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Mini Lemon Pavlovas

Mini Lemon Pavlovas

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It's January, everyone on the east coast just ate their weight in snacks that were stocked up for the snowstorm, and we've all got broken New Year's resolutions to feel guilty about. One less thing to feel guilty about? Mini lemon pavlovas, because they're light, tart, and super satisfying. 

A pavlova is essentially a meringue cake where you use meringue instead of the cake part. For this reason it happens to be gluten free, light, and actually somewhat low calorie (at least compared to real cake - I'm not a dietitian people). It's also delicious. This recipe makes mini pavlovas  instead of one big one because I think everybody likes to have their own personal cake. If you'd rather make a big pavlova, spoon the meringue into two large circles instead of 8 small ones and layer the whipped cream and lemon curd between the two layers and on top. 

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Mini Lemon Pavlovas

Makes 8 mini pavlovas

For the meringues:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

For the lemon curd:

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed

To assemble:

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks 
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest 

Preheat oven to 275F (300F is fine if your oven, like mine, won't go any lower). 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a handheld mixer, whisk egg whites and lemon juice on medium speed until frothy and opaque white. Slowly whisk in sugar and continue to whisk on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Fold in lemon zest. 

Spoon the meringues onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet in 8 evenly sized circles, keeping them 1 inch apart. Use a spoon to flatten each meringue so that there are no peaks. 

Bake in the lower half of oven until dried very lightly browned, about 45-50 minutes (this may be closer to 40 if oven is at 300F). 

Meanwhile, make the lemon curd. In a saucepan, combine lemon juice, zest, sugar and yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, 5-7 minutes. Note: it won't be as thick as the final product at this point but will coat the back of a spoon. 

Strain the curd through a fine mesh sieve and into a clean bowl, to discard any solids (aka scrambled eggs). Whisk in butter until melted. Cover surface of curd with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and place in fridge to cool. 

When meringues and curd have cooled completely, break the top of the meringues slightly, fill with lemon curd and top with a dollop of cream and sprinkle of lemon zest. Enjoy! 

Note: I've been mixing leftover lemon curd into my morning (plain) yogurt and topping it with berries and it might just be the best breakfast on the planet. You probably wouldn't regret doubling the curd recipe... 

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