Hey Guys!!! It’s a bit later in the day than I normally post, and I almost saved this for tomorrow so that it’s up first thing in the morning like usual, but I like this recipe too much to wait. Because as you know, when I get excited about something, I sort of can’t contain myself and just have to share…
Real quick tho, I just poured myself a cup of coffee and when I glanced over at the counter and saw my big bottle of vanilla sitting there, I thought ‘huh, let’s give that a go’. Turns out a splash of vanilla in my coffee is a game changer. So good! Ok, back to business…
I LOVE THESE PAVLOVAS!!! I love them so much. They are so delicate and the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Not to mention that I will KILL a fresh fruit dessert any day of the week. I’ve been on the lookout for fresh rhubarb for a couple of weeks now because I’ve been just dying to make something with it. I love sour stuff. Granny Smiths are my apple jam, those yellow manzanilla mangos from Mexico that come around from time to time…so much love for those. So naturally, rhubarb is another favorite of mine that I can’t wait to use every spring. I still remember the first time I ever tasted it like it was yesterday. I was hanging out at my friend Mindi’s after school one day when we were in high school, and her mom was making hot rhubarb jam on the stove. She spread some onto a piece of toast and handed it to me, and I was done for. It was sweet and sour and comforting all at the same time, and from that point on I knew that rhubarb was one of those things I needed in my life…
Over the weekend, a friend texted me to let me know that she found some local rhubarb down at a fresh market our town was having, and I literally dropped what I was doing to immediately run out and grab some. And then later in the day, Matt came home with more for me. So needless to say, every time I opened the fridge on Saturday, my heart smiled a little bit when I saw it sitting there just knowing that I finally had some on hand to play with. This recipe seemed like the perfect reason to break it out on Monday and IT WAS. My friends at Vermont Creamery sent me a HUGE box of goodies to develop with last week and their Madagascar Vanilla Crème Fraîche was among the amazing products involved. I felt like I needed to break that out too and oh my god am I glad that I did. You guys, it is ridiculous how good it is. It’s creamy and luscious, and has the perfect amount of sweet and clean vanilla flavor that pairs perfectly with the sourness in the rhubarb compote here. When I went to clean up after the photo shoot, I probably ate like a half a cup just licking the knife…
These pavlovas could not be easier to make. They do take their time in the oven, but they are so low maintenance that it doesn’t even matter. I love everything about this recipe, and if you make it, I think you will too. I prefer to make them mini so that everyone has their own little sweet package to themselves, but if you want it to be more of a formal dessert, just make one big one and slice to serve. Either way…ENJOY!!
Lemon Pavlovas with Vanilla Bean Creme Fraiche and Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup creme fraiche ( I use Vermont Creamery Vanilla Madagascar)
- 2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- powdered sugar for dusting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites and salt until firm peaks form. Add in the sugar and continue whisking until shiny and stiff.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly spray with nonstick baking spray.
- Gently fold the cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla into the egg white mixture until well combined. Spoon 1/3 cup of the batter into each of 9 rounds on the prepared pan and gently spread them 4 inches in diameter. (you may have a little bit leftover to distribute evenly amongst them all, just go with it)
- Bake for 1 1/2 hours and then turn the oven off, leaving the pan in the oven to rest for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a medium sized saucepan, mix together the rhubarb, water, and honey and bring to a simmer. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb breaks down and the mixture thickens. Taste for sweetness and add a little more honey if needed.
- To build the desserts, spoon out the creme fraiche evenly between each pavlova and gently spread around their centers. Next spoon a few tablespoons of the rhubarb compote on top of the creme, and sprinkle some of the fresh strawberries on top of that. It's rustic guys, we don't need perfect measurements, just go with it. Dust the pavlovas with a little bit of powdered sugar and ENJOY!