Monday, June 14, 2010

Lemon Curd Cream Pavlovas with Strawberries

This recipe has been staring at me for a while, but the stars never seem to align to make it.  I'm always low on something, but after entirely too much time of not baking for fun, I decided it was time to change that and dedicate an evening to relaxation and cooking.  Thankfully it was also relatively cool today so leaving my oven on for hours on end didn't matter too much!

I scaled down the pavlovas to only make 2 because I was low on eggs, but left the full amount of lemon curd.  (Scaled recipe is included below.)  The lemon curd is divine and I'm sure you can find more uses for it, so don't worry about having extra.  I wasn't sure what to expect from making this, but it was delicious and definitely worth the time.  Light and airy, it's a taste of summer.  I should never even question this blog when it comes to desserts, I should just make them.

Lemon Curd Cream Pavlovas with Strawberries (from Desserts for Breakfast)

for meringue:
2 egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 Tbspn corn starch, sifted
2/3 tspn white vinegar
2/3 tspn vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment (or realize that you're out, curse, and just grease a sheet well).
2. Begin whipping the egg whites on low until they become foamy.  Then, increase speed to medium-high, gradually adding the superfine sugar.  Beat until glossy stiff peaks.
3. Whisk in the corn starch, vinegar, and vanilla extract, being careful not to overmix.
4. Spoon the meringue onto the sheet, shaping the meringues with spoons for your desired size.  Make an indent with the back of a spoon on top of each meringue (this recipe should make 2).
5. Place the meringues in the preheated oven.  Immediately lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F and bake for an hour to an hour and a half, until the outside of the meringues are dry.  Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool inside the oven. 

for lemon curd cream:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 large egg
pinch of salt
3 Tbspn unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
zest of one lemon, freshly grated
1 cup heavy whipping or manufacturing cream, cold
2 Tbspn powdered sugar

1. Prepare a fine mesh strainer over a bowl.
2. In a pan over low heat (or you can use a double boiler, but that seemed a bit much for tonight!), whisk together the lemon juice, sugar, egg yolk, egg, salt, and cut butter.  Cook until the butter is completely melted and the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (patience!!).
3. Remove the lemon curd from heat and strain through the prepared sieve.  Mix in the freshly grated lemon zest.  Allow the curd to cool completely.
4. In a chilled bowl, whip the cream just until stiff peaks form.  Whisk in the powdered sugar and then quickly fold in the cooled lemon curd, being careful not to overmix.  Use immediately.

for assembly:
strawberries, hulled and chopped
vanilla sugar (I just used regular sugar)
lemon juice

1. Place the chopped strawberries in a bowl.  Sprinkle lightly with vanilla sugar and lemon juice and mix to combine.  Let sit for a few minutes (or in the refrigerator for few hours, if you want to make this ahead of time.)
2. Top each meringue with a generous helping of lemon curd cream and macerated strawberries.

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