The Washington Post

Pavlova With Lemon Curd

Pavlova With Lemon Curd 8.000

Laura Chase de Formigny for The Washington Post; styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post

Oct 13, 2020

This pavlova recipe, as written, demonstrates a few basic concepts of chemistry, and can be used to learn much more if you and your kids think like scientists as you bake. Here, terms such as “emulsify,” “acid,” “foam” and “dehydrate” are explained in the context of meringue and lemon curd recipe. An emulsion is when two liquids that don’t mix — oil and water, for instance — are combined by suspending tiny particles of one liquid into the other. Acids are a type of molecule that donates some of its protons to other molecules, and can cause many different types of chemical reactions. A foam is created by trapping pockets of gas in a liquid or solid. To dehydrate something is to remove water from it. Let the recipe demonstrate each concept and then quiz your kids after you cook. No, it is not necessary to understand the science behind the recipe to get a crispy baked meringue with a lush curd, but the dish can be a sweet reward for a lesson learned.

Storage Notes: The meringue can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • For the lemon curd
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 3 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams/1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • For the pavlova
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons ​acid​, such as vinegar, fresh lemon juice or cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Fresh fruit, such as raspberries, blackberries, strawberries or your favorite fruit, for serving

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Make the curd: Fill a small saucepan with 2 inches of water. Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place a medium nonreactive bowl on top of the pan to make a double-boiler, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water. Add the lemon juice, sugar and egg yolks, and stir to combine. Add the butter and continue to stir constantly to emulsify the curd, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into another bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour.

Make the meringue: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 225 degrees.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a marker, draw a 9-inch circle, with a dinner plate acting as a guide. Flip the paper over so the marker is on the bottom. This way you can still see the circle without getting ink on your meringue.

In a large metal bowl, using a mixer (hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment) whip the egg whites and acid​ on high speed until they increase in volume and become a soft foam​, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, a few spoonfuls at a time. Continue to beat until you get stiff, glossy peaks that stand straight up when you lift the mixer’s beaters, about 2 minutes.

Fold in the cornstarch and vanilla, then pour the ​meringue​ right into the center of the circle, and use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to evenly spread it out.

Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, then turn the oven off without opening the door and leave the pavlova to ​dehydrate ​in the warm oven for another 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Transfer the pavlova to a plate. Spoon the curd into meringue, top with fresh berries and serve.

Recipe Source

From food writer and cookbook author Allison Robicelli.

Tested by Ann Maloney.

Email questions to the Food Section.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 312

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 9g 14%

Saturated Fat: 5g 25%

Cholesterol: 153mg 51%

Sodium: 48mg 2%

Total Carbohydrates: 54g 18%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 51g

Protein: 5g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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