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Lemon Pavlova

by . Featured in SIMPLY NIGELLA
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Introduction

Ever since my first pav in How To Eat, I have been something of a pavaholic. For me, acidity is key. So naturally, a lemon pavlova made perfect sense.

You will note there are a lot of flaked almonds required: that is because they are the topping of the pav and not mere decoration; the crunch they offer is essential.

I make this with a jar of shop-bought lemon curd, but obviously I wouldn’t stop you from making your own. Should you want, you can adapt my Passionfruit Curd recipe, omitting the passionfruit and adding the finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons to the butter at the melting stage.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Ever since my first pav in How To Eat, I have been something of a pavaholic. For me, acidity is key. So naturally, a lemon pavlova made perfect sense.

You will note there are a lot of flaked almonds required: that is because they are the topping of the pav and not mere decoration; the crunch they offer is essential.

I make this with a jar of shop-bought lemon curd, but obviously I wouldn’t stop you from making your own. Should you want, you can adapt my Passionfruit Curd recipe, omitting the passionfruit and adding the finely grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons to the butter at the melting stage.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Lemon Pavlova
Photo by Keiko Oikawa

Ingredients

Yields: 8-12 slices

Metric Cups
  • 6 egg whites
  • 375 grams caster sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • 50 grams flaked almonds
  • 300 millilitres double cream
  • 325 grams jar lemon curd (see intro)
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1¾ cups superfine sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 unwaxed lemons
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream
  • 1⅓ cups jar lemon curd (see intro)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350°F and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
  2. Sprinkle the cornflour over the meringue, then grate in the zest — a fine microplane is best for this — of 1 lemon and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
  3. Gently fold until everything is thoroughly mixed in. Mound onto the lined baking tray in a fat circle approximately 23cm/10inches in diameter, smoothing the sides and the top with a knife or spatula.
  4. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/130°C Fan/gas mark 2/300°F, and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, but don’t leave it anywhere cold as this will make it crack too quickly. If you think your kitchen is too cool, then leave the pavlova inside the oven with the door completely open. When you’re ready to eat, turn the pavlova onto a large flat plate or board with the underside uppermost — I do this before I sit down to the meal in question and let it stand till pudding time. This is so the tender marshmallow belly of the pav melds with the soft topping.
  6. Toast the flaked almonds, by frying them in a dry pan over a medium to high heat until they have started to colour. Shake the pan at regular intervals and don’t let them burn. This doesn’t take more than a minute or so. When they’re done, remove to a cold plate so that they don’t carry on cooking.
  7. Whip the cream until thick and airy but still with a soft voluptuousness about it, and set it aside for a moment.
  8. Put the lemon curd into a bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen it a little. Taste the lemon curd (if it’s shop-bought) and add some lemon zest and a spritz of juice if it’s too sweet.
  9. With a light hand, a glad heart and a spatula, spread the lemon curd on top of the meringue base. Now top with the whipped cream, peaking it rather as if it were a meringue topping. Sprinkle with the zest of the remaining lemon — you can grate this finely or coarsely as you wish — followed by the flaked almonds, and serve triumphantly.
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/gas mark 4/350°F and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
  2. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the meringue, then grate in the zest — a fine microplane is best for this — of 1 lemon and add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
  3. Gently fold until everything is thoroughly mixed in. Mound onto the lined baking tray in a fat circle approximately 23cm/10inches in diameter, smoothing the sides and the top with a knife or spatula.
  4. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/130°C Fan/gas mark 2/300°F, and cook for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, but don’t leave it anywhere cold as this will make it crack too quickly. If you think your kitchen is too cool, then leave the pavlova inside the oven with the door completely open. When you’re ready to eat, turn the pavlova onto a large flat plate or board with the underside uppermost — I do this before I sit down to the meal in question and let it stand till pudding time. This is so the tender marshmallow belly of the pav melds with the soft topping.
  6. Toast the sliced almonds, by frying them in a dry pan over a medium to high heat until they have started to colour. Shake the pan at regular intervals and don’t let them burn. This doesn’t take more than a minute or so. When they’re done, remove to a cold plate so that they don’t carry on cooking.
  7. Whip the cream until thick and airy but still with a soft voluptuousness about it, and set it aside for a moment.
  8. Put the lemon curd into a bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon or spatula to loosen it a little. Taste the lemon curd (if it’s shop-bought) and add some lemon zest and a spritz of juice if it’s too sweet.
  9. With a light hand, a glad heart and a spatula, spread the lemon curd on top of the meringue base. Now top with the whipped cream, peaking it rather as if it were a meringue topping. Sprinkle with the zest of the remaining lemon — you can grate this finely or coarsely as you wish — followed by the sliced almonds, and serve triumphantly.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
Meringue base can be made 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container until needed. Curd can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cover and store in fridge until needed. Stir before using. Almonds can be toasted a week ahead. When cold, store in an airtight container at room temperature until needed. Assemble the pavlova about 1 hour ahead of serving.

STORE:
Leftovers can be stored in fridge, loosely covered with clingfilm, for up to 1 day.

MAKE AHEAD:
Meringue base can be made 1 day ahead. Store in an airtight container until needed. Curd can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cover and store in fridge until needed. Stir before using. Almonds can be toasted a week ahead. When cold, store in an airtight container at room temperature until needed. Assemble the pavlova about 1 hour ahead of serving.

STORE:
Leftovers can be stored in fridge, loosely covered with clingfilm, for up to 1 day.

Tell us what you think

What 18 Others have said

  • Delicious! Pavlova filled with whipped double cream ideal as a dessert after a big meal, light decadent lush dessert after having a big meal ideal for Christmas time or any other occasion I love it! Enjoy!

    Posted by Odelle on 15th November 2022
  • Ive made this each year for Christmas for ages. I can't tell you how much everyone loves this pavlova. Its so fresh and just what you need after a heavy Christmas dinner. If you haven't given this a go then you're really missing out. It's one of my top 5 Nigella recipes.

    Posted by Trudy sampson on 3rd August 2022
  • There isn’t one of Nigella’s pavlova recipes that isn’t amazing. It is her signature dessert, and they are all wonderful! However, this is my favorite and the one I make the most. The sweet-sharp combo in this version is perfect. It tastes like lemon meringue pie that is living its best life! The quick lemon curd method, found in the recipe introduction, is definitely the way to go. It is much sharper than the store bought kind. This is definitely a recipe you’ll make over and over!

    Posted by joshv41680 on 22nd January 2022
  • Absolutely fab, friends are staggered by the deep fluffy mallow and crunchy crust of the meringue. I always make my own lemon curd as it is so much more refreshing than shop bought. The contrast of textures and flavours are a delight.

    Posted by Trici on 6th February 2021
  • Lemon pav base in the oven....its for my wife's b'day!

    Posted by Michaelgr on 26th April 2020
  • This one is delicious and, for that matter, so are all of Nigella's pavlova recipes. I made this Lemon Pavlova for the first time two years ago, for mothers' day here in Flanders, and then I tried the strawberry, the chocolate and last week the cappuccino, they were all ever so delicious. Also with passionfruit curd. Next week I'll be making it again for my husband's birthday.

    Posted by Clairette on 5th February 2020
  • Oh. My. Days. This is a gorgeous pudding and so so easy to make. I made the meringue base the night before then topped it and chilled it a couple of hours before we had dinner. The combination of flavours and textures is divine and everyone wanted seconds, even my husband who's not a Big Pudding Person. I used creme fraiche rather than cream and I think the whole thing is perfect. Highly recommended!

    Posted by Mrs Bevlar on 26th September 2019
  • Very impressive and elegant desert. Served this to my in-laws, and they were very pleased. The meringue base adds a nice crunch to this dessert.

    Posted by ursula.marie on 18th July 2019
  • Having loved Nigella's chocolate pavlova recipe (it's a proven winner), I made this lemon pavlova for the family Easter dinner this year, and it was an absolute hit. Everyone LOVED it, and I was very pleased with how it came out. Beautiful, show-stopping, and utterly delicious. I will definitely make it again! Highly recommend.

    Posted by egschneider on 25th April 2019
  • This is a much loved favourite of mine from Nigella, and is also a requirement after the 6 eggs yolks required to make her Gateau Breton recipe! I prefer to make my own curd using Nigella's recipe but I always keep a jar of shop-bought lemon curd on hand especially for when I cant be bothered to make it - such as tonight. With the texture and flavour of the toasted almonds, its an absolutely delicious combination!

    Posted by George739 on 16th November 2018
  • This is a showstopper dessert! Our guests raved how deliciously light this dessert was and demanded a second piece! I have enjoyed this on the second day but serve it fresh to guests.

    Posted by Lorrainepingree on 25th September 2018
  • Needless to say, this recipe is delightful. I found this pavlova is particularly delicious after its rested in the fridge the night after.

    Posted by Bahboo on 27th August 2018
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