After we sat in on Gale Gand's demo of a Pavlova, I was inspired to try making one myself though I've never even tasted one before (or even heard of a Pavlova for that matter). I started looking around on the internet and realized pavlovas were everywhere! Who knew they were so popular? I jumped on the pavlova-mania bandwagon this weekend and I think it turned out pretty well. For the meringue I used Gale Gand's recipe, but used the Gourmet magazine's lemon curd recipe as the cream topping. I think the lemon curd is out of this world!
Meringue (Gale Gand)
1/2 cup egg whites, at room temperature (from about 4 eggs)
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar or red wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer), whip the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt in a clean, dry bowl until foamy. Add the granulated sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla and continue whipping until stiff, smooth and glossy, about 8 minutes more. On a sheet of parchment paper cut to fit a sheet pan, use a pencil to draw or trace a circle 9-inches in diameter. Line the sheet pan with the parchment, pencil side down (you should still be able to see the circle). Spoon the egg whites into the circle, using the back of the spoon to smooth the top and sides of the disk. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake until the meringue has puffed up and cracked on the top and the surface is lightly browned to the color of cafe au lait, about 45 minutes more. Turn off the oven, prop the oven door open, and let the pavlova cool in the oven at least 30 minutes, to room temperature. This ensures a gradual cooling, which protects the delicate meringue.
Lemon Curd (Gourmet April 2009)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 fresh lemon juice
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup heavy cream
Make Lemon curd while meringue bakes:
Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-qt heavy saucepan, then add lemon juice and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup lemon mixture, then whisk into remaining lemon mixture in saucepan. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened, about 2 minutes (do not let boil). Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest. Chill, surface covered with parchment, until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.
To assemble, place the curd on top of the Pavlova and add your favorite fruits and toppings
** Personal note, I think you can safely cut out 25% of the sugar in both recipes and still have a knock out dessert.