Berry and Lemon Curd Pavlova

Happy Independence Day! Ben, the boys and I are looking forward to spending today with some of our family, and the rest of the weekend with friends. It will be filled with flags, barbecues, smiles, and many cheers. I usually don’t have the opportunity to cook on this holiday weekend; our traditions put the food in the hands of others, which is just fine by me. But I still like to find festive ideas for all of the holidays, this being no exception. The following recipe is a fantastic summer dessert. As you’ll see, the color theme makes it perfect for some of our spring and summer national holidays.

Honestly, I’ve never made a pavlova. So, you can imagine my happiness when my husband told me that it was the best dessert he’s ever had, in his life. Ever. Even compared to restaurant desserts (we’ve been to some pretty amazing restaurants). It really is fantastic, and gorgeous, which helps;).

American Honey – Lady Antebellum

 

Berry and Lemon Curd Pavlova adapted from Gourmet, April 2009.

Meringue

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar (use superfine if you have it, I didn’t and it still turned out perfect)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 large egg whites at room temperature
  • salt
  • 1 tsp distilled white vinegar

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Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Trace a 7 inch circle on a sheet of parchment paper. Turn parchment over and place on a baking sheet.

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In a bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch.

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Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Add 3 tbsp. cold water and beat again until the egg whites can hold soft peaks.

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Increase speed to medium-high and beat in sugar mixture, 1 tbsp. at a time. After all of the sugar has been added, beat for 1 more minute.

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Add vinegar and beat on high until meringue is glossy and holds stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.

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Carefully spread the meringue inside the circle on the parchment.

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Make the edge of the meringue slightly higher than the center (bowl-like for holding the curd and fruit).

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Bake until meringue is pale golden and has a crust, about 45 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN AT ALL DURING BAKING. Turn the oven off and, without completely opening the oven door, prop the door slightly with a wooden spoon. Cool the meringue in the oven for 1 hour. *Meringue can be made up to 2 days ahead and frozen, wrapped in plastic. Thaw before serving.

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Lemon Curd and Fruit

You’ll need:

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups mixed berries

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In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch and 1/8 tsp salt.

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Add lemon juice and butter.

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Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, whisking, then continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Lightly beat yolks in a small bowl.

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Whisk in 1/4 cup lemon mixture, then whisk back into remaining lemon mixture in the saucepan. Reduce to low and cook, whisking constantly, until curd is thickened, about 2 minutes (do not let boil).

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Transfer to a bowl and stir in zest.

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Chill, covering surface with parchment paper, for about 1 1/2 hours. *Curd can be made 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated.

Beat heavy cream until it just holds stiff peaks, then fold 1/4 cup of the beaten cream into the lemon curd.

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Spoon the lemon curd into the meringue and mound berries on top.

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And, behold, The Incidental Spoon’s first pavlova (it won’t be the last)!

Enjoy!

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Mushroom Tart

My love for San Diego’s Specialty Produce is well-documented. If you’re local and you’ve not visited this amazing produce wholesaler, which is open to the public, GO NOW. So, I wasn’t surprised when a friend, who I introduced to Specialty Produce, was telling me that the mushrooms he found there were the best he’s ever had. The problem was, I had never bought any mushrooms there. I needed to, right away, so I came up with this quick tart. It highlights the mushrooms, so be sure to find the best you can.

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Mushroom Tart

You’ll need:

  • 1 box frozen puff pastry (two squares)
  • 1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter
  • 7 cups thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (button, porcini or a mix of any favorites)
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 5 oz. goat cheese

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay out pastry squares on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

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Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

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Melt butter in a large skillet.

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Add mushrooms and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Divide mixture among the pastry squares. Sprinkle herbs and dot with goat cheese. At this time you could pop it back in the oven to heat it up a bit but we ate it right away so it was unnecessary.

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Enjoy!

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