Pavlovas are like big clouds of heaven – like crispy marshmallows, soft and sweet inside and crisp on the outside. I know you’re probably thinking that they look a bit intimidating, but I promise you, they are also much more simple to make than they appear.
Here I’ve called for lemon curd, whipped cream, and berries to top them but don’t let that limit you. They are wonderful with all kinds of fruits, sauces, and cremes. I make these year round and play with the additions. In the summer especially, I love the tartness of lemon or lime curd with the sweet pavlovas and cream.
These certainly have some sugar in them, but they are quite light, gluten free, and will never leave you feeling uncomfortably full.
That’s always what I look for in a dessert… because let’s be honest…. no one eats dessert because they are hungry. They eat it because it’s delicious.
Vanilla Bean Pavlovas with Lemon Curd
6 egg whites, room temperature
⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 – 1 ¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
Assembly: Fresh whipped cream – for serving
Assembly: Fresh berries – for serving
Lemon Curd: Adapted from (Alice Medrich’s Chocolate and The Art of Low Fat Desserts)
Grated zest of ½ a lemon
⅓ cup strained lemon juice
5 Tablespoons sugar
Start by making the lemon curd.
Combine the lemon zest, juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. In a small bowl, beat the egg until light.
Beat some of the hot lemon mixture into the egg. Scrape the egg mixture back into the saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly and reaching all over the bottom and sides of the pan, until the mixture barely starts to simmer around the edges. Continue to cook and stir for about 15 seconds, then pour through a strainer set over a bowl and allow to cool. Refrigerate with plastic wrap touching the surface of the curd until ready to serve.
To make the pavlovas:
Preheat the oven to 200F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until small bubbles appear. Increase the speed and beat until peaks begin to form.
While beating, gradually add the sugar up to 1 cup until the meringue is smooth and glossy. Taste and add the remaining ¼ cup sugar if you desire. Fold in the vanilla.
Using a large ladle or spoon, transfer the meringue over to a parchment paper lined baking sheet, forming six round meringues. Pat the middle of each meringue down so the top is smooth and they are slightly indented in the middle.
Bake the meringues for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and allow them to cool in the oven.
When cool and time to serve, fill the top of each pavlova with whipped cream, drizzle with lemon curd and garnish with berries, if desired. Toasted coconut is also a nice garnish on these.