It's my first HtC challenge, and I'm excited! Although it's pretty hot outside, I've had the AC running full tilt for a day now, so I'm hopeful that it won't be too humid in my apartment.
My original plan was to do something fun (maybe even...creative??) with the shape of the Pavlova. My list of brilliant ideas went something like this:
and I was going to fill it with a strawberry/rhubarb mixture. The first two ideas were nixed because a skirt or a shoe filled with a red gooey mixture screams 'murder scene' to me, and that didn't seem appropriate. And a square is, well, just plain boring. Besides, I only just finished washing and freezing the strawberries and rhubarb. It seems like such a pity to use them up right away.
So I was at a bit of a standstill...until I made Rose Levy Beranbaum's Blueberry Lemon Tart yesterday. The Lemon Curd is simplicity itself, and I have these wonderful eggs (from a real farm) that have fabulously yellow yolks...no need for dollops of food colouring!
The decision made, the die cast: the Pavlova (Pavlovas, actually) will be egg-shaped, with a lemon curd 'yolk' centre.
For all of you die-hard Pavlova purists out there, I know a Pavlova should have fresh fruit on it. If it bothers you that much, copy the picture to your computer and photophop a strawberry or two onto it. I just wanted to have a little fun with it, you know?
Mise en place for the curd (recipe can be found in both Heavenly Cakes and The Pie and Pastry Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum)
Recipe: Eggy Pavlova
Maybe I should call it "Swan's Egg' because Anna Pavlova was famous for her rendition of the dying swan in the ballet 'Swan Lake' (check it out on YouTube)...nah, nevermind.
For the meringue (adapted from the challenge recipe)
1 cup berry sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Trace egg shapes onto parchment paper (approximately 3"x2").
2) Beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Add sugar in small amounts, beating each addition until dissolved. Continue beating until egg whites hold very stiff peaks.
3) Sprinkle vinegar and cornstarch onto beaten egg whites and fold in.
4) Using spatula, fill decorating bag with mixture. Pipe shapes onto parchment paper. Build up the edges of the shape by piping overlaying 'rims' onto your shape. Finally, smooth the edges and tops a little with the back of a wet spoon. Space yours a little farther apart than I did...they will expand slightly in the oven.
5) Bake for 1 hour. Turn oven off and let cool completely in the oven.
For the Lemon Curd (adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible)
*Because meringue is quite sweet, I've reduced the sugar in this recipe, so be extra careful when heating the egg yolk mixture! I've also eliminated the lemon zest. I love me some good lemon zest, but who wants stringy things in their yolk?
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp lemon juice
1) In heavy saucepan, whisk yoks, sugar, and butter until well blended. Whisk in lemon juice and salt.
2) Cook over medium-low heat until thickened. Do NOT allow it to come to a boil or you'll have scrambled lemony eggs on your hands.
3) Optional: strain the mixture to remove any lumpy bits.
4) Cool before using.
Spoon dollops of lemon curd onto meringue bases. Garnish, if desired, with fresh fruit and/or sprigs of mint. Enjoy!