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Easy Mini Pavlovas with Meyer Lemon Curd

May 20, 2016


My dad’s very favorite dessert was Lemon Meringue Pie. When I was little, he would regularly come home from the grocery store with one, and we always served it on his birthday.

So I think it may be a little nod to him that made me want to try to combine these flavors in the gorgeous Pavlova dessert. This is so beautiful I would make it on those grounds alone, but it also happens to be weak-in-the-knees good, with the intense, sharp but sweet Meyer Lemon flavor in the curd mixing with the sweet, light as air, soft but crunchy meringue.

But the best part? In scouring the web to find out how I wanted to make these I found ridiculously easy ways to make BOTH the curd and the pavlova. Like the universe just wanted me to find and share the quickest route to this deliciousness.

I wanted to find something to celebrate the seasonal Meyer Lemons, which are sweeter then normal lemons since they are a cross between a lemon and a clementine, resulting in a strong, sour & sweet citrus symphony.


You can follow this recipe with regular lemons too, and any type of lemon curd is so good on its own – in cookies, cream puffs, slathered on toast.


Many recipes have you carefully tempering the eggs so they don’t curdle. But this version lets you melt a stick of butter in a pot, and then let it cool to lukewarm temperature before you add in the egg yolks.

The rest of the ingredients you just whisk together in a bowl, then pass it through a strainer into the butter/egg yolk mixture. (I should mention that I left to go take kids to sports RIGHT AT THIS STEP. That is how easy this recipe is.)

Then (after you have come back from sports ) you just stir this mixture over low heat, continuously, for 5-8 minutes until it coats your spatula. And then you stick it in an ice bath, and it thickens into glorious, heavenly curd.


The chef who came up with this easy Meyer Lemon Curd recipe wants me to link to his website rather than share the recipe. So I will do just that because he totally deserves a Peace Prize or James Beard something, people. Check it out and give him some love.

For the Pavlovas, I also found another website that offered a super easy, one-step way of making them. The Irish American Mom shares her childhood in Ireland and love of food on her blog, and happily this includes her speedy Pavlovas.


This desert was named after the Russian Ballet Dancer, Anna Pavlova, who was world famous and traveled all around the globe. Some accounts have that it was developed in New Zealand, and it is certainly very popular in New Zeleand and Australia. It is light and fluffy, just like her dancing.

You start by putting egg whites and sugar in a bowl, then add the rest of the ingredients, followed by 1/4 cup of boiling hot water (she attributes this to being the secret ingredient that allows you to make 1-step Pavlovas.) You beat these for 7-10 minutes (so much easier with a stand mixer FYI) until it forms into thick, shiny white peaks.


While this is mixing, prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper, and using a cup, draw 6 2-3 inch circles.

IMG_8827Then turn the sheet over so the circles still show through but the meringue mixture won’t touch the pen or pencil. Drop the meringue onto each circle, and using the back of a spoon, form it into nests by pushing from the center out until a well has formed. Be careful not to make the bottom of the well too thin on the bottom.


Then bake for 1 hour, making sure you don’t open the door during cooking. After they are done, turn off the oven and crack open the door, letting them cool inside the oven.

At this point, Pavlovas are traditionally filled with whipped cream and fruit, but these were fated to be paired with the delicious Meyer Lemon Curd. You can decorate with any fruit you like, but strawberries and berries go particularly well, as do mint leaves. IMG_8893


These desserts are great for a crowd since they are dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. (Sorry friends with egg allergies, eggs are pretty essential to this dessert).

Happy Eating!

xoxo Katie

Easy Meyer Lemon Curd recipe here

Easy Mini Pavlovas (Printer Version Here):


4 large egg whites

1 ¼ cups sugar

1 t. pure vanilla extract

1 T. cornstarch

2 t. cream of tartar

1 t. White vinegar

4 T. boiling water


Preheat oven to 250.

Separate the egg whites and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, then the vanilla, white vinegar, cream of tartar and cornstarch. Then Add 4 T. boiling water. (Irish American mom believes it is the secret to these one-step pavlovas.)

Set the mixer beating and while you are waiting prepare the baking sheets. (If using a hand mixer, prepare trays before beating the meringue.)

Line 2 cooking sheets with parchment paper, and using a cup that is 2 or 3 inches in diameter, make 6 circles on each tray for a total of 12. Turn the paper upside down so the pen or pencil doesn’t touch the meringue mixture – you’ll still see them.

Beat the mixture until it becomes very thick, and the egg white forms stiff, glossy peaks.

Spoon mixture onto premade circles. Then using the back of a large spoon, form them into little nests, working from the center out to the edges, taking care not leave the bottom too thin or it will burn.

Bake for 60 minutes at 250, then reduce heat to 225 for an additional 30 minutes. Then turn off the oven, and open the door slightly and allow them to cool in the oven. This helps them to create a crispy outer crust (I didn’t do this and mine were a little chewy but I didn’t mind, I still thought they were delicious.) Don’t cool them in the fridge.

After they are cooled, decorate with whipped cream, fruit, or Lemon Curd.
For One Large Pavlova: Instead of making 12 mini circles, just use a dinner plate to make one large circle, and spread into one big nest.

Pavlova Recipe from









Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars

July 24, 2013


Ok, back in June I was lamenting summer’s busy-ness in contrast to the lazy, slow days of living it is supposed to be (I was reading a lot of Shauna Niequist, who loves summer and spends a month in Michigan on a lake. This post is on how she ranks Fall as her 4th favorite season because it is the end of summer).

Well, since then we have gone to the Cape, had a cookout with friends (so excited to have a visit from my old friend Shannon and her girls), attended a luau party, and had two glorious days of swimming at Grandpa’s beach on Lake Winnisquam (next to Lake Winnipesaukee). And this weekend we are going up for a long stay at our condo in North Conway, NH in the White Mountains, where we will jump off big rocks into the rivers and fish and hike. And before the kids head back to school we will take a long weekend in mid-coast Maine, eating lobsters and swimming in the chilly ocean, so excited.

So I am liking summer at the moment.  Especially when THESE bars are around:

Lemon Blueberry Crumb Bars.

I spent a slow, lazy morning making 2 batches with the girls, and we brought them to all of our summer events last weekend.  They are like Lemon Bars + Cheesecake + Blueberry Pie.  Just ridiculously good. My husband tasted one and said, ‘what are these devil bars that you made?’.

They are super easy too.  You just take Yellow Cake Mix, add an egg and a melted stick of butter, and stir it together.  You lay 2/3 down for the crust and reserve the other 1/3 for the crumb topping.  Then you mix 2 packages of cream cheese, the zest and juice of 1 lemon (give or take) another egg and 1/2 c. of sugar.  Blend these together and they = Cheesecake. Lay that over the crust, then add 2 1/2  cups of blueberries (or a pint like I did, which is all I had) and then the crumb topping and bake at 350 for almost an hour.

(This was all from memory – like I said, super easy. Here is the printer version of the recipe from Kraft’s Website).

Hope these yummy treats add a nice change to your BBQ/Pot Luck/Picnic Basket rotation.

How do you rank summer on your favorite seasons list? I love fall. It is for sure my 1st favorite season, but I might have to tie it with spring.  And I love skiing, so winter and summer might be tied for #2. But the in between times, when the newness of a season edges in on the one that has run its course, might be my favorite times of all.

Happy summer,

xoxo Katie

p.s. Thanks for visiting, Shannon!! We loved hanging with you and your girls!!

Summer Inspiration

July 10, 2013


One of the things I love about cooking and writing is there is always, always more to learn, and new ways to be inspired.

We just took a trip to visit my husband’s college friends on Cape Cod, Matt and Heather, and they are super smart scientists who used to live in Oregon.  They love good food and they are wonderfully healthy, very inspirational. Case in point: I turned around to see Matt straining what looked like cheese or yogurt from one jar to another.  “Are you making your own mozzarella?” I asked (a dream of mine to try one day for the record). “Kefir,” replied Matt. He was making his own kefir. 

That is a first for me, but if you are reading this and have made some yourself, complete with your own colony of bacteria in a little cartalidge-y ball that you talk about like they are house guests, color me impressed. And when Heather was laying on the hammock one morning I thanked her for the amazing breakfast of whole grain waffles and mangos, and she said “Oh, you’re welcome. I was actually just lying here thinking about dinner.” Girl after my own heart. Love those kinds of people.

Maybe it was vacation, maybe it was the people we were visiting, or maybe it was just summer itself, but I left feeling very inspired. Here is a short list of what is making me so happy right now:

1. Time With Family – I know it is cheesy, but nothing fills you up like each other. We had an overnight in Boston before we left for the Cape, and since that is where my husband and I worked and met and dated and fell in love, it was surprisingly moving and connected us to our old selves, so nice after baby.  We took the kids to the Children’s Museum and Fanueil Hall, and showed them where we worked, then to the Aquarium.  Going to try to drink in my kids, at these ages, and my husband, who gets to slow down a bit in the summer.

2.  Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist – I have been reading this author’s blog and this book while I feed the baby.  It is about how food connects us in a deep way, not only because it nourishes us but the act of sharing it creates some of our most intimate and sacred times with the people we love. I love thinking about it in this way, it puts words to my impulses about food and family, and I understand more why feeding the people I love calls me and others so much. She also wrote Bittersweet, about enjoying the pain in life along with the good, and Cold Tangerines, about celebrating life. Her blog is filled with so many great book recommendations too, my Amazon shopping cart grows each time I sit down to feed the baby.  But I am so happy I have so much good reading for this summer, and will fill you in on what is great!

 3. First Summer Tomato from our garden –


I am so grateful to my father in law, who has planted us a garden for the last few years.  Such an amazing gift from such a wise and stoic guy. He knows what it means to us and doesn’t do it for the thank yous but for how it will literally nourish our family, physically and spiritually.  And with pregnancies and babies it wouldn’t have happened on my own. He is my model for selfless giving.  I ate it with a big bowl of quina, chicken sausages, fresh corn and smoked gouda:

4. This pizza: It is from Stone L’Oven in East Falmouth, MA. It is (are you ready), sweet potato, spinach, goat cheese and balsamic pizza. I die. Cannot wait to recreate at home and hope you do the same.  They diced the sweet potatoes really small.

5. The Farmer’s Market – Along with the other 300 million people in the US, I love my town’s farmer’s market. I don’t take any claim for originality for this topic, but my little town just started one. It was hard getting to the one in the town next to us, so it is the first time I have been in a while and I went with the kids and it felt super special. They had maple soft serve ice cream, chocolate samples, and a guy in the gazebo playing Paul Simon. Love it all.  I picked up some wonderful margarita flat bread pizzas to take to book club, and some yummy breads.  I did not, however, buy any greens.  Don’t we always leave with wine and cheese and chocolate when we intend to get vegetables? Next time I will, I promise.

6. Instagram – I know, I am WAY behind on this one.  I finally set up my account and it has been crazy fun capturing moments from our trip.


7. My Book Club – we just had our annual meeting on the beach with a bonfire, really heavenly. It was also the first time I have been back since I had the baby.  The combination felt really special as did the warmth of all those lovely ladies, asking to see pictures of Andrew and just laughing a ton.  Maybe it was the beach or my lack of adult interaction, but it filled me up in a big way.  We also make a ton of food at these, and I left with two take away must-make dishes:

***Bacon Tomato Dip: Stir together cream cheese, sour cream, bacon, tomatoes and onion or scallions. Serve with grilled or toasted buttered bread. Really really good, thanks Martha!

***Campfire Cones: Take waffle cones, fill them with mini marshmellows, and mini chocolates like rolos and peanut butter cups, wrap it all in tin foil and stick in/near the logs of a camp fire. Be careful to wrap tightly so cone doesn’t burn. Then take out and all the gooey chocolate mess is SO good.

8. Andrew –  this is such a fleeting, special time when you have a young baby.  I can’t even believe how happy this little man makes me.  His smiles and his coos and his great personality make me excited even for night time feedings.  And he always goes right back to sleep.

What is inspiring you this summer?  I would love to hear it!!


Vanilla and Ginger Roasted Plum Compote

August 20, 2012

There is so much fresh produce lyinging around, and sometimes garden vegetables get all the attention.

But my heart right now lies with plums.  We had close friends visiting this weekend. On the menu was beach, food, and fun.  We had a ton of each! I made this recipe after we had a great session of Iron Chef Mussels – two great family chefs, my mom and Mark, my friend’s husband, both competed for the title and well, you’ll have to read my next post to find out more.  This is what I made for dessert to cap off the meal:


I have been wanting to make this since I read the recipe last spring, and each time I buy plums we eat them before I can make this. Finally I bought waaaay too many which turned out to be just enough to make this delicious and EASY compote.

The smell of this fruit simmering with vanilla and ginger rivals mulled cider or wine, and the fragrant taste of all those complex flavors over ice cream tastes like a world class desert.


Vanilla and Ginger Roasted Plum Compote

(adapted from the FineCooking In Season cookbook)

Serves 6

6 firm-ripe black or red plums, halved and pitted

Unsalted butter for baking dish

3-4 T. sugar

1 t. lemon zest

1 T. fresh lemon juice

1 T. rum, preferably dark

1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract

1/2 t. grated fresh ginger

Pinch of salt

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425. Slice the halved plums into four wedges each.  Generously butter an 8×11-in. backing dish (or one just large enough to hold the plums).

In a mixing bowl, toss the plums with 3 T. of the sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice, rum, vanilla, ginger, and salt.  Toss well.  Taste one of the plum wedges;  if it’s still tart, sprinkle in the remaining 1 T. sugar.  Pour into the baking dish and roast, gently stirring occasionally, until the plums are tender and juicy, 10-20 min.  Don’t overcook them or they’ll fall apart.

Let the plums cool for at least 5 minutes or up to an hour before serving.  Serve them hot or warm with vanilla ice cream and juices spooned over the top.



I am also hoping to try this plum recipe: Brown Butter Upside Down Cake.  So I can marry my obsessions with both brown butter and plums.

Check it out here or go to

What are you doing with your in season produce? I would love to hear about it in the comments!



A Trifle Easy

December 5, 2011

This year I have vowed to keep things simple at the holidays, so I am sharing with you 2 easy go-to ideas to bring to any party or when people come over.

The first is Ina Garten’s Ham & Cheese in Puff Pastry –
so good & all 4 ingredients can be on standby for a fancy appetizer.
The best thing about this idea is you can substitute any great combo
such as Brie & Raspberry Jam, Turkey and Cheddar, Fig Jam & Goat cheese,
or whatever you have on hand.


  • 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 pound black forest ham, sliced
  • 1/2 pound Swiss Gruyere cheese, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan.

Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on a floured board and carefully roll it out to 10 by 12 inches. Place it on a sheet pan and brush the center with the mustard, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Place a layer first of ham and then cheese, also leaving a 1-inch border. Brush the border with the egg wash.

Place the second sheet of puff pastry on the floured board and roll it out to 10 by 12inches. Place the second sheet on top of the filled pastry, lining up the edges. Cut the edges straight with a small, sharp knife and press together lightly. Brush the top with egg wash and cut a few slits in the top to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes and serve hot or warm.

The second Idea is for an easy trifle – the holiday dessert that looks so pretty in
a glass bowl with layers.

Chocolate Peppermint Trifle:
Layer brownies, vanilla ice cream, and crushed peppermint candy in 3 layers, finishing with whipped cream and candy pieces.  You can think of other easy to grab cakes, such as angel food cake or pumpkin bread, and pair with ice cream and candy flavors that complement the cake & the season.