In preparing for Easter lunch this coming weekend I wanted to make a dessert that was light and fresh and beautiful. These coconut pavlovas with tart lemon curd and fresh raspberries will fit the bill perfectly.
A good friend made pavlovas for Easter a few years ago and they were not only delicious but beautiful. When served individually, they’re an extra special dessert for your guests. Pavlovas might sound fancy, but they are just baked meringue layers. Topping them with lemon curd and berries makes them completely lovely. You can use the recipe below for lemon curd, or buy lemon curd at your grocery store. I love the combination of raspberries with the coconut and lemon, but blueberries, strawberries or blackberries would be nice. And in fact, pineapple might be amazing…
You can make the lemon curd and the meringue a day in advance. This will free you up on the day of your lunch or dinner to tend to everything else you have to do. But this also means that if you’re bringing these somewhere you don’t have to worry about them in transit. Bring everything in separate containers and assemble right before serving. No balancing cake plates in your lap and getting mad at the driver for taking those corners too quickly!
If you’re not a fan of coconut, then you can leave it out and make plain meringues. You could also add nuts, pulsed well in a food processor, in place of the coconut to create a different flavor. The coconut adds a texture you won’t find in a plain meringue, which I found to be really nice against the smooth and creamy lemon curd.
These are gluten free, not because I did anything to make them that way but because the ingredients are all gluten-free friendly. It’s nice to serve something like this when serving a group that may contain some people who do not or cannot eat gluten. Since it’s becoming more and more common, at least in my experience, to encounter those people, it’s great to have some recipes that don’t leave anyone out or make it hard for them to enjoy the meal. Any gluten-free readers who see something wrong with the recipe below, please let me know so that I can correct it. Enjoy!
Coconut Pavlovas with Lemon Curd and Raspberries
- 2 egg yolks (reserve the whites for the pavlovas)
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche OR 1/4 cup whipping cream + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 9 chunks
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- fresh raspberries for serving
- Combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium sized saucepan. Whisk together over medium low heat, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook and whisk until mixture reaches a pudding-like consistency.
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the creme fraiche or cream mixture all at once. Add in the butter, 3 chunks at a time, and stir to almost melt them before adding the next few pieces. Stir until all the butter is melted.
- Pour the lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve to remove any pieces of cooked egg.
- Let cool at room temperature for about an hour, then cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface so that a skin does not form, then refrigerate until cold or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Find a cup, bowl or glass that will serve at your guide for piping the meringue. It should be small enough to fit 6 circles on the cookie sheet with enough space for them to spread a bit. Trace the circle with a pencil on one side of the parchment, turn the parchment over on the cookie sheet and set it aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a hand mixer, beat the egg whites and the vanilla on high speed until mixture is very foamy.
- Add the sugar in a steady stream, and continue to beat on high until mixture is very thick.
- Fold in the cornstarch, vinegar and coconut.
- Transfer meringue to a large ziploc bag, cut off one corner, and pipe circles onto the parchment paper. With the back of a spoon smooth out the circles and make a crater in the center of each.
- Put pan into the oven, then reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and cook for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the sheet to a wire rack and cool completely.
- If not using right away, store in an airtight container.
Assemble the Pavlovas
- Divide the lemon curd evenly among the meringue circles.
- Place a few raspberries on top of the lemon curd, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.