Photo courtesy of Keiko Oikawa @ nigella.com
I’d seen this recipe made on Masterchef Australia by Nigella and wanted to give it a try. I also find the lightness of a pavlova a great way to end a meal in the heat of summer. And boy have we been having some record breaking extreme temperatures in Australia this summer! I brought this to my friends BBQ on a steamy Saturday evening. They served a lovely meal with many of the ingredients grown in their own garden – got to love that!
This dessert is the best of a lemon meringue pie and a pavlova rolled into one zesty parcel of delightfulness. The chewy sweetness of the meringue is teamed perfectly with the bitterness of the lemon curd and the crunch of the toasted almonds. Definitely a match made in baking heaven. It even keeps for up to 1 day after first serving and may I say, it seems to taste better the next day but that could be because of the people I choose to share my baking experiences with 😉 My attempt is pictured below and I must say it looks pretty good and tasted damn fine:
My tips and additions are:
- I made the meringue base one day ahead and stored it in an airtight container. I took the cream and curd in separate containers to my friends home and assembled it before dinner was served. I did this because Nigella recommends assembling the pavlova about 1 hour ahad of serving.
- The curd can be made up to 3 days ahead and just store in the fridge until needed but stir before using (refer to recipe below).
- Almonds can be toasted a week ahead and onced cooled, store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge loosely covered with clingfilm, for up to 1 day. There is no degradation in flavour or texture.
Lemon Pavlova by Nigella Lawson
- 6 egg whites
- 375g caster sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 2 unwaxed lemons
- 50g flaked almonds
- 300ml double cream
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 150g caster sugar
- 100g unsalted butter
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
- Beat the eggs, egg yolks and sugar together.
- Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-based pan, and when melted stir in the sugar-egg mixture and the lemon juice. Keep cooking gently, stirring constantly until thickened.
- Off the heat, whisk in the zest and let cool slightly before putting on the pavlova base. It is also fine to store it in the fridge while you make the pavlova.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degree celcius/160 degree celcius fan and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
- Sprinkle the cornflour over the meringue, then grate in the zest – a fine microplane is best for this – of 1 lemon and add 2 tsp of lemon juice.
- Gently fold until everything is thoroughly mixed in. Mound onto the lined baking tray in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and the top with a knife or spatula.
- Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150 degree celcius/130 degree celcius fan and cook for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool, but don’t leave it anywhere cold as this will make it crack too quickly. If you think your kithen is too cool, then leave the pavlova inside the oven with the door completely open. When you’re ready to eat, turn the pavlova onto a large flat plate or board with the underside uppermost – Nigella does this before she sits down to the meal in question and lets it stand till dessert time. This is so the tender marshmallow belly of the pavlova melds with the soft topping.
- Toast the flaked almonds, by frying them in a dry pan over medium to high heat until they have started to colour. Shake the pan at regular intervals and don’t let them burn. This doesn’t take more than a minute or so. When they’re done, remove to a cold plate so that they don’t keep cooking.
- Whip the cream until thick and airy but still with a soft voluptuousness about it, and set it aside for a moment.
- Remove the lemon curd from the fridge and beat with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen it a little.
- With a light hand and a spatula, spread the lemon curd on top of the meringue base. Now top with the whipped cream, peaking it as if it were a meringue topping. Sprinkle with the zest of the remaining lemon – you can grate this finely or as coarsely as you wish – followed by the flaked almonds, and serve.
Note: It is okay to use a jar of store bought lemon curd if you don’t feel like making your own. There is nothing wrong with taking a few short cuts. And remember lemon curd is great lathered between sponge cake, dolloped over muffins and pancakes, or poured into a cooked and cooled pastry case. So if you want to double the recipe you will have a lot of uses for it.