Here is another recipe adapted from Evelyn Rose, this time from ‘New Jewish Cuisine’ – new as in written in 1988. She is a bit like the ‘Delia Smith of Jewish cooking’ not necessarily all that interesting, but the recipes always work. One of my earliest posts is one of her recipes – A chicken pie to unify and lead the Jewish people, and I wrote then that I didn’t get on with her writing style and found the recipe difficult to follow. This time I definitely found it easier – maybe I have leant more about cooking and following recipes in the two years since that post, or maybe I am just more intuitively tuned to desserts. Probably a bit of both to be honest.
As long as I can remember, this dessert (originally known as lemon shaum) has been on of the ultimate special occasion desserts, made by both my Mum and Grandmother, and loved by all. As I have said previously, I am so blessed and privileged to come from such a rich food heritage: most of my earliest memories are of the dishes cooked by my grandmothers and great-grandparents – roasted duck, fried fish, split pea soup, chicken soup with kneidelach, lemon meringue pie, apple pie, and the best chocolate mousse on the planet. So when the family came together to celebrate my maternal grandparents’ diamond wedding anniversary, I really wanted to make them a special dessert.
|I’m the one in the top right hand corner flashing their knickers – as my Mum said ‘see, even then you were an exhibitionist.’|
The pavlova is incredibly light, with an almost foamy or marshmallowy texture in the middle. Originally this recipe is just with lemon, but we tried it with lime too once, and never looked back.
It is very sweet, but the lemon and lime cut through it and make it incredibly refreshing and not stodgy at all. It is great dish for any kind of dinner party as it can be made well in advance, and its rectangular shape means that it is easier to slice and portion than a traditional round pavlova.
If you are celebrating Rosh Hashanna (Jewish New Year) this week, this would make an ideal dessert at a festive meal, especially due to the hot weather forecasted.
Special thanks go to my Mum, both for teaching me how to cook, and for helping me with this dessert and providing the freezer space.
For the meringue:
4 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
225g (1 cup) caster sugar
2 level tsp cornflour (mix the cornflour into the caster sugar)
(I know this seems like a high number of ingredients for a meringue, but don’t skip any out. The meringue needs to be really sturdy to survive the freezer intact)
For the ice cream:
4 egg yolks
125g (½ cup) caster sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 lime
275ml (½ pint) double cream or 225ml non-dairy cream
I don’t mean to sound like a GSCE exam invigilator, but really do read all the steps before getting started. Be aware that you will need a lot of freezer space, and it is probably a massive pain in the arse to make if you don’t have access to a freestanding mixer. Sorry about the quality of the photos.
Preheat the oven to 150 c with fan. Line 2 baking trays with grease-proof/baking paper, each piece marked on the reverse with a rectangle drawn 28cm long and 12cm wide. This may seem tedious, but this is a centrepiece dessert, and so really worth making sure that the layers are the same size.
To make the meringue layers:
Whisk the egg whites, sprinkled with the cream of tartar, until they hold stiff, glossy peaks.
Mix together the caster sugar and the cornflour and then add it to the egg white mix, 1 tablespoonful at a time, whisking until stiff again after every addition.
Use a tiny amount of the meringue to 'stick' the baking paper onto the baking tray. Spoon the meringue equally into the two rectangles, and use a fork to even it out.
Put the meringues in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 140c and bake for an hour until the meringues are crisp to the touch and will lift off the paper easily (be very careful when you do this, it is fragile).
To make the ice cream filling:
Start this as soon as the meringue goes into the oven.
Put the yolks and sugar into a saucepan – stir until creamy, and then add the citrus juices and zest. Cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Take it off the heat and stir for a further minute, and then pour it into a bowl and refrigerate until completely cool. This will take about half an hour.
Whisk the cream until it stands in soft peaks, and then beat in the cold lemon custard/curd, one tablespoon at a time until completely amalgamated into the cream.
On a tray, spread out a piece of foil large enough to cover the entire pavlova. Place one rectangle of meringue on it, spread the filling evenly over the whole thing, and then lay the second meringue on top. Freeze uncovered until solid, and then wrap carefully in foil and keep in the freezer.
Take it out of the freezer about 20 minutes before serving – it should be served semi-frozen, so that the lemon-lime filling has the texture of soft ice cream. You can keep it in the freezer for up to 1 month.