This show-stopping dessert is a New Zealand (and Australian) classic reportedly created in honor of the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova when she visited the Southern Hemisphere. Our version delivers a wonderful combination of sweet meringue crunch and velvety tart lemon curd. The meringue is somewhat fragile--expect it to crack and crumble a bit as you slice it into individual servings. For the best results, avoid making the meringue on a humid or rainy day. The extra moisture in the air may prevent it from drying and crisping properly.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the lemon curd for up to 1 week; bring to room temperature before assembling the pavlova. The cooled meringue can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (not the refrigerator) for up to 1 day.
Tips: To bring an egg to room temperature, submerge it (in the shell) in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
A nonreactive bowl, pan or baking dish--stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass--is necessary when cooking with acidic foods, such as lemon, to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart off colors and/or flavors.
When egg whites are beaten to “soft” peaks, the whites will still be soft enough to curl over when a beater is turned upside down. The whites are considered “stiff” peaks when they remain stiff and upright.
Note: Superfine sugar is sugar that dissolves instantly. It is available in the baking section of most supermarkets, but if you can't find it, process regular granulated sugar in a food processor or blender until ground very fine.
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