Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
Where the heck is spring?? As I write this it is literally -15°C. I think global warming has skipped over us here in Alberta. But these bright and cheery Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas are sure to brighten and warm any day. Crisp yet chewy pavlova nests are filled with lemon curd and whipped cream filling. They are lovely topped with fresh berries such as blueberry or raspberry and perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day.
Sadly, with the way the world is these days, most of us may not be having much of a family gathering at Easter. It will most likely be a modest meal with homebound family members and chats throughout the weekend with family and friends on Facetime or Skype. And this is okay because it’s what we need to do right now to keep everyone safe. As for this beautiful dessert, perhaps it will have to wait for another special occasion. Maybe Mother’s Day, bridal shower or what the heck, how about the first day of summer! There are always reasons to celebrate, so you’ll want to bookmark this recipe.
Here are a few helpful hints for this recipe:
-make sure your mixing bowl is very clean (grease will hinder a great meringue).
-use egg whites that are at room temperature (warm egg whites incorporate more air than cold ones).
-you can grind granulated sugar for about 10 seconds using a mini grinder if castor sugar is not available.
-stick the parchment to the baking tray with a few dabs of meringue to prevent it from moving while piping.
-place the tray on a damp towel to prevent the tray from moving while piping.
-don’t open the oven door until it has completely cooled as the warm dry air inside helps to dry out the meringues without further cooking.
-baked meringues will keep several days in an airtight container at room temperature.
-add filling to the meringue nests when ready to serve or up to a couple hours in advance. Adding it more than a couple of hours ahead will cause the meringues to soften too much.
Author: Compelled to Cook
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup castor or superfine sugar see note
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter cut into chunks
- 1 cup heavy cream
- as needed fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment and mark out 8-3" circles. Flip parchment over.
- Combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks are starting to form. Gradually add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to whip on high speed until stiff and glossy, about 6-7 minutes using a stand mixer.
- Add vanilla and whip to combine.
- Sift cornstarch over the meringue and fold to combine.
- Fit a large piping bag with your desired tip, I used a Wilton 1M.
- Fill the piping bag with meringue and squeeze a dab of meringue onto the corners of the parchment to stick it to the baking tray. This will help keep the parchment from moving while you pipe. Place the baking tray on a slightly damp kitchen towel to prevent the tray from moving. Fill in the traced circle, creating a base. Continue to pipe along the edge of the base for two turns, creating a basket.
- Place the tray in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn oven temperature to 225°F. Bake for 80 minutes, turn off the oven and allow meringues to remain undisturbed in the oven until completely cool. Meringues will be firm and hollow sounding with a slight bit of tackiness and chew in the bottom layer.
- Combine all ingredients except butter in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk in butter until smooth.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool completely and chill until ready to use.
- When ready to assemble pavlovas, which should be no more than 2 hours in advance, whip heavy cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into lemon curd and fill meringues generously. Top with fresh blueberries and serve.
-Using egg whites at room temperature will result in more volume.
-If unable to use castor or superfine sugar, simply grind regular granulated sugar in a mini coffee grinder for about 10 seconds. Even this is not true castor sugar, it breaks down the sugar enough for better absorption into the meringue.