Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Lemon Meringue Pavlovas

Remember that Lemon Curd?  It's the filling in this dessert.

Have you ever eaten a Pavlova?  It's generally accepted that this dessert was invented when a famous Russian ballerina named Anna Pavlova visited New Zealand on a worldwide tour in the late 1920's, (although Australia claims it was invented in their country). It's basically a meringue base with whipped cream and fresh fruit on top.  The filling is put in a day or so early to give it time to soak into the meringue.  The Pavlova is soft and "pillow-y" when served instead of crunchy.  It's a little piece of heaven in my book.

Quite a few years ago, I had to serve luncheon to a very  large group of church women and I was given a tight budge to work with. What dessert do you serve to 90 women when you're on a budget?
It was Easter and eggs were on sale in all of the markets so I decided to make Pavlova.  But Pavlova only uses egg whites and you have egg yolks left over.  With 90 servings, I had A LOT of yolks left over, and what would I do with that many yolks?  So I made lemon curd and made it into a mousse with a smaller amount of whipping cream folded into the curd.

 I stretched that budget quite a bit farther because I needed less whipped cream to fill the meringues.  They turned out delicious!  I served them with a berry sauce made with frozen berries because fresh fruit wasn't in my budget.  I had many, many requests for the recipe.

I made these for a dinner party last week and topped them with fresh berries.  I layered the cream and curd rather than folding it together.  Either technique works and both the sauce or the fresh fruit are equally delicious.
You can also pipe the meringue into one big circle and cut individual wedges but I like to make personal meringues.  The components can be done ahead of time too, which makes these perfect for a crowd.

I think Ms. Pavlova would approve.
  Pipe one circle like this...And then pipe one circle around the outside of this circle to make a cup.
 After baking.
 These meringues can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks.
Personal Lemon Meringue Pavlovas with Berry Sauce
                                                                             Bonnie Barker

6 egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups of white sugar

Preheat oven to 250° F.  
     Whip egg whites on high speed until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and mix well.  Add sugar, 1 Tab. at a time (if you add the sugar to quickly, the weight of it will deflate your meringue).  Once the sugar is incorporated, continue to whip until the egg whites are shiny and hold a very stiff peak.
     Place the meringue in a pastry bag and pipe eight 4 inch circles (I piped 3 1/4 inch).  I draw the circles upside down on parchment paper and then turn it over and pipe the meringues.  
     Bake for 1-2 hours until the meringues are dry and crunchy.  Turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven.
Makes 8 4-inch meringues

Lemon Curd:
2 cups sugar
12 eggs yolks
 1 cup lemon juice
 2 tablespoons lemon zest
½ cup(1 stick) butter, cut in pieces
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract

Wash and zest lemons.  Extract lemon juice.  In a heavy-bottomed, non aluminum pan, stir egg yolks with sugar. Whisk in lemon juice.  Cook on medium-low heat until mixture coats the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and whisk in butter.  Strain through a chinois.  Add lemon zest. 
Cover surface with plastic wrap. 
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 
Can be kept in fridge up to 3 weeks. 

This curd is great to spoon over angel food cake, pound cake, or scones.  Experiment with combinations of fresh citrus juice for variety (do not use bottled lemon juice).  It will keep for up to a week in your refrigerator.

*To make this into the Mousse you will use for the desert you will need:
 1 c. heavy whipping cream

Whip the cream until it is very stiff.  Take about 1/3 cup of cream and carefully fold it into the curd.  Add this to the cream and fold in to lighten the mixture.  Now fold the rest of the cream into the lemon curd being careful not to stir and deflate the cream.

Mixed berry sauce:
1 Tab. butter
3 c. berries
1/2 C. sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg (I grate my own but powdered is fine)
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

     Heat the butter in a large pan until bubbling.  Add the berries and sauté" until they start to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add sugar and juice and cook until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.  Add spices and mix.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Refrigerate.

To assemble:

Place a small dab of curd on the bottom of the meringue to stick it to the bottom of the plate.  It will slide around the plate if you don't. 

Spoon lemon curd into the meringue and drizzle berry sauce over. 

You may want to spoon a small scoop of whipped cream on top and garnish the whole thing with some fresh berries.

You can also pipe one large circle of meringue and cut it into wedges to serve.


  1. Looks delicious! When you pipe the circles of meringue do you add a second layer around the edge to make it a cup? I'm really enjoying the bunny class, looking forward to next week.

  2. Thanks for asking about the circle Jill. I've updated the text to answer your question. I should have been more clear. You do pipe them in a circle and then add just one row around the outside of the first circle to make a cup. They will be like a little bowl for the lemon curd. It was fun to have you in my class. I can't wait to see your completed bunny.

  3. Bonnie, meringues are my favorite! My mother used to make them and we would sell them in bags. With the egg yokes she would make a Brazilian dessert called Quindin, in individual paper cups, so we could sell them, too. Just last week I bought a bag of meringues and ate it before I got home (no, I did not want to share them...). I must try this recipe - I have the berries now. However, how do I keep from eating all the meringues before I fill and serve them? :-)

  4. Ok, you stirred up my cooking bucket list again with homemade lemon curd! I know, I know, I need to get off the stick and try it! It looks wonderful and I am sure I will never go back to being lazy and buying it!
    Your meringues are so beautifully piped. What a lovely dessert! Yes, they do stretch us - cooking for church on teeny, tiny budgets. These would be wonderful and I am sure they were all oohing and aahing!

  5. wow these look amazing I had them growing up in the UK

  6. Wow! Impressive! I had this delicious dish when I visited Australia. Our sweet Aussie friends cooked us minted lamb and delicious Pavlova. I think they DID tell us that the Australians invented it! Ha ha!

  7. Oh goodness! I love Pavlova and lemon curd. What a perfect combo, especially as individual dessert cups. You're a genius! Thanks for sharing your idea.

  8. Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back

    here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table,but am just taking in as

    much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.

    Mango Drinks

  9. A woman in our new ward taught a class on how to make pavlova last summer. It was surprising to me how simple it is to make! She decorated with blueberries and strawberries (one of the two) for 4th of july. So beautiful, light and simple. I love your minis!

  10. Bonnie, I love these personal pavlovas! I can't believe you did 90 of them. You are quite the Relief Society woman! I really need to make some of them. I have made curd, but it turned out too eggy. I am sure your recipe is better. This dessert just sings of spring. I should not complain because winter basically missed us in our little pocket :).

  11. Yours are so beautiful! I've eaten pavlova before and loved it, but haven't made it since I'm not good with egg whites. The meringues I make rarely turn out stiff enough to pipe and stay in place.