I have a number of weirdo food quirks:
1. I eat all the crust off a slice of bread first, in a circle, until all that’s left is the center
2. I suck on Cheetos until they’re soggy, then chew and swallow
3. I eat french fries two at a time, and they have to be identical in length. I’ll sort them first, to match each fry with a similar-sized french fry companion, then eat them together
4. I don’t like cold foods touching hot foods
5. I like to eat desserts one layer at a time
Cake, then frosting. Crust, then pie filling. Whipped cream, then Jell-O. Bars present their own issues, but that’s another story for another, messier day.
On the evening I served these ethereal splendors to Mom and Handsome Greg, I took care in sequestering the creamy filling from the cloud of meringue. Yet somehow, a crispy shard of meringue found its way onto my forkful of sweetened mascarpone, stained with blackberry juice.
How could this have happened? I mean, it’s not like I’d had three glasses of wine, or anything.
And then a light bulb turned on in my mouth, or maybe in my head. In that one, incredible you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter-no-you-got-your-peanut-butter-in-my-chocolate moment, I finally understood the desire to construct “the perfect bite” of food.
While each element of the recipe – the light, crunchy meringue, the duvet of butter-sweet cheese, and the fresh, tart blackberry sauce – is tasty in its own right, together they are magical.
So what are your food hang-ups?
Continue reading for the Lemon Pavlovas with Blackberry Sauce recipe
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 12 ounces frozen blackberries, thawed
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup of cold water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 200⁰ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Beat the egg whites until thick, about 2 minutes. Continue mixing on medium speed while gradually adding the 1 cup of sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Add the salt, cream of tartar, and lemon zest. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Drop the mixture in ½ cupfuls onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the center of each mound. Bake on the center oven rack for 2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool completely in the oven for 2 hours.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine the ½ cup of sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Stir in the blackberries and mash with a potato masher.
- Simmer until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat. Refrigerate until needed.
- In a small bowl, combine the softened mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.
- Spoon a dollop of the mascarpone cream into the well of each meringue. Top with the blackberry sauce and serve.