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Pavlova for Two with Raspberry Curd
Make the Pavlova: Preheat the oven to 350˚F (175˚C) . Mix the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth and set aside.
In a clean bowl, add the egg white and sugar and mix with a hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-low until combined, less than 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Add the cornstarch mix and food coloring, starting with one drop of the food coloring, incorporating it with the mixer then repeating until the color is to your liking. Continue to whisk until stiff, glossy, peaks begin to form, about 3-5 more minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a spatula to scrape the meringue out of the bowl directly onto the parchment paper and shape it into about a 4-inch circle. The meringue should be at least 1-inch high. Use the spatula or the back of a spoon to create a shallow bowl-like shape in the center, pushing the edges up a bit (this will create a space for the raspberry curd to sit in later).
Transfer the baking sheet to the oven, and immediately reduce the heat to 220˚F (105˚C). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then turn off the oven and let it sit in the oven for a few hours until fully cooled. Do not open the oven door throughout any of the cooking and cooling processes. Remove from the oven at least 3 hours after turning it off.
Make the Raspberry Curd: Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl. If planning to use the curd soon after making, prepare an ice bath. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until fully melted. If the butter starts to bubble, lower the heat. Add raspberries, sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice and salt and whisk to combine. Cook for 7-9 minutes, until the mixture reaches at least 160˚F (70˚C) and has started to thicken like pudding.
Strain through the mesh strainer, discard any solids and stir lemon zest into the strained curd. Taste for seasoning and, if using soon, place in the ice bath and stir often to cool it down quickly. If using later, cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap (so a film doesn’t form) then place in the refrigerator to cool. Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the chocolate-covered strawberries: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make a double boiler by filling a medium saucepan with about 2” of water and bring the water to a simmer. Place chocolate and coconut oil in a medium metal, glass or other heat proof bowl and place the bowl over simmering water, ensuring the bottom of the bowl does not come into contact with the water.
Let the chocolate melt and stir with a heat resistant spatula until chocolate is completely melted and no chunks remain.
Remove the bowl from the heat and place on a kitchen towel. Dry the outside of the bowl completely. Holding one strawberry by its stem, gently dip it in melted chocolate about ¾ of the way up the berry, but do not completely submerge. Gently shake off the excess chocolate back into the bowl, and place dipped strawberry on the parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining strawberries.
Let cool at room temperature for 30-45 minutes, or place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let chill until solid, about 15-25 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving.
To serve, place the pavlova on a serving plate. Spoon the raspberry curd into the middle of the pavlova, adding as much or as little as you like. Tuck the chocolate strawberries into the curd and around the plate, and add fresh raspberries if you like. Serve with two spoons.
Note: Make sure the mixing bowl is completely clean and dry before making the pavlova, and that no traces of egg yolk are left behind when separating the white from the yolk. Any fat leftover in the bowl or form the yolk will prevent the meringue from achieving perfection.
Tips: -Save the egg yolk from the pavlova to use in the raspberry curd. If doubling or increasing the pavlova recipe, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Pavlova can be made up to 24 hours in advance, simply store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place but not in the refrigerator. Raspberry curd can be made up to 3 days in advance: store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. -Chocolate dipped strawberries will last in the refrigerator up to 24 hours, but are best served within a few hours.