The other day, I was sitting at my friend’s house and the Food Network was on. It was supposed to just be background noise, but Giada at Home came on and she was doing a dessert episode. Obviously, it immediately became the center of my attention. She made three desserts, and every single one sounded absolutely amazing! I swore that I would make all three of them. So far, I’m one down, two to go!
The first thing she made is the treat I’ll be sharing with you today. It’s a Russian little delicacy called Pavlova. Of the three recipes on the show, this one intimidated me the most, which is exactly why I made it first. It’s a delicate lemon meringue cloud, filled with a sweet cheese mixture and topped with fresh berries. The filling and topping sounded easy, but the meringue almost had me running for the hills.
I was AMAZED how simple the Pavlovas ended up being. Plus, they’re made with just a few simple ingredients.
So if my word means anything to you, trust me when I say you can totally make these. They take a long time to actually bake, but as for the actual work required, it’s a snap.
The original recipe called for mascarpone cheese. I don’t know about the grocery stores by you, but mascarpone by me is crazy expensive! I was not about to spend $6 on it for this filling. So I took it out of my version of the recipe below, and made a mascarpone substitute using cream cheese, sour cream and milk. I found the cream cheese substitute was just as good! Also, in case you’re wondering what kind of extract is in that photo, it’s lemon extract, which you can you can use (3 teaspoons) in place of the lemon zest.
Anyway, check it out!
Lemon Pavlovas with Berries
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 brick cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk (heavy whipping cream if you have it. I didn’t.)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Put an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper if you have it. (I did not. It still worked fine, but it was just harder to remove from the pan to to clean.)
Beat the egg whites for about 2 minutes until thick. At medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Add the salt, cream of tartar and lemon zest.
Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks. If you’re using a stand-up mixer, it should take about 4 minutes. It took me about 10 minutes with a hand mixer.
Drop 1/2 cupfuls of the mixture onto a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon, make a small well in the center of each meringue.
Bake for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely in the oven for 2 hours.
While the meringues are hanging out in the oven, prepare the filling and berries. In a small bowl, toss together the berries, sugar and lemon juice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream and milk. Add the vanilla and sugar. Blend until smooth.
When the meringues are ready, spoon the cream cheese mixture into the well. Top with berries. Enjoy and feel super fancy!