Pavlova is a meringue based dessert named for a Russian ballerina. The crisp meringue shell is usually filled with whipped cream and fruit. This strawberry lemon pavlovas are filled with lightened lemon curd and sliced strawberries – a perfect summer dessert that uses the delicious berries at the market right now!
The Recipe (for meringue shells)
by volume by weight
4 large egg whites 200 grams egg whites
pinch of salt pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar 149 grams sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch 27 grams cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla 8 grams vanilla
Heat the oven to 180F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they are foamy.
Gradually add the sugar while continuing to whip the egg whites. Whip until stiff shiny peaks form.
Add the cornstarch and vanilla and beat just to combine. Spoon large dollops of the meringue several inches apart on the parchment paper.
Use the tip of a spoon to shape the meringue into shells. Create a deep depression in the middle to hold the filling.
Bake the meringues for 1½ hours. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for another hour. Keep the door closed! The meringues will be crispy on the edges and still a bit soft in the middle. That’s what you want!
Peel the paper carefully off the back of the meringues.
Make half the recipe of lemon curd from the building blocks section of the recipe file and let cool completely. Mix the cool lemon curd with 1 cup of whipped cream.
Place sliced strawberries in the bottom of each meringue shell and cover completely with the lightened lemon curd.
Garnish as desired with strawberries.
There is an endless variety of ways these pavlovas can be prepared depending on the season and your personal taste. If you want the lemon taste to be stronger then don’t mix the lemon curd with whipped cream — just use it straight. In that case you would need to make a full recipe of curd. Alternatively, if you don’t care for lemon, simply fill the meringue shell with whipped cream and top with berries. Pastry cream also makes a great filling, lightened or otherwise. Orange or lime curd also work nicely. Use a single type of berry or use a mix. Diced tropical fruits would also be an excellent choice.
Or make these pavlovas as a single, large dessert. Trace an 8 or 9 inch circle on a piece of parchment ( a dinner plate is very helpful here! ) and use that as a guide to make a larger shell.
Because these meringues are not completely crisp and dry throughout they will not keep well. The moisture will redistribute itself and they will become sticky. They can be made several hours ahead – just be sure to make them on the same day you plan to serve them!