This weekend we made our first trip of the season to the farmer’s market in Beaverton. It was a lovely Saturday morning – warm and sunny!
As soon as I saw them I knew exactly what I was going to do with – make pavlova – a meringue based dessert with strawberries and whip cream. It is definitely one of our family’s favorite desserts.
Pavlova is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and was created in her honor as she toured through New Zealand and Australia. I know there are some Aussie’s out there so be sure and chime in on this one!
Meringue can be a little intimidating to people but it really is easy to make. It is simply a combination of egg whites and sugar with a little cream of tartar and vanilla thrown in. I have found that it is best to make meringue on a dry, sunny day which this weekend was.
The first step is to line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a brown paper bag – I opted for the brown paper bag. I then traced around a class to make some circles – choose your size! You can make individual size pavlovas like I did this weekend but sometimes I just make one big round one and we cut it into pieces. There is something special about individual servings though.
One of the tricks to getting nice stiff egg whites is to make sure you are using a nice, clean bowl!
After your sugar and such is added and your egg whites are stiff fill in the circles you drew on the paper. Use the back of spoon to create a slight indentation into the circle (that’s where all the berry and whip cream goodness will go).
You don’t want the middle to be too thin though as then it will cook quicker than the rest of the meringue.
Bake them in your oven until they are dry looking and until they just barely start to turn a little golden brown. Not too much though! The length of time this takes will be determined by how big and thick you make your circles. I cooked mine for about 40 minutes. I then turned off the oven and let them sit in the oven for a while longer to dry out a bit more.
A perfect meringue is light and crispy on the outside with a center that is still slightly sticky and chewy.
Let them cool on the paper and then gently loosen them from the paper, if they are still a bit sticky use a spatula to slide underneath them. They will be fragile and will begin to crack but that’s o.k. – it gives them character!
They would be wonderful with any kind of fruit – raspberries, blueberries, bananas etc.
The only problem with making meringues is that you end up with leftover egg yolks. It always seems a bit wasteful to throw them away so this weekend I made up a batch of lemon curd.
How pretty is that?!
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 C sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla.
- 1 C whipping cream, whipped
- assorted fruit
- 2 large lemons
- 4 large egg yolks
- ⅔ C sugar
- 4 Tbsp butter, cold
- Heat oven to 300 degrees
- Line a large cookie sheet with brown paper bag or parchment paper
- Draw the desired size circle or circles using a pencil onto the paper
- In large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy
- Gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating continuously at high speed until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes or so
- Beat in vanilla
- Spoon meringue onto circles on prepared cookie sheet building up sides with back of spoon
- Place in 300 degree oven and reduce heat to 250 degrees
- Bake for 40-60 minutes or until firm and dry to touch (inside of meringue will be soft) I allow mine to sit in oven for up to an hour afterwards to firm up a bit more
- Remove from oven; cool completely
- Carefully remove meringue from paper
- Place on serving plate and fill with whipped cream and fresh fruit
- Refrigerate until serving or eat right away!!
- Zest the lemons and set aside
- Juice the lemons
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until smooth
- Stir in zest and lemon juice
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan
- Over medium heat bring to a simmer
- Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens
- Remove from the heat and pour through a wire mesh strainer into a bowl
- Stir in the butter, 1 Tbsp at a time until melted
- Cool to room temperature and place a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a film from forming
- Chill in fridge until ready to use