Pavlova with lemon curd, berries and whipped cream
Pavlova is an iconic Australian dessert and you find it on menus everywhere, not to mention every self respecting bakery. Traditional pavlova is a meringue base, crisp on the outside, marshmallowy inside, topped with cream and berries. Modern chefs have altered the presentation and you find it served in various ways. My favourite pavlova at a bakery was at Flour and Stone in Wooloomooloo in Sydney and one of the best restaurant pavlovas was at Matt Moran restaurant Chiswick at the beautiful Art Museum of NSW also in Sydney. See images below.
I must admit that making a meringue is not the simplest undertaking. It’s easy enough to whip the egg whites but the baking can be tricky and baking times can vary substantially from one meringue or one oven to the next. I hope this doesn’t deter you from making this lovely dessert though. It really doesn’t matter if the colour of the meringue is white or more creamy and who cares if it cracks a bit? (a sign that it cooled too fast). I try to make the meringue the day before, this way it has time to dry out a bit more.
Once you master making a meringue it lends itself to a few lovely creations and endless experimentation. I’d say go for it. What can happen?
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup lemon curd (can use a store bought jar)
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.
Place egg whites in a stand mixer and whip until soft peaks form.
Begin adding the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, until the meringue is shiny and holds stiff peaks when whisk is held upside down.
Sift the cornflour over and fold it in gently with a spatula without deflating the egg whites.
With the spatula transfer the meringue to the baking sheet creating a 10″ circle. It doesn’t have to be smooth and even, a meringue is nice when it has a few irregularities. You can smooth it a bit with the spatula.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 1/2 h. After an hour reduce oven temperature to 180°F.
The meringue is ready when the outside is dry and the inside is marshmallowy soft. It should come off the baking sheet easily. If not, let it dry more.
Remove from the oven and let cool completely
Whip the cream until thick creamy.
Place the lemon curd in a bowl and whisk to aerate a bit. Add about a cup of whipped cream and mix to a light mixture.
When the meringue is cooled peel off the parchment and place on a cake dish.
Spread lemon curd over all the way to the edges.
Spoon whipped cream over the lemon curd.
Scatter plenty of berries over the whipped cream.
Garnish with flowers or micro herbs.
Passion fruit meringue at Chiswick, Matt Moran’s restaurant at the Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, Australia
Flour and stone bakery Rose Petal Meringue, Wooloomooloo, Sydney.