Lemon Cream-Topped Strawberry Pavlova
Whip it good! To celebrate strawberry season (yep, a winter thing over here) I made a gorgeous pavlova, a crunchy oversized marshmallow that I topped with swirly clouds of tart lemon curd cream and fresh, juicy berries.
For the pavlova:
1 cup superfine sugar*
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon white vinegar
For the lemon curd:
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
Juice and zest of 2 large lemons (½ cup juice, 2 tablespoons zest)
1 stick (4 oz/113 g) unsalted butter, cubed
1 pinch kosher salt
For the cream and topping:
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 cups sliced strawberries
Fresh mint and edible flowers, for garnish
*You can make superfine sugar by processing or blending plain sugar fo 10-15 seconds. You don’t want it as powdery as confectioners’ sugar, so don’t overdo it!
Make the pavlova:
Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F. Trace a 7-inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper and flip into a baking sheet.
Whisk together the sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt using on medium-high speed until they hold soft peaks, 1 ½ minutes. Add the water, then beat as the whites loosen then tighten again to hold soft peaks, an additional 30 seconds.
Increase the speed to medium-high and beat in the sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. After all sugar has been added, beat 1 minute more.
Add the vinegar and beat at high speed until the meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, 5 minutes longer.
Gently spread the meringue to fill the tracing, making edge of merengue slightly higher than center (the “crater” is for the cream and the raspberries.
Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust (but will not be crispy yet), about 45 minutes.
Turn the oven off and prop the door open slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool the meringue in the oven for 1 hour.
Make the lemon curd:
In a medium stainless-steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, butter, and salt.
Put 1 inch water in the bottom of a double boiler or a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Place the bowl with the lemon mixture over the simmering water. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture constantly, making sure to clean the sides of the bowl as you go, until the lemon curd begins to thicken, 10 minutes.
Strain the curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a container and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap to let the curd cool faster. Cool 30 minutes, then chill; curd will keep for up to 1 week.
Make the cream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream to soft peaks. By hand, gently fold the lemon curd into the cream.
Assemble the pavlova:
Gently peel the pavlova from the parchment and arrange on a serving platter. Spoon the cream into the center of the pavlova, spreading outward but leaving a border on the edges. Mound the strawberries on top and garnish with mint and flowers.