My daughter turned 20 this week. We celebrated by going out to dinner, then returned home for "cake". Growing up, my birthday cakes were always angel food with seven minute frosting. That was what I wanted... Always! But I have learned every year to ask my daughters what birthday cake, or birthday celebration dessert they fancy... Tradition has been thrown out-the-window by my girls.
Very rarely, any longer, is it a cake. When they were young I consistently made a chocolate-cherry cake with whipped cream frosting for each and every birthday. No more. Many times a tart is requested -- lemon meringue mostly; key lime sometimes.
When I asked my daughter last week what dessert she would like for her birthday she said, "I don't need anything". And I responded with something like...
Not having a birthday cake/dessert in this house -- unheard of!
It was all up to me... the decision rested on my shoulders! What would I bake for the celebratory dessert? I'd never served my family a pavlova, but who doesn't like a baked meringue? And an assortment of fresh berries and lemon curd whipped cream seemed liked the perfect filling for the meringue layers. I assembled it right before leaving for dinner, then placed it in the refrigerator until we returned. This just might be our new tradition. Most of us (me included) were sneaking a second piece.
* I'll be taking a short break to tackle my painting project, host a few guests, and help my daughter prepare for her trip abroad next month. See you again soon!
Pavlova with Berries and Lemon Curd Cream
Meringue Layers (recipe Yvonne Ruperti):
• 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 6 large eggs whites
• 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
• Pinch of salt
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) ground almonds
Lemon Curd Whipped Cream:
• 2 eggs yolks
• 1 whole, large egg
• 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
• 5 tablespoons cold butter
• 1 cup cold, heavy cream
• Powdered sugar, to taste
• fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries
• • •
To make the meringues:
Follow Yvonne Ruperti's recipe for the meringue layers on Serious Eats.
To make the lemon curd cream:
1. Whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, 6 tablespoons sugar, fresh lemon juice, and finely grated lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Set bowl over a medium pot of simmering water over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until thick, 8-10 minutes. Whisk in 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces, a few pieces at a time, until completely incorporated. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover surface with plastic to prevent a skin from forming, and set aside to let cool.
2. In a medium bowl, whip the cold, heavy cream until it holds soft peaks, adding powdered sugar to taste if desired. Fold into the lemon curd and chill in refrigerator.
1. Place one meringue disk on a large plate. Spread half of the lemon curd whipped cream evenly overall. Scatter assortment of berries over lemon cream. Place second layer on top and repeat with remaining lemon curd whipped cream and berries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
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