Peter Cottontail may not be hopping down the bunny trail, but he is certainly busy getting ready for his impending trip. Easter is a mere 16 days away; have you made plans for your Easter brunch or dinner? Well, if you haven't started or are just starting I have a great dessert idea for you. Truthfully though, these individual pavlovas (or is it pavlova?) are perfect for any special dinner or to just add a certain something to ‘regular' dinner.
You may already know that Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert that was developed to honor the visit of Russian Ballerina Anna Pavlova to Australia in the 1920s. It is typically served with a dollop of whipped cream and fresh fruit.
I put a little spin on mine by substituting orange marmalade curd for the whipped cream; I used the orange marmalade I made earlier this year to make the curd. Can we possibly think of a better name for this creamy, zingy jam other than ‘curd'?
These individual Pavlovas are just about perfect because not only are they flat-out delicious (as in… a meringue bottom, a bright orangey curd (there's that word again) and fresh strawberries), but …THEY.ARE.EASY. and YOU.CAN.MAKE.THEM.AHEAD. That my friends is a winning combination!
The ‘easy' part… the meringues are simply egg whites and sugar, whipped well, placed on a sheet and baked. There is a misconception that meringues are tricky; the secret is having your ingredients at room temperature (or heating slightly as in this recipe) and making sure all your pots, bowls and utensils are perfectly clean.
The curd is merely the egg yolks, marmalade and butter warmed and whipped. (Yeah, I never said they are low fat…BUT…they are gluten-free!)
And yes, you can make it all ahead! I might not cut the strawberries until the day of, but the meringues can be made a day ahead and the curd can easily be made several days ahead. Store the meringues in an air-tight container and the curd in the refrigerator.
Mix orange marmalade and egg yolks in a heavy pot
While stirring/whisking, heat over a medium heat until combined and thickened (2-3 minutes)
Remove from heat and add cubes of butter, one at a time until incorporated
Place in container, with a sheet of plastic placed over the top of the curd, and place in refrigerator.
Let come to room temperature before serving.
I slightly modified this from Martha Stewart's Pavlova recipe.
Preheat oven to 200'
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace 6 circles on the paper, approximately 3-4 inches in diameter. Set it aside.
In a heatproof bowl of your electric mixer, combine egg whites, sugar and salt. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk the egg white mixture until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch, approximately 2 minutes.
Attach the bowl to the mixture with the whisk attachment; beat on medium high speed until stiff peaks form; approximately 2-4 minutes.
Scoop the meringue onto the sheet inside of the circles. Smooth down and form a little well in the middle of the meringue
Place in the oven and back for 1 1/2 hours. Let the meringues cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool, place in airtight container for up to one day.
So, not only are these pavlova delicious treats on their own, but they also are perfect for a ‘make your own' Pavlova bar. Make up a batch of meringues (maybe chocolate meringues?) and a variety of toppings and let your guests top them as desired.
Some of the toppings you could put out are:
There are so many variations out there that the possibilities are truly endless. If you are a pavlova maker, chime in with some of your favorite toppings.
Pin it for your future reference.
These easy to make, but impressive sounding and looking desserts will be a hit at your next dinner party. Enjoy!
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