When it comes to desserts, I'm a picky eater. And I think you should be too. This, coming from the Dietitian who helps parents prevent and manage picky eating with their kids - go figure! Although you should allow yourself to indulge in something sweet regularly - even daily - it's important to be selective in which treats you choose so that you can really make your indulgence count and enjoy every bite. As we all know, dessert foods can pack a punch in the calorie, sugar and fat department, so regularly over-indulging, or eating desserts mindlessly can result in unhealthy weight gain and negative health consequences. Personally, I spoil my (and my kids) sweet palates by avoiding most store-bought, processed desserts and indulging in home-made real-food desserts that are made from scratch. My favourite desserts usually involve either chocolate or lemon, so I often opt out of any dessert that doesn't include these ingredients and that I know I won't love.
This version of Pavlova is my absolute favourite, not only because it bursts with lemon flavour, but also because it's just sweet enough, and offers a healthy dose of antioxidants from all of the delicious berries. It also reminds me of my grandmother, who had a passion and talent for baking and used to make this "Angel Pie" often. My version contains a bit less sugar and a half the butter than most recipes, but I find that it's just as delicious.
Light and Lemony Angel Pie
*Make Meringue first as it takes some time. You can make the lemon curd and whipped cream while it's baking.*
Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F
Place egg whites and salt into a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until colour starts to turn from clear to white, about two minutes.
Increase speed and slowly add sugar. Mix until firm, shiny peaks form (marshmellowy consistency), about 3 minutes. Don't over-mix.
Remove bowl and add sifted corn starch and vanilla. Gently fold into merigue mixture.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and using a rubber spatula, scoop merigue mixture into the middle of the parchment paper lined baking sheet, carefully forming a circle (about 9 inches around) hollowed out slightly in the middle (where you will put the lemon filling). Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 1 hour (until slightly golden brown around edges), turn oven off and allow to sit for at least one hour, cooking inside oven.
Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and bring it to a simmer over high heat; reduce the heat to low and keep the water at a bare simmer.
Place all of the ingredients except the butter in a glass bowl and whisk to combine. Set the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water and whisk constantly until the yolks thicken and the mixture forms ribbons when the whisk is lifted from the bowl, about 7 to 10 minutes.
Remove from stove, mix in butter one tablespoon at a time until all are melted and incorporated. Allow to cool, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.
Place all ingredients into your clean standing mixer bowl with clean whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Gently and carefully spread lemon curd evenly into the hollow part of the cooled meringue (meringue is fragile)
Evenly spread whipped cream on top of lemon curd and top with berries.
Enjoy! Serves 8 - 10