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December 18, 2017
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Dreamy LEMON PAVLOVA and New Year’s Resolutions!
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        IT’S GETTING DARK IN WHAT SEEMS LIKE THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY NOW. With the clocks turned back, the sun is being forced to yield to night way to early. Still, I do love winter sunsets with just the outlines of the trees etched out in Paynes Gray--my favorite oil paint color. AT THIS TIME EVERY YEAR, it’s always the same for me. I START TO GET MORE THOUGHTFUL, more appreciative, MORE “DREAMY.”
        After a crazy summer of running around like a chicken with its head cut off, the cupcakes flying around me in every which way, I finally have the time to “catch up” ---refocus, reevaluate, and ask myself the question--- “WHAT IS IT THAT I DO WANT??” A lot of times, my path has changed and I want to veer off ”the assigned route.” That’s a good thing. BLINDERS TO THE WORLD CAN ONLY GET YOU SO FAR—then you finally have to look up and reset your path to what feels good for you now.
        I HOPE THAT YOU HAVE SOME TIME TO BE “DREAMY” OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. With January 1st almost upon us, you’ll be ahead of the New Year’s resolution’s game. And because those beginning of the year vows will be rooted in what your heart is telling you, they may even stick this time.
        AND WHILE YOU PONDER YOUR FUTURE, HERES’ A DREAMY LEMON DESSERT TO INDULGE IN. For me, there’s nothing like the sweet bite of citrus in the winter. And this “pie” is pleasingly so--- tart, creamy and surely the stuff that dreams are made of. Don’t tell anyone, but it’s even gluten-free.
        I MAKE IT EVERY CHRISTMAS. You basically whip up some egg whites with sugar, and a little cream of tartar. Swirl it into a pie pan or right on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at a low temp. Meanwhile, the yolks are used to make an easy lemon curd that’s chilled and folded into a lot of freshly whipped cream. Spoon it all on top of the meringue, and let the dreams begin.


LESSONS Learned:
1. When you whip the egg whites, make sure that the bowl and beaters that you use have no traces of oil on them. And that not even a speck of egg yolk has gotten into the whites when you separate them. The fat will stop the whites from increasing in volume.
2. It’s easier to grate the lemon rind first before juicing the lemon.
3. Make sure the lemon curd is completely cool before you fold in the whipped cream.
4. I usually make mine in a pie dish because it’s easier to transport,and there's no issues getting off of the pan. But it is very pretty baked on the parchment. So, If you decide to put the meringue right onto the parchment, make sure to sprinkle the parchment all over with water first, and most importantly, bake it long enough. That way the meringue will not stick.
5. If the meringue cracks in places, don’t worry, that’s all part of the pavlova’s beauty.


For the meringue:
4 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar

For the lemon curd:
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon grated lemon rind, from about 2 lemons
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
fresh berries as garnish (optional)

Make the meringue:
        Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 250 degrees F. Butter a 9” pie dish, or line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. If using parchment, draw a 9 inch circle onto the paper, flip the paper over to the clean side and then sprinkle the parchment with water, making sure to cover outside the circle. Set aside.
        In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, on medium speed, beat the whites until foamy, about a minute. Add the cream of tartar and beat to combine. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar. Turn up to medium high and beat until thick and shiny about 5-6 minutes. They will be beaten enough when you see the beater leaving defined tracks in the egg whites. And when you lift the beater(s) out of the mixture, the peaks will slightly flop over onto themselves.
        Spread into the prepared pan or inside the 9” circle on the parchment. Try to stay about a ½” away from the edge. Making a slight indentation in the center of the meringue with a spoon. Bake for 60-75 minutes until dry to the touch. Cool completely.

In the meantime:
Make the lemon curd:
        In a small heavy saucepan, add all of the curd ingredients and whisk together until smooth. Switch to a spoon and stir the mixture constantly over low heat, making sure to get into the edges of the pot, until it just begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
        If you lift the spoon out of the curd, you should be able to draw a clean line across the back of the spoon without it spreading. A thermometer (a really good tool to have in your kitchen) should read around 175-185 degrees F. If you like, at this point, you can strain the mixture. But, I never do. Chill in the fridge until completely cooled.

Assemble the Pavlova:
        If baked on parchment, transfer the meringue to a platter. (There's a slight chance it might stick if it's underbnaked. Don't worry. If that happens, just carefully cut the paper away near the meringue.)
        Add the cream to the bowl of a stand mixer, or if using a hand mixer, into a medium size bowl. Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Don’t over beat. Stir about 1 cup of the whipped cream into the cooled curd to lighten it up. Then fold in about ¾ of the rest of the cream. Taste for tartness. Fold in the rest, if desired, or serve on the side.
        Scoop big spoonfuls onto the center of the meringue, decoratively swirling the top. Chill the pavlova in the fridge until ready to serve. If you like, scatter some berries on top.

Makes 8 servings.     YUM!
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