Bonnie Stern's Lemon Pavlova Roll

Mitchell Davis

James Beard Foundation, NYC

Toronto-based cookbook author and cooking teacher Bonnie Stern created this dessert, which Mitchell Davis demonstrated at his over Baking Workshop at the Beard House. It is both easy and impressive. Although the original calls for cornstarch, at over you can use potato starch without changing anything else. If you keep kosher and want the dessert to be pareve, prepare the lemon curd using vegetable oil instead of whipping cream (see recipe variation below). Just about anything can be rolled into the pavlova, from chocolate mousse to cranberry curd to whipped cream with fresh berries. Because the meringue roll is so sweet, keep in mind that the filling should be tart.


  • Lemon Curd Filling:

  • 1/2 cup lemon juice from about 3 to 4 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon potato starch or cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Pavlova:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch, or cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner's or granulated sugar, sifted


To prepare the lemon curd filling, combine the lemon juice, peel, and sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Beat the egg yolks and potato starch or cornstarch in a medium bowl. Whisk in a little of the hot lemon juice mixture to temper the eggs, then add the rest. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook on medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring, until it is thick and begins to bubble. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl, press plastic wrap on top of the curd, and chill.

To prepare the pavlova, line a half-sheet pan with parchment and preheat the oven to 325ºF. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the granulated sugar and continue beating until the whites are stiff and shiny, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vinegar and vanilla. Fold in the starch. Spread the meringue into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes. It will puff up and then deflate as it cools. When it has cooled completely, dust with the confectioner's or granulated sugar. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a clean sheet of parchment. Carefully remove the parchment on which the pavlova baked.

Whip the cream until light and stiff and fold it into the chilled lemon curd. Spread the lemon mixture evenly on the pavlova and roll up along the longer edge to make a tight jelly roll. Chill until ready to serve. The pavlova can be prepared up to one day in advance.

Using a serrated knife, slice the pavlova about 1 1/2 inches thick and serve with fresh fruit and/or a sauce of your choice.


6 servings