Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mini Strawberry Pavlovas with Lemon Cream, Strawberries and Grand Marnier






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Here in Ontario, the local strawberries are coming in!  We love that fresh, juicy and sweet taste. This is also the weekend when we’re trying to catch up on gardening and having a barbecue and family get together so I was looking for a dessert that would be light, make-ahead (mostly) and delicious. I settled on a Pavlova, that melt in the mouth combo of meringue, cream and berries.  But then I remembered past Pavlovas looking great until you tried to cut them and they exploded.  Hmm.  That’s when the decision to make the mini-Pavlovas was born.  I decided to add lemon curd to the mix to give it some zing. You can make your own lemon curd for this, but we have been on the run and living by the 20/80 rule: that is, you can often get 80 % of the benefit out of 20 % of the effort. So a jar of good-quality lemon curd it was. But go ahead and make your lemon curd from scratch if that suits you. We were not disappointed in our choice.

Because it’s a red and white dessert, it will be great for Canada Day too! 

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Ingredients

For Meringue:

4 extra-large egg whites with no traces of yolk, at room temperature
1 cup plus one tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar



For filling
1 cup whipping cream
¾ cup good quality lemon curd (or more if lemon is your thing)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping

1 1/2 cups fresh sliced strawberries (or berries of your choice. Perhaps strawberries and blueberries for the 4th of July!) We used mini-strawberries and they were very tasty.




2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier or 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


 Directions:


 Preheat oven to 225 F.

Meringue:



Beat the four egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add sugar tablespoon by tablespoon, beating well after every addition, until stiff peaks have formed.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. . Scoop out meringue and shape into ‘bowls’.  






Bake in pre-heated oven at 225 degrees for about 50 minutes. Turn off oven and let the meringues dry for at least an hour or even overnight.  


Trim and slice strawberries. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier if you like a bit of boozy flavor. You could use Cointreau too or Triple Sec. If not, a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Let the strawberries sit until ready to serve.


Just before you are ready to serve:  whip one cup of whipping cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla to stiff peaks. 






Add ¾ cup of lemon curd. You could add more.  Fold the lemon curd through, leaving streaks.



 It doesn’t need to be thoroughly blended.  We didn’t add any extra sugar to this, but you must suit yourself.
The only tricky part of this entire exercise is to get the meringue bowls off the baking sheet. This time I used tinfoil instead of parchment paper and it was not as easy. Lesson learned and too late to take new photos!
Spoon the lemon cream mixture into the meringues.  Add the strawberries and listen to the satisfied sighs.


The Pavlovas are very refreshing and tasty.  I don’t know why it took us so long to turn them into minis.

Pretty enough to show twice, we think!


Have fun and enjoy your dessert. 


In case you don't know, Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between  me, Mary Jane Maffini, and my daughter Victoria. Together we write the book collector mysteries.   We think that reading them is like taking a lovely trip to a mysterious place where books are everything and, yes, murder happens and great meals are served and some relatives are not to be trusted. Of course, justice prevails in the end and books are loved.

 



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