Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. This dessert was created in the 1920s in New Zealand when the ballet dancer was visiting, on tour. I've had meringue kisses before, which I don't particularly care for since they are too crisp - probably due to the small size. But, the pavlova is an amazingly delicious dessert. It's light as there are only egg whites, and you can serve it with whipped cream any any soft fresh fruit that you like.
This dessert is rather fun to make and it used up the 4 remaining eggs I had left [another plus]. The majority of the time is spent waiting for the meringue to dry out in the oven. It's more of a test of patience than culinary skills. Be sure not to open the oven too soon since it will cause the meringue to crack, and do let it sit in there for 2 hours or so after baking to crisp up nicely.
Walnut Pavlovas with Lemon Curd & Fresh Berries
Adapted from My Recipes
Yield: 6 servings
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 egg whites [at room temperature]
12 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup walnuts [chopped]
1/4 cup lemon juice [freshly-squeezed]
1/6 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter [cubed]
Fresh Seasonal Berries
1. In a mixing bowl, add cream of tartar to egg whites.
2. Whip the egg whites at high speed until foamy.
3. Gradually add in sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
4. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
5. Chop walnuts.
6. On a baking sheet, divide the egg white mixture into 6 circles, roughly 4" in diameter. Use a spoon to make a small dent in the center of each.
7. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over the egg whites.
Bake at 250°F for an hour, rotating baking sheets after 30 minutes. Then, turn oven off after an hour and leave the meringues in a closed oven for 2 hours.
8. Over low heat, combine all the lemon curd ingredients and whisk together. Increase the heat a little. Continue whisking until mixture thickens and becomes jelly-like.
9. Strain over a bowl, to remove any chunks that may have formed. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until meringues are done.
10. After 2 hours of sitting in a closed oven, take out the meringues.
11. To assemble pavlova, add a dollop of whipped cream on top of the meringues. Sprinkle some fresh seasonal berries and top with lemon curd.
Notes: Be sure not to open the oven door too early as this will result in a meringue that is not completely dried out inside and it will crack the outer shell.