Another post, another preserving idea! While fruit curds don’t last very long, they’re a great way to impart concentrated seasonal flavour to your Summer baking. I’ve been growing basil on my windowsill (a top tip from Alys Fowler is to buy a supermarket pot and separate them into a bigger vessel – the reason these plants die is they’re just too packed with plants in a small space, vying for nutrients) and wanted to try a sweet recipe with them. Basil pairs well with fruit and adds an aromatic note to these mini pavlovas with basil and lemon curd – and it wouldn’t be Summer without pav in some form! I used my go-to Mary Berry meringue recipe (which is gooey in the middle like pavlova), and which I have posted before. A great Summer staple to have in your baking repertoire!
Mary uses a ratio of 3 egg whites to 175g caster sugar. Preheat the oven to 120C/ Fan 100C/ Gas 1/2 and line 2 baking trays. Put the egg whites in a large, clean bowl and whisk until stiff but not dry. Add the sugar, a teaspoonful at a time, whisking well after each addition. The meringue should be stiff and glossy. Fit a piping bag with a 1 cm plain nozzle and spoon the mixture into the bag (I find standing the bag in a tall glass helps). Pipe the meringue into small nests – I did this by piping one full circle for the base and then round the edges for height. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, until creamy in colour and easy to lift from the baking tray. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and the meringues to cool completely. Next, make the lemon and basil curd. You will need:
75g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
Juice and zest of two large lemons
2 large handfuls of basil
3 medium eggs, beaten.
Put the butter, sugar, lemon juice, zest and basil in a heatproof bowl.
Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. When the butter has melted, pour the eggs into the mixture and cook until thickened, stirring often and making sure not to overheat the mixture or it will turn to scrambled eggs.
Discard the basil and leave to cool – the leftover curd can be poured into a sterilised jar, stored in the fridge and eaten within a week.
Remove the meringues from their trays and whip 175ml double cream with 1 tbsp icing sugar until the mixture holds its shape. Fold in 175ml yoghurt.
Fill the mini pavlovas with a teaspoon of the yoghurt cream in each cavity and a wee swirl of curd. Garnish with small basil leaves and serve straight away.
What are you baking this weekend? The curd is similarly delicious with yoghurt and granola for a decadent weekend breakfast – see below!
Filling recipe adapted from Good Housekeeping.