Pavlova filled with lemon curd and Grand Marnier soaked blackberries

I love my rotisserie chicken, but I am also a dessert fan.  I have been whipping up these Easter worthy desserts for my columns in the Joplin Globe, MO and Claremore Daily Progress in Claremore, Ok.

I made a Pavlova, which hails from New Zealand.

Pavlova is a meringue dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova (a New Zealand chef created this in her honor). It has a crusty exterior but the center is soft and tastes like a marshmallow. I used vanilla and coconut extract to flavor my meringue, but you can be playful and use anything from almond to raspberry extract (just plan your filling accordingly).

You can fill a Pavlova with anything, too, but I filled mine with store-bought lemon curd, whipped topping and Grand Marnier marinated blackberries. If you don’t have Grand Marnier, it may not be worth buying a bottle because it’s expensive. You could substitute sherry, another orange liqueur, or omit the alcohol and just soak berries in 2 tablespoons orange juice, if desired. This also excellent with blueberries or raspberries or a combination.

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Pavlova’s are light and so even if you’re stuffed after the meal, you can still squeeze in a little dessert.

Enjoy

Pavlova with Lemon Curd and Grand Marnier Soaked Blackberries

For the Pavlova:

5 large egg whites

1 ¼ cups of granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon coconut extract

2 teaspoons corn starch

Parchment paper

For the filling

1 (10-ounce) jar lemon curd

2 cups whipped topping

1 ½ cups fresh blackberries or raspberries

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

For the Pavlova:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Place a large piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

Beat egg whites on high speed (or meringue setting if your mixer has one) for 1 minute. Then gradually start adding the sugar, only 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Then fold in both types of extract and corn starch.

Spread mixture onto parchment paper, making it an 11-inch circle of oval. Shape with spatula; you want the sides slightly higher than the center because you’re going to fill the center.

Bake for 60-70 minutes. Then turn off the oven, but leave the door ajar and leave the Pavlova in the oven another hour.

The center will be collapsed, which is fine because you want to fill it.

While it cools, place blackberries in a bowl and add Grand Marnier. Set aside.

When it’s time to fill Pavlova, fill with whipped topping and spread that in the center. Then take teaspoons at a time of the lemon curd and drop dollops around the center. Cover with blackberries and serve. Note: for the sake of the photo, I left space to see the lemon curd to show contrasting colors, but I would cover the top in berries when serving.

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