Lemon pavlova recipe

Learn how to make a lemon pavlova – a dessert made of meringue with cream and almonds on top – and amaze your friends and family. Delicious!

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. Remember you can read the transcript at any time.

Transcript

Nigella: I make the pavlova’s billowy base in advance.

To do this, I start by whisking egg whites. What I’m waiting for is the stage at which they form satiny peaks, then I patiently beat in my caster sugar one spoon at a time. Patience is not one of my outstanding qualities but it’s necessary here. I derive great satisfaction from watching the meringue slowly become glossier.

Once the mixture is stiff and shiny, I turn meringue into pavlova-base-to-be with the addition of two ingredients. First, cornflour. Usually this is combined with vinegar in a pav, but this being a lemon pavlova, I’m using lemon juice, as well as the finely grated zest, which is where all the flavour resides. 

Then it’s a case of just folding everything gently together.

Now a little culinary crafting. I dab the four corners of a sheet of greaseproof paper with the mixture I have left on the whisk, which will act as a glue to stop the sheet slipping on the baking tray.

I adore how the snowy marshmallow spills onto the sheet in all its alpine glory. I’m aiming for a regular circular shape or as regular as I can get it, which means a lot of flattening and smoothing but I find this rather restful.

It'll take about an hour to cook, and then it can be left to cool in the switched-off oven. I'll wait till just before my friends arrive tomorrow before piling it up into a pavlova proper.

The pavlova base is cooled – well, it's been cooled for a while and resting. Cracks will appear, but don’t worry! This happens and besides, as ever, I flip it over. I always do this because I love the way the tender part of the pavlova base, like a marshmallow, hits the smoothness of the cream.

But actually, I am departing from tradition here because what goes on next is not cream but lemon curd. I’m happy to use lemon curd from a jar, providing it is good and zingy, and if not, you can always add some lemon zest and lemon juice.

Don’t be alarmed if some of it drips down the side of the meringue base. I rather love that. Push it to the sides. It will drip more as it stands. And I shall drape the curd with the cream, whipped but not too whipped!

Coax it to the edges ...

I have got a lot of almonds I have toasted, by which I mean I’ve tossed them about in a dry hot frying pan until they are this colour. You need a lot. This isn’t just decoration, it’s so that you get a good amount of crunch. I always think of this a bit like, erm, an upside-down lemon meringue pie.

And finally, some lemon zest … and I just can’t wait to sink into this lemony lusciousness!

© BBC

Discussion

Language level

Advanced: C1

Submitted by OlaIELTS on Mon, 11/05/2020 - 18:12

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Yes. I would. I like confectionery, pastries and dough desserts.

Submitted by farid007 on Sun, 10/05/2020 - 06:35

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Seems not challenging. But how many egg white do we need to use for its base?

Submitted by mirey on Thu, 07/05/2020 - 10:21

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I have never made a pavlova cake, but I would definitely try it someday...

Submitted by Wafaa Ibrahim on Wed, 22/04/2020 - 15:07

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She is talking as if she is saying a poem. She’s very sensitive person.I think Cooking for her is a hobby and enjoying moments.I always say for my family we eat to enjoy our times and god’s givings not only for being full.

Submitted by farid007 on Wed, 18/03/2020 - 13:27

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This cake looks easy to prepare. Although finding ingredients looks challenging to find, it is simple cake and looks delicious. I like cakes when it has cream spread around and it has got taste of fruits. I would definitely try pavlova. Is it ok adding instead of lemon other fruits taste like cranberry or strawberry jam? I can recommend you trying another interesting cake which is called Karpatka. I really liked that cake it tasted like eclair but it has got some fruit on top which made it even better than eclair. I guess I love making fruity cakes, especially the one which soaked in smell and lusciousness of strawberry.

Submitted by Charlie on Sat, 20/04/2019 - 07:49

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"I always do this because I love the way the tender part of the pavlova base, like a marshmallow, hits the smoothness of the cream." Could anybody explain the meaning of "hit" in the above sentence? I'm not sure what she means- whether she's saying that she likes the cream to be draped on top of the tender part of the pavlova base or that the bottom part of the pavlova base tastes smoother than cream. I'd appreciate your help. Thank you!
Hi Charlie What I understand is your first idea, i.e. that she likes the combination of the cream on the top of tender part of the base. All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Juan R. Velazq… on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 15:20

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well this recipe seems to be easy to follow and the pie looks appetizing. i have never had this dessert before. i am intrigued now and i'd like to taste it. not sure if i can find caster sugar in my country but i guess any type of sugar can be used, although it might change the taste a little bit. i am not well-known for making desserts within my family and honestly i rather eat then, specially when my mom makes them.

Submitted by AdryX on Tue, 15/05/2018 - 18:00

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I love pavlova. I have cooked it three times already, the first two times I was desperate because of the cracks. The third time, though, I gave up, and now I am very relieved to know that is normal!!! I did not put creme on top, since this is not a very light dessert. instead, I used Greek yogurt and fresh fruit on top. It was delicious! The yogurt is fresh and it helps to "wash away" the sweetness of the meringue. Honestly it was not my idea, I read it on the Internet, and loved it.

Submitted by Roseline Nwaoha on Wed, 18/04/2018 - 14:26

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I am afraid, this recipe looks a little complicated to me. Some of the ingredients are not readily available in my country. I am wondering if 'caster sugar' is the same as what we call 'icing sugar', I don't know where to get almonds nor lemon curd. Anyway, we do not often take sweets but I don't mind trying this recipe if I can find the ingredients. Thank you

Hi Roseline,

Caster sugar is different from icing sugar -- it has smaller grains than normal white sugar, but is not as fine as icing sugar.

I hope you get to try the pavlova one day!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by LAUWICK on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 10:39

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I don't think that I would try out this recipe although I love lemon curd, because it is not light enough for my diet. I like to make pancakes that in french we call "crêpes" ! I really enjoy making apple pies and apple crumbles too. These recipes can moreover offer a great range of possibilities with different kinds of fruits.

Submitted by roro star on Wed, 14/02/2018 - 11:01

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i'm in love with arabian sweets ,most of then are entity of a kind of a thin layers of pastry and heavy thick cream usually made by hand . I adore the outstanding taste of the arabian ghee and the nice refreshing color of the ground or cracked pistachios on top. I love you my favorite chef

Submitted by MohamedAdelCMA on Sun, 11/02/2018 - 08:24

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she's really quite pretty

Submitted by Sonya3 on Thu, 08/02/2018 - 10:41

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It's really dificult to understand well this explanation. There is a delicious pie: Sacher Pie

Submitted by Maciej on Fri, 02/02/2018 - 00:32

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Task 1. Correct order - done. Task 2. ?

Submitted by Camiladub on Tue, 02/01/2018 - 17:31

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OMG I could understand 30% of what she said only. But it's ok. I'm gonna study hard. British English is difficult. I really want to do this recipe. It looks like delicious.

Submitted by Khaled v on Sun, 24/12/2017 - 17:30

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Kindly I want to ask about the composition of the cream above the Limon curd?
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