Friday, September 24, 2010

Lemon Pavlovas

 Lately, each Wednesday, my mother, sister, grandmothers, aunt and I have gathered together at one or another's home for what we like to call "project night."  Its an evening where we come together and work on whatever crafty project we want.  My aunt and grandmother crochet, my sister scrapbooks, my mother cross stitches, and I continue hand quilting a Christmas tree skirt that I have been working on for four years.  This gathering is some comfortable, so familiar. 

When I was little, project night occurred each week during the fall and winter months without fail.  Back then I used to latch hook or make endless little loomed pot holders. When I was little, my favorite part was snack time.  Now I am in charge of bringing the sweets each week.  My mother loves pavlovas with lemon filling and so since it was an unseemly 90 degrees out this past September Wednesday, I made a treat that still tastes like summer.

Meringue for Pavlovas adapted from the Joy of Cooking
8 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat the egg whites and cream of tarter together until foamy.  One tablespoon at a time, add the granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.  Add the vanilla and beat to combine.  Plop spoonfuls of meringue onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.  Bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours.  Allow to cool.  Fill with lemon cream right before serving or the lemon cream will dissolve the meringue.  Store in an airtight container.  Do not store in the refrigerator or freezer, the moisture will soften them.

Lemon Cream Filling
8 egg yolks
2/3 cup of lemon juice
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
5-6 drops lemon oil or 1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup heavy cream

Put egg yolks and sugar in a medium sauce pan.  Mix together.  Add lemon juice.  Put over medium heat and stir constantly. Do not allow to boil or the egg will curdle.  When the mixture thickens such that it coats the back of the spoon, remove from heat and add butter and  lemon oil.  Strain if necessary and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  Beat heavy cream until medium peaks form.  Fold lemon curd into the cream.

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