Anna Pavlova, a Russian Ballerina visited and performed in New Zealand in 1926 and in Australia in 1929. Both countries claim to have invented this dessert in Anna's honor. And both countries claim it as their national dish. It traditionally contains both strawberries and kiwi fruit, but I used just strawberries. Why? Because they are in season; also my recipe is not strictly a "Traditional Pavlova". It is more like an upside down lemon meringue pie; without the crust (so it's healthier for you, right?). I added some lemon curd under the cream just because I like lemon curd with strawberries. There is blackberry-raspberry vinegar in my meringue this time. (I did not over-cook the meringue, it's acutally a brownish-pink color). The vinegar adds a nice contrast to the sweetness and a pleasant flavor profile with the berries. Most pavova recipes feature a plain meringue with whipped cream and fruit. I have made many variations of it over the years. I hope you enjoy this version as much as I did.
Press some plastic wrap right onto the curd so it doesn't get a "skin". Let it cool.
Fill the well with lemon curd.
Spoon on the whipped cream and top it with berries
So good. See how my lemon curd is oozing a bit in the photo above? This is because we couldn't wait to cut it. If you chill yours a bit longer the curd will stay put. You might also want to make small individual meringues if you are serving a crowd. They make nice individual portions and easy service.
Austrailians or Kiwis? I don't care who invented it; I'm just glad that they did. Here's my latest version of the recipe...
Lemon Berry Pavlova
Whites from 4 large eggs
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. cornstarch
1 Tab. raspberry or red wine vinegar
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ c. heavy cream
2 Tab. granulated sugar
10 strawberries, cleaned and sliced
1 recipe Lemon Curd (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350 º F.
In a mixer with a whisk, whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla. Whip until stiff, smooth, and glossy, about 8 minutes longer.
Put a Silpat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place a 9-inch template under. Pipe the meringue in a circle, beginning in the middle and working to the outside. Add another layer to the outside of the ring to add height. Bake the circle in the oven for 20 minutes, and then reduce the temp. to 300º F. and bake until the meringue has puffed up and the surface is slighted browned, about another 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and oven the door. Let the Pavlova cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature before filling.
Make the lemon curd. Let it cool.
Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff. Refrigerate until needed.
Spoon the curd into the center well of the Pavlova. Top with whipped cream. Slice the strawberries and arrange them on the top. Slice with a serrated knife to serve.
1 C. granulated sugar
6 large egg yolks
Zest (yellow part only) of 2 lemons
½ C. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
4 Tab. butter, cut into 8 pieces
Wash and zest the lemons. Juice them. In a heavy bottomed, non-reactive (non-aluminum) saucepan, stir the egg yolks and the sugar until dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, on low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. There should be a trail between the curd which doesn’t disappear when you run a clean finger across the back of the spoon. Don’t get impatient. The curd will slowly thicken. Resist the urge to turn up the heat or you might end up with scrambled eggs. Remove from the heat when thick and stir in the butter just until melted. Strain if necessary to remove any lumps. Add the lemon zest.
Cover the curd with a piece of plastic wrap pushed right onto the top of the curd so that it doesn’t get a “skin”. Refrigerate. The curd will thicken more as it cools.
Lemon curd can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks or frozen.