Nigella’s Lemon Pavlova from Simply Nigella has long been my pav of choice. It is, quite simply (and no pun intended) the most requested dessert when we’re entertaining groups of people.
The problem is, it’s a large pav – which is, of course, what makes it so great for when you have groups of people, but isn’t so great when there are just three or four people to feed, they’re all craving lemon curd pav and you don’t want to have to resist the leftovers.
Nigella has, however, come to the rescue in Cook Eat Repeat with her smaller sized Blood Orange and Passionfruit Pavlova – incidentally, something I’ll bake when a) blood oranges are in season and b) I remember to.
So, I simply mashed the two recipes together and got this – a petite lemon curd pavlova. It’s just as crispy on the outside and softly marshmallowy and lemon tangy on the inside as the original, but it’s small enough to feed 2-4 people.
As with all pavlovas:
- Have your egg whites at room temperature before you start,
- ensure the bowl you’re whisking your egg whites in is super clean,
- add the sugar to the egg whites slowly and serenely (such a Nigella word) and
- allow the pav to cool in the oven. It will probably crack and collapse (at least a little) but will crack and collapse less if you allow it to gently cool.
For the base
- 2 large egg whites
- a pinch of fine sea salt
- 125g caster (superfine) sugar
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- finely grated zest of a lemon
For the topping
- a jar of lemon curd (or make your own)
- 150ml double cream whipped until thick and airy, but still soft
- flaked almonds, toasted
What you do with it
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Yes, this is hotter than you’d usually have to cook a pav, but you’ll be turning it down the second the pav goes in the oven.
If you want a proper circular pav, draw a circle with a pencil on a piece of parchment paper and use the parchment (with the pencil side down) to line a baking sheet. I tend to skip this step and as a result, my pav is always a tad “rustic”. Hey ho.
Whisk the egg whites and salt in a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment) until satiny peaks form and continue to whisk furiously as you add your sugar a slow spoonful at a time. The meringue will be thick and stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cornflour, lemon zest and lemon juice and fold gently.
Mound the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet using your pencil circle for guidance or simply freestyling it. Using a palette knife or spatula, smooth the edges until to have a thick, stright-sided, flat-topped disc.
Place your pav in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 150C/130C fan and cook for 40 minutes. When the time is up, turn the oven off, but leave the pav inside (with the oven door slightly ajar to gradually release the heat) to cool gently.
When completely cool, top with lemon curd (we use most of a jar, but you don’t need to if you don’t want) and the cream. Scatter with the flaked almondsalmthough the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the pic above doesn’t have flaked almonds – one of the people I made it for has a nut allergy…