Pavlova With Lemon Curd
This Pavlova with Lemon Curd is a meringue shell topped with curd, whipped cream & berries. A Lemon Dessert that will dazzle all who indulge!
Have you ever tasted a pavlova? Made a pavlova? Even heard of a pavlova? If you’re new to this dessert check out my Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova post that has all the information you need about this dessert from down under!
Pavlova with Lemon Curd
I remember the first pavlova I made. I took it to a Memorial Day gathering next door and it disappeared in a flash. The crispy meringue shell topped with a billowy cloud of whipped cream and juicy, ripe berries was a new dessert for many in attendance.
My family barely got a taste so I made another just for them the next day. It has become one of our favorite desserts and I’ve made mini versions as well as a few other twists on a classic. If you’ve never made this iconic Australian/New Zealand (there is controversy on where this originated!) dessert, you MUST make one while berries are at their peak! And to add an extra dimension, sandwich some lemon curd between the berries, cream, and meringue! This pavlova with lemon curd is irresistible!
Lemon Meringue Dessert
I first made this pavlova recipe in 2011 for a teacher’s Christmas luncheon which I chaired for a number of years. I had numerous requests for this pavlova with lemon curd recipe that day, and one kind soul told me it was the best dessert he’d ever tasted. If you love lemon desserts, you’ll adore this exquisite creation.
What is Lemon Curd?
Lemon curd is a creamy mixture made from lemon juice, sugar, butter, and egg yolks. As this combination cooks, it becomes thicker and when chilled is thick enough to use as a spread on scones, muffins, and other baked goods. Zest can also be added for an extra boost of flavor. Besides lemons, curd can be made from limes, oranges, and grapefruit.
How to Make Lemon Curd
When making recipes like lemon curd, pudding, creme brulee, and custard where you must add eggs to a hot liquid, it must be done carefully. Tempering the egg yolks by adding some of the hot mixture and quickly whisking, helps warm the yolks without cooking them.
- To make this lemon curd, first combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Add lemon juice and butter and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly.
- Next, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Slowly drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid while whisking constantly. If you dump it in all at once, the eggs will cook and scramble. This is why we “temper” or slowly warm the yolks.
- Return this mixture to the saucepan, reduce heat, and cook till the curd is thickened without boiling.
- Pass the curd through a mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg.
- Stir in zest.
- Put the curd into a bowl, cover, and cool for about 1 1/2 hours.
Tips for Making This Lemon Curd Pavlova
- I have a love-hate recipe with this particular meringue recipe. I love how it bakes up with a crispy exterior and marshmallow-like center. Nigella Lawson often refers to the inside of her meringues as “squidgy” with a “marshmallow” texture. This is the only pavlova recipe that reflects her description.
- What I dislike about this meringue shell is that it cracks as it cools and cracks even more as you slice it. So, it’s up to you whether you use this recipe for the meringue shell or try this less fragile pavlova recipe which also uses 4 egg whites.
- When you’re shaping your pavlova, make sure to make the edges higher than the center to create a “well” for the lemon curd to be contained.
- You can either make lemon curd with the leftover egg yolks as I did. It’s delicious!! Or take a shortcut and buy some jarred lemon curd which will be paler in color but just as lovely to eat.
- PRO-Tip: When making a pavlova, the key is to use very clean bowls and beaters. One speck of oil, fat, or egg yolk (which contains fat) will prevent your egg whites from whipping properly. This is important any time you’re whipping egg whites for meringue cookies, pie toppings, or pavlova.
- PRO-Tip: Draw an outline on your parchment using a bowl as a template. Flip it over and use it as a guide to make a nice round meringue.
Me at the CHS Faculty Luncheon in 2011
More Meringue Desserts
- Meringue Hearts from What a Girl Eats
- Mini Pavlovas
- Christmas Wreath Pavlova
- Layered Chocolate Meringue Cake
- Strawberry Topped Chocolate Pavlova
- More of the Best Dessert Recipes
- 1 cup superfine sugar (just process regular sugar in the food processor for a minute)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 3 egg whites, at room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- (Or you can substitute 1-1 1/2 cups of your favorite jarred lemon curd)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups fruit of choice (mixed berries, kiwi)
- Preheat oven to 300º. Trace a 7-inch circle on one side of a piece of parchment paper, flip it over and place it on a baking sheet.
- Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt using an electric mixer on medium till soft peaks form. Add water, and beat until soft peaks reform. Increase speed to medium-high and start mixing in the sugar and cornstarch, slowly, till all is incorporated.
- Beat one minute longer. Add vinegar and mix on high speed until meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form (may take 5 minutes).
- Carefully spread meringue on the inside of the circle on the parchment, with the edges higher than the center. Bake till pale golden, about 45 minutes. Turn off oven and prop door open slightly. Cool for an additional hour in the oven.
- The meringue can be made up to two days ahead. Just wrap well in plastic and freeze. Defrost before serving.
- To make curd, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan. Add lemon juice and butter and simmer, while whisking constantly. When it starts to simmer, cook for one more minute while continuing to whisk. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk egg yolks.
- Very slowly add about 1/4 cup of the hot liquid while whisking constantly (if you add too quickly, the egg will cook instead of incorporating). Return this mixture to the saucepan, reduce heat, and cook till the curd is thickened (do not allow to boil).
- Pass the curd through a mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg. Stir in zest. Put curd into a bowl, cover, and cool for about 1 1/2 hours.
- Curd can also be made two days ahead and stored covered in the refrigerator.
- To assemble pavlova, place meringue on a serving plate. Whip cream with powdered sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. Fold 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into lemon curd. Top meringue with curd, then the remaining whipped cream, and finally with the berries/fruit.
The meringue can be made up to two days ahead. Just wrap well in plastic and freeze. Defrost before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 331Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 92mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 44gProtein: 3g