Summer Pavlova with Homemade Lemon Curd

Strawberry Pavlova on a white cake stand

If I was to have a signature recipe, this would be it. Dinner parties, Christmas and birthdays – this pavlova has been made on so many numerous occasions I am amazed I haven’t shared it with you sooner. Despite the reputation that meringue has, this is actually one of the easiest recipes I have. It’s the first recipe I learnt of by heart and I can whip it up in an instant.

With summer officially beginning tomorrow, it’s the perfect time to take advantage of summer fruits and make them the star of the show. When pavlova is done right, with delicately whipped cream and sweet and juicy strawberries, it melts in your mouth. I have also included a wonderfully tart lemon curd recipe, to use up those leftover egg yolks. You of course, don’t have to make the curd if you don’t wish, but it does act a nice sharpness to the cream, that balances well against the sweetness of the meringue.

Oh yes, pavlova is a perfect summer dessert that is a real crowd pleaser and doesn’t involve too much prep. And if you mess up the meringue? Turn it into an impromptu Eton mess! This recipe is very forgiving.

This recipe is the perfect summer dessert if you are feeding a crowd. The meringue itself can be made a couple of days in advance and can be filled with cream and fruit as soon as you are ready to serve. To make excellent meringue the trick is to have a squeaky clean metal or glass bowl to whip up the egg whites in. Plastic bowls retain ‘grease’ so the egg whites won’t whip up as effectively. You then want to add the sugar very very slowly, the slower the better. Then, for that nice chewy middle, you add cornflour and white wine vinegar – extra ingredients to buy but it is very much worth it. You can omit them, but then you won’t get that heavenly marshmallow texture inside. 

Ingredients for the pavlova

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 235g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 500ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon curd (optional)

Method 

  1. Preheat the oven to 150oc and line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper
  2. In a large metal or glass bowl, whisk the egg whites until they turn white and peaks start to form. Once they reach soft peaks, add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to whisk, until it turns into stiff peaks.
  3. Once all the sugar has been added, whisk in the white wine vinegar and cornflour and whisk for one more minute to ensure it is thoroughly combined
  4. Using a piping bag or just a couple of spoons, pipe (or spoon) the glossy mixture into a large circle (about the size of a small plate) that is higher at the sides and hollow in the middle
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, turn off the oven with the pavlova still inside and leave overnight, or until the oven is completely cold
  6. Once the pavlova is ready to be served, you want to whip the double cream and icing sugar together until soft and pillowy. Fold a couple of tablespoons of curd through the cream mixture, creating a marble effect. Pile the cream into the hollowed out centre and top with mountains of your favourite fruit.

Ingredients for the lemon curd 

  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 40g butter, cubed

Method

  1. Place all the ingredients for the lemon curd into a glass bowl that fits on top of a small saucepan. Fill the saucepan with a little bit of water and bring to the boil – place the glass bowl on top and continue to stir, even after it has melted.
  2. Continue to stir for 10-15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon – sieve the mixture to get rid of any lumps and allow to cool – it will thicken as it cools.
  3. To store, use a clean glass jar that has been washed in hot soapy water and is completely dry.

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