Fat Girl has returned to the mother land, and the first thing my mother asked me to make was a pavlova. Despite her excellent skills in the kitchen my mummy still has trouble executing this dessert as well as I do, so it’s always one of the recipes she asks me to whip up upon my return. Today’s pavlova was filled with fresh cream, lemon curd and lots of lovely raspberries and strawberries because they are all sweet and in season here. The lemon curd also adds the perfect zing, it’s the ideal dessert for summer.
300g of caster sugar
6 egg whites
1/2 a teaspoon of cream of tartar
3 lemons (zest and juice)
100g of white sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of corn flour
85g of butter
100ml orange juice
100ml of water
400ml of Whipped cream
300ml of lemon curd (recipe here)
A selection of fresh berries
1. To make the pavlova you first need to separate your eggs (whites only) and whisk them to stiff peaks in a clean mixing bowl. I would recommend an electric whisk unless you are very strong. You need the egg whites to be as stiff as possible as they will only get softer as you beat in the sugar. In an ideal world they should be stiff enough to stay in the bowl when held upside down.
2. Beat in the caster sugar a bit at time until it has been mixed into the egg whites before adding the next bit. The sugar should be fully incorporated so it is no longer grainy. Then add the cream of tartar and beat one last time.
3. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees Celsius then line a baking tray with a piece of grease-proof paper. Draw a circle on the grease-proof paper and fill it in with a layer of the meringue. Then build up the edges by spooning or piping blobs around the outside until it forms the pavlova shape. Bake in the oven for 1 hour, at this point the outside should be crisp while the inside is a little marshmallowy. If you prefer your meringue to be hard the whole way through leave it in for another hour. As long as the temperature is kept low it wont burn.
4. To make the lemon curd, put the corn flour, sugar, lemon zest, and juice into a saucepan and stir. Add the orange juice and water then cook on a medium heat. Continue stirring, until it starts to bubble. Turn off the heat and add the butter. Continue to stir until the butter has melted, then whisk in the egg yolks one at a time. When the mixture has completely combined, turn the heat back on to low and stir continuously until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Pour it into a container and allow to cool.
5. Pavlovas should be assembled at the last moment, so wait until you are ready to serve before adding the cream. Whisk the cream until thick then fill the pavlova, top with a generous layer of lemon curd, then top with mixed berries. Sprinkle with icing sugar and mint leaves to decorate.