Lemon Raspberry Pavlovas

Bite-sized lemon, raspberry, and almond pavlovas that are dairy-free and gluten-free

A delicate tart dairy and gluten-free dessert, plus delicious! Lemon curd, raspberries, and a almond dacquoise meringue layered together as bite-sized pavlovas.

My sister visited me last week and presented me with a challenge: make a dairy-free, gluten-free dessert that anyone will want to eat.  So I immediately thought of macarons, but I wanted to make them a little bigger and a little, well, crunchier, for lack of a better word.  Hence, a pavlova, which uses nut flour as well as chopped nuts in a meringue to create a similar effect but with bits of nuts scattered throughout.  Pavlovas are usually big, at least 6″ in diameter or in sheets that can be cut into logs.  At least, that’s how I’ve usually seen them.  But I never am very good with instructions, so I made them into cookies instead, which by themselves are frankly delicious too.

Pavlovas are usually dacquoise meringue cakes with layers of cream and fresh fruit.  Fresh fruit is obvious permitted by my sister’s challenge, but cream could hardly be called dairy-free.  So I made a version of American Buttercream, but with cream of coconut instead.  I whipped up my powdered sugar and fake butter just as I would for the American Buttercream, then added some cream of coconut to get the consistency and flavor that was a bit more interesting and dare I say it: delicious. I spread a small amount of dairy-free buttercream on some of my almond dacquoise meringue cookies and sliced some raspberries in half.  These delicate berries could be used whole of course, but that would take up so much space on my cookie disc!

Dairy-free buttercream holds the fresh raspberries.

Dairy-free buttercream sticks the fresh raspberries upright to make a cup for the curd.

Tart dairy-free lemon curd is held by the ring of raspberries.

Glossy smooth dairy-free lemon curd, so tart it makes you pucker, is filled into the ring of raspberries.

Next I added my just-cooled dairy-free lemon curd into each of the raspberry rings and let them cool in the fridge.  Dairy-free lemon curd sets thicker than the standard curd, an additional benefit (besides meeting my sister’s dairy-free challenge) to using it in building a small pavlova.  I could have stopped right there, they looked so beautiful, but I continued.

A lemon raspberry pavlova prepared with dairy-free buttercream.

The lemon-curd in a ring of raspberries can be topped with a swirl of dairy-free buttercream or with another almond dacquoise disc.

That’s right, I made some with a swirl of coconut dairy-free buttercream and some I added my second almond dacquoise disc to make my miniature pavlovas.  They were stellar, and although my sister started out telling me she didn’t eat desserts, I found they were all gone by the end of her visit — and I happen to know I didn’t gobble all of them!

 

Almond Dacquoise Cookies

Gluten-free, delicate, chewy yet crunchy

Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 30 cookies
Author Kitty

Ingredients

  • 4.5 oz egg whites
  • 3.5 oz sugar
  • 1 tsp dehydrated egg whites
  • 3.5 oz powdered sugar
  • 3.5 oz almond flour
  • 2 oz chopped blanched almonds

Instructions

  1. 1.  Clean your mixing bowls very well to avoid any grease.

    2.  Sift the powdered sugar and almond flour together.

    3.  Whip the egg whites with a third of the sugar and the dehydrated egg whites until stiff (space-needle) peaks are achieved.

    4.  Add the remaining sugar and mix until just combined.

    5.  Gently fold in the dry ingredients, don't mix all the way.

    6.  Gently fold in the chopped almonds last, mix gently.

    7.  Chill for 5 minutes in the fridge to aid in piping.

    8.  Transfer mix into a piping bag and pipe spirals onto a silpat mat or parchment paper on a cookie sheet.

    9.  Bake at 325F (163C) for 5 minutes and then at 300F (149C) for 30-35 minutes.  They are done when you can touch the top and they don't wiggle near their bases.

    10.  Let cool completely before removing from the baking mats.

 

Dairy-free Coconut Buttercream

This Dairy-free buttercream is a variation of American Buttercream, but uses fake butter and Cream of coconut to achieve the same consistency and a delicious flavor.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 2 cups
Author Kitty

Ingredients

  • 8 oz fake butter (I used Nutiva Shortening, which uses red palm and coconut oils)
  • 8 oz powdered sugar
  • 4 oz Cream of Coconut

Instructions

  1. 1.  Cream your fake butter well with a paddle attachment.  Mine had hard lumps that needed to be mashed out well by mixing.

    2.  Gradually add powdered sugar or it will fly up in your face.

    3.  When the consistency is thick, add your Cream of coconut and/or other extracts you wish to use, such as vanilla.

Dairy-free Lemon Curd

This Lemon Curd is thicker than the standard recipe with cream and butter and much more tart.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 30 servings
Author Kitty

Ingredients

  • 550 g lemon juice fresh-squeezed is best
  • 550 g sugar granulated white
  • 550 g egg yolks (a few egg whites mixed in is ok)

Instructions

  1. 1. Freshly squeeze your lemon juice and add 300 g sugar in a pot.  Bring it to a gentle boil.

    2.  Stir your eggs to break up the yolks and when your juice starts boiling, mix the yolks with the sugar just to combine.

    3.  Temper your egg and sugar mixture by pouring in about a cup of hot juice while whisking vigourously.  Pour the mixed egg/juice/sugar mixture back into the pot and keep whisking over medium heat until the curd thickens.

    4.  Pour the curd into a prepared sieve over a bowl.

    5.  Cover your curd with cling film and cool it in the fridge until you're ready to use it.  It's good for about 2 weeks.