Let’s have a chat about the pavlova – and no, I don’t care whether the Australians or the Kiwis invented it first, but I happen to think that Nigella has reinvented it. No longer is the pav a flattish disc of chewy meringue with fake cream and chopped fruit salad over the top. Now it’s crispy on the outside and spongey within. Now it’s scented with lemon, or coffee, or chocolate, or even coconut. It’s piled high with berries or tropical fruits, or doused in lemon curd, dusted with chocolate, and drizzled in cream. Nigella has made the pav…special. Special enough for Christmas special.
(As an aside, at Australia Day this year, two of us were on dessert duty. We both, without consultation, made Nigella pavs: my friend made the chocolate raspberry version, and I prepared the lemon curd pav. There was no clear favourite in the room.)
These days we do the big family lunch thing at my sister’s house. She has the most kids, and likes to do the whole table styling thing, so it makes sense to trash her place. Usually hubby does a trifle, but this year there’s a request for my lemon pav – which is, of course, Nigella’s lemon pav.
It’s got lemon rind and lemon juice in the meringue, and is topped with a whole jar of lemon curd, a carton of cream and some toasted almonds for texture. It absolutely looks the part as a show-stopper for a Christmas dessert.
Oh and the lemon juice? It serves two purposes: it cuts through the sweetness of the sugar, and it provides that acid element that helps keep the outside crisp and the inside squidgy. Balsamic or red wine vinegar does the same job in her chocolate and raspberry pavlova (another highly requested version when it’s my turn to bring dessert) and white wine vinegar is used in the cappuccino pav (or cap pav) that I’ll be trying out over the summer.
Anyways, this lemon curd pavlova is, I suspect, about to be our new Christmas classic…although Miss T is still insisting a mini trifle is made just for her.
And the best part of making a pav? Turning the leftover egg yolks into ice cream. Multi-tasking, no waste baking at its best.
What’s your favourite Christmas dessert?