When hosting Easter dinner, I always like to finish the meal with a wow dessert. These lemon mini-pavlovas from “Meringue” by Linda K. Jackson and Jennifer Evans Gardner are that, and then some. While the authors dub their recipe as ideal for summer, I think it’s also just right for Easter, too. The mix of flavors are springtime fresh. And who wouldn’t want to indulge in one of these pretty little pavlovas while sipping tea in the shade as kids hunt for eggs on the lawn?
Lemon Mini-Pavlovas with Lemon Curd Whipped Cream and Blueberries
Lemon and blueberries are a wonderful flavor combination, and this Pavlova with its whipped cream-lightened lemon curd filling makes a lovely light summer dessert.
8 large egg whites, room temperature (save 2 yolks for curd)
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
1 1⁄2 cups superfine sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3⁄4 cup sugar
Zest of 1 to 2 lemons (about 1 tablespoon)
1⁄3 cup lemon juice
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1⁄2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
3 pints fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried
Powdered sugar, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Draw 12 (4-inch) circles onto paper; turn paper over. You should be able to see the circles.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites until foamy. Add vinegar and salt and beat on medium-high until you have soft peaks. Slowly add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, and beat on high until stiff and shiny. Add vanilla and lemon zest then sprinkle cornstarch over meringue and beat until incorporated.
Pipe meringue into circles on marked paper, making sides higher than center. Place in oven and turn heat down immediately to 300 degrees. Bake 30 minutes then turn oven off, leaving Pavlovas in oven for additional 30 minutes. Take out of oven to cool. When completely cooled, remove meringues by gently peeling them off the parchment or by sliding an offset spatula or knife underneath the shells.
Combine all ingredients in double boiler. Whisk frequently until thick. Strain and refrigerate.
With an electric mixer, whip cream and sugar together until stiff.
To Assemble and Serve Pavlovas:
When lemon curd is cold, fold into whipped cream. You now have a light, fluffy lemon whipped cream.Place meringues on individual dessert plates and fill with lemon cream. Top with blueberries and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Photographs by Alexandra DeFurio from Meringue by Linda K. Jackson & Jennifer Evans Gardner, reprinted with permission of Gibbs Smith. gibbs-smith.com
Although this dessert is stand-alone special, serving it on a cake stand will elevate its status even more. A delightful mismatch of plates with a monochrome print, Liberty London’s House of Hackney 3-tier bone china cake stand brings a bit of Downton Abbey style to the table. Carson, where are the little cakes? Also from across the pond, Emma Bridgewater’s Polka Dot cake stand is fresh, fun and contemporary. A throwback to mid-century design, the Jadeite cake plate from Neiman Marcus is handcrafted of beautiful flint glass right here in the USA. And how pretty would your mini-pavlovas look served on Sur la Table’s Easter Floral cake stand that’s a burst of sunshine yellow and springtime blooms? Very.