Cloudlike puffs of meringue are layered with lemon cream and topped with luscious berries in this heavenly springtime dessert. Named in honor of the ballerina Anna Pavlova, whose elegance and grace electrified audiences in the 1920s, the light and airy dessert resembles a dancer’s tulle tutu.
Makes 12 servings
- MERINGUE SHELLS
- 6 egg whites
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 ½ cups superfine sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 ½ tsp cornstarch
- STRAWBERRY SAUCE
- 1 ¼ cups halved fresh strawberries
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- LEMON CREAM FILLING
- 1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese
- 1 (5-ounce) jar lemon curd
- 1 ¼ cups whipping cream
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
- Lemon zest, for garnish
Allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw two 8-inch circles on the paper. Invert paper so the circles are on the reverse side.
Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 250°F. For meringue shells, in a large mixing bowl beat egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on medium until soft peaks form (tips curl). Add 1½ cups sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Beat in lemon juice. Sift cornstarch over egg white mixture; fold in gently. Spread meringue over circles on paper; build up edges slightly to form shells. Bake 1 hour (do not open door). Turn oven off, let meringue stand in oven with door closed 1 hour. As the shells cool, cracking may occur.
Meanwhile, for strawberry sauce, place halved berries and ¼ cup sugar in a food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Chill at least 1 hour.
For lemon cream filling, in a medium bowl, stir together mascarpone and lemon curd until well blended. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream and 3 tablespoons sugar until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into lemon curd mixture until smooth and incorporated.
Carefully lift one meringue shell off paper and transfer to a serving plate. Spread with half of the lemon cream mixture. Stack second meringue shell on top; fill with remaining lemon cream filling. Top with fresh berries. Cover and chill up to 1 hour before serving. Serve with strawberry sauce. If desired, garnish with lemon zest.
Note: Unfilled meringue shells may be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days or in the freezer up to 6 months.
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