04 April 2010

Easter dessert: mini pavlova with lemon curd and fresh berries

Hoppy Easter!!! I'm pretty sure my tummy is distended from a fantastic Easter dinner. That I made :-D

Over the next couple days I'll post some recipes of that 3.5 course meal. I'll begin with dessert first. Actually I already started on posting my dessert recipe 2 days ago - that lovely lemon curd was part of this crisp and airy pavlova. You can see that yellow curd peeking out from under the fresh berries. Pairing it with tea made for a bright, light finish to a very filling meal.
Note: Make sure all your cooking utensils - the mixing bowl, whisk, your hands - are oil free and spotless. Oil is the arch nemesis that thwarts any meringue's attempt at greatness. Also, when separating the eggs, no yolks allowed! Not even a speck - pure egg whites only.

adapted from Cooking Light

4 egg whites, room temp
1/4 tsp cream of tarter
3/4 C sugar
1 vanilla bean
chopped pistachios (optional)

Preheat oven to 250. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and draw 4 4"-circles (or whatever shape you'd like) on them. Space them well because the meringues will spread. Flip over so it's drawn side down. Split the vanilla seed and remove seeds. Mix into sugar so evenly distributed.

Put egg whites and cream of tarter in a mixing bowl and. using the whisk attachment, start on medium speed and gradually ingrease to high, and beat until foamy. Then add sugar a tablespoon at a time while it continues to beat. Beat until stiff stiff peaks form - that is, stick a spoon in there (while the beater is off, duh), pull out quickly, hold peak side up, and if the peak stays straight and doesn't lean at all, you are done.

Evenly divide the meringues between the 8 circles. Make them nest-like: edges are higher than the center, so you can put the filling in later. This is where you can sprinkle with the pistachios, too, if you want nuts on it. Oh, and these are pretty close together - there was less than a centimeter between them after baking - you may want to put more space between them.
Bake for 1 hour, rotating halfway through for even baking. Turn off oven, leave the meringues in there, and leave for another 2 hours. Remove and allow to cool. Carefully remove from parchment.
To assemble the pavlova: spread about 2 tbsp of the lemon curd in the center of the meringue nest. Arrange the fresh berries on top. Serve immediately.
OR: The meringues will keep, topping free, in an airtight container for a couple days. I made the meringues on Saturday and put it together Sunday night. Easy breezy.

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