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.
Then 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.
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).
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 www.irishamericanmom.com