes
3 T cold water
t t vinegar (recipe said distilled white; I used apple cider and liked the flavor)

Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in middle.
Whisk together sugar, cornstarch. Beat whites with a little salt at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add water (whites will loosen); beat until they hold soft peaks again.
Increase speed to medium high and add sugar/starch 1 T at a time. After it's all added, beat 1 minute more.
Add vinegar; beat at high speed until glossy and holding stiff peaks, about 5 minutes or more.
Spread meringue on parchment on a baking sheet; make a nice circle with its edge slightly higher than the center.
Bake until pale golden and with a crust, about 45 minutes.
Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool in oven 1 hour.

Lemon Curd

3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/2 c fresh lemon juice
1/4 c melted butter
1 T grated lemon peel

In the top of a double boiler, beat eggs and sugar. Add lemon juice, butter, and zest. Cook, stirring, over simmering water 15 minutes or until thickened.

Final Assembly:
Spoon (at least partially cooled) curd into the crater of the cooled meringue. Sugar about 4 c of berries and put them on top.

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