Zingy Springy Pavlova

Posted on April 4, 2011

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I could not be more happy that the mornings are getting lighter. The winter has felt so long and dreary this year and it makes getting up in the morning so much harder when it’s dark and cold outside. But now, Spring is coming! Bulbs are growing in the garden, grey skies are giving way to rays of sunshine and mental cobwebs are gradually cheered away by fresh, crisp, bright days.

So, to celebrate this emergence a suitably Spring-worthy dessert is required. The soft, comforting doughy cakes and crumbles, beloved in the cold Winter months, are replaced by fresh flavours and light textures. Now I want to eat souffle and panacotta and macaroons and pavlova.

This was a recent conconction and is delightfully easy to make. There is so much to be doing in Spring (cleaning, gardening, de-cluttering) that quick desserts are needed. Meringue is always a winner and the described  method of making it (shamelessly stolen from Lorraine Pascal of ‘Baking Made Easy’ fame) ensures it’s always glossy and perfect. I always stick to 60g of caster sugar per 1 medium egg white. With the edition of a squeeze of lemon, you’ll have perfect meringue every time. You can bake the meringue up to two days in advance and then just top it with your fruit and cream mix minutes before serving.

Here, I’ve blended lemon curd with my cream and scattered passion fruit seeds and citrus zest over the top. It could just as easily be a topping of sweet mascarpone and strawberries or mango and papaya. That’s the joy of pavlova, anything goes, but I think this particular recipe is perfect for how I’m feeling right now.

This is the perfect dessert to follow my recently posted Chicken & Cucumber Risotto.

Lemon & Passion Fruit Pavlova

3 egg whites (medium – room temperature), 1/2 lemon, 180g caster sugar, 4 tbsp lemon curd, 3 passion fruit, 1 lemon (zested and then juiced), 1 lime (zested – optional). 280ml double cream

Preheat oven to 140c. Beat sugar with 1 egg white and a squeeze of lemon. Then add another egg white, beat for 2 minutes and then add the final egg white and beat for a further 2 minutes. Your whites should be forming glossy, flexible peaks. Spread out your meringue mix onto baking paper in a circle. Place in the oven, bottom shelf for 1 hr. Turn off oven, leave door ajar and leave to cool (you can do this overnight for ease). When you’re ready to make your pavlova, whip your cream to gentle peaks (not too stiff is my preference), stir through the lemon curd and the seeds from 2 of the passion fruit, to create nice swirly patterns. Spread over the meringue, leaving a clean edge of about 2cm. Scatter the remaining passionfruit seeds over the top and the sezt from the lemon and lime. Serves 6.

 – for a more decadant looking pavlova, you can double the meringue (i.e. 6 egg whites and 360g caster sugar) and bake for 90 minutes.

Happy eating,

Helen x

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