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M F Productions - event design

Notes From Marinda 

Award Winning Dessert

I host an Academy Awards Party every year. Everyone brings an hors d’oeuvre to share and I provide dinner and dessert. Just a few weeks ago there was a recipe in the SF Chronicle that looked too delicious not to make. Pavlova – meringue with lemon curd and winter citrus.

The day before the party, I prepped the fruit – red grapefruit, navel oranges and blood oranges. I cut the ends off and then cut the peel and the pith off around each fruit. Then I cut out the segments, leaving the membrane behind. (I did squeeze each membrane and get a good sized cup of juice from all of them.) I put each fruit in a separate bowl, covered the bowls and put them in the refrigerator.

The day of the party, about 5-6 hours before party time, I made the meringue:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 Tblsp cornstarch

3 large eggs, separated, yolks reserved

Pinch kosher salt

1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar

1 tsp vanilla extract

    • Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets.
    • In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar and cornstarch
    • Put egg whites and salt in mixing bowl of Kitchen Aid mixer with whisk attachment (or in large bowl with hand held mixer).
    • Mix on medium speed until whites hold soft peaks.
    • Add 3 Tablespoons of cold water and continue beating until the whites again hold soft peaks.
    • Increase speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar cornstarch mixture. When all the sugar has been added, beat one minute more.
    • Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Increase speed to high and beat the egg whites until they are stiff, glossy peaks.
    • Transfer the meringue to the baking sheets. You can make one large meringue. I made individual meringues, scooping out a 1/2 to 3/4 cup portions five to a baking sheet.

    • With the back of a spoon, I spread out the meringue into a circle with an indented center.
    • Bake the meringue for 45 minutes. This guarantees a crunchy outside and a chewy inside.

    • Turn the over off and crack the door open with a wooden spoon or other implement. The meringue will need to cool for an hour or two. Once the oven was cool, I closed the oven door and left them in the oven – ready for when I was going to assemble the dessert.

Lemon Curd – My neighbor has lots of lemons and she volunteered to make the lemon curd with her Meyer lemons.   I’ll provide a recipe for the lemon curd next post. As I have egg yolks leftover from making the meringue, they are perfect for making more lemon curd.

Assembling the dessert

    • Put an individual meringue on each plate
    • Fill the center of the meringue with about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of lemon curd
    • Arrange segments of orange, red grapefruit and blood orange on top of the curd. Add a fork and serve.   YUM!

I was serving dessert to 10 to 12 guests so I increased the recipe by one half. I had 12 individual meringues. There ended up being 10 of us, so there were two meringues leftover. Two nights later my neighbor and I had the dessert again. The meringue is definitely best the day it’s made. It was a lot chewier two nights later. Although, that didn’t stop us from eating it. It was still delicious.