Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Stick with cooking: Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries

Did you hear about the chef that got arrested?

He was beating an egg. Yes- I love the CHEEZ-IT commercial jokes, but this is mostly due to my ability to laugh at things that only a 3 year old might find amusing.

This joke however, sums up my recent dessert.

While I love simple and easy, I decided that it was time to challenge myself. It has started to become tradition that I bring in treats for my internship office hours. Last Friday, I am very proud to say I made my first pavlova, which is a meringue based dessert. My pavlova consisted of the meringue bottom, lemon curd in the middle and fresh berries on top.
Multi-tasking is necessary!

The hardest part was getting the meringue just right. A meringue is made of sugar and egg whites. Make sure that you don't get ANY yoke in the mix. In addition, you want to beat the eggs to the point that when you lift up your mixer that it leaves a peak that doesn't move (hence instructions, beat until stiff).

I also made homemade lemon curd- which is like a thick pudding and I absolutely loved it! However, I am biased due to my love for sour fruit desserts.

Note: My meringue dried out too much and cracked, I think this is because I was nervous and left the meringue in the oven for another 10 minutes because it was not golden. This made the base crack a lot, however it still was delicious. Also- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN WHILE THE MERINGUE IS COOKING- otherwise the meringue will fall. 

This definitely was a huge hit in the office and if you have the time and a lot of patience, it's very doable. 

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Berries

For meringue:
  • 1 cup superfine granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For filling:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups mixed berries

Make meringue:

The small one was my taste tester

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F with rack in middle. Trace an approximately 7-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Turn parchment over and put on a baking sheet.

  2. Whisk together superfine sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.

  3. Beat whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer at medium speed until they hold soft peaks. Add water (whites will loosen) and beat until whites again hold soft peaks.

  4. Increase speed to medium-high and beat in sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.

  5. Add vinegar and beat at high speed until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes (longer if using hand-held mixer).

  6. Gently spread meringue inside circle on parchment, making edge of meringue slightly higher than center (the "crater" is for curd and fruit).

  7. Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes (inside will still be marshmallow-like).

  8. Turn oven off and prop door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool meringue in oven 1 hour.

Make Lemon curd while meringue bakes:

  1. Stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then add lemon juice and butter.
  2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute.
  3. Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl and whisk in 1/4 cup lemon mixture, then whisk into remaining lemon mixture in saucepan.
  4. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened, about 2 minutes (DO NOT LET BOIL!)
  5. Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest. Chill, surface covered with parchment, until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.

Assemble Pavlova:
  1. Beat heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold 1/4 cup beaten cream into curd to lighten.
  2. Spoon lemon curd into meringue and mound berries on top.
  3. Serve remaining whipped cream on the side.

Meringue fresh out of the oven

Lemon curd mixed with whipped heavy cream

Not perfect, but I'm still learning! I could not get the meringue off the parchment paper because it probably would have crumbled into a million pieces. My mom wants me to make another one for Easter, so I will show you those results then!

Source: Epicurious

Bon App├ętit!

Chef Maggie

1 comment:

  1. You did an excellent job and your pavlova looks absolutely mouthwatering!