Mini Pavlovas –the perfect holiday dessert

It’s that time of the year again when all of us are planning on entertaining or being entertained, being in the company of all our near and dear ones, spreading all the joys and mirth the season has to offer! And what better way to do all that than with food – delicious, decadent and soul stirring (yes, food is my true love… don’t judge me).

And somehow, whenever I plan on entertaining a group of friends, I end up making some Mini Pavlovas – crunchy, soft, creamy, fruity, sweet and tangy and slightly boozy – these are almost always a hit, and the good thing is, you can prepare the various ingredients beforehand, assemble them right before serving and wow everyone – like you are some rock star in the kitchen! And even better, since each gets their own, it’s less messy, and doesn’t need to be served individually –less things to clean after all for the host – #win in my book!

Berrilicious!!

Like most of the stuff I do, I have been making these for quite a few years without knowing they had a legit name and history of their own. Pavlova, while sounding Russian, is a Christmas dessert from Australia/New Zealand, originating in the 1930s, and named after the famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova – after one of her performances there. It’s filled with berries because Christmas happens in summer time in the Southern Hemisphere but why should we not have it here in winters, when a frozen bag of berries could give us just as good results, am I right?

 

I keep alternating the toppings based on the season and my mood but it comes out really well every time – at least I think they do. I sometimes top my meringues with a coconut cream and fruits like, mangoes, pineapple, kiwi or passion fruit, just to get that tropical vibe going – I even tried making it once with peaches, so go about how you want to create yours and am sure they will be just as magical!

Tropical Thunder

So, without much ado,  here is the recipe for the melt-in-your-mouth, fun little desserts!

Makes: 6     Prep work: 30 mins    Cooking: 2h      Difficulty: Medium         

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 4 egg whites
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar

Cream

  • 150g double whipping cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp icing sugar
  • 1tbsp liqueur (sherry ideally, I used coffee liqueur)

Topping

  • 2 cups  mixed berries
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Mint or holly leaves to garnish (optional)
  • Chocolate  sprinkles or chips (optional)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 120*C. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Whip the egg whites for about a minute until it forms soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar slowly while keeping the mixer on and continue to mix for about 7-10 minutes more until stiff peaks start forming. The mixture will look smooth and glossy at this stage
  • Using a spatula fold in the vinegar and then the corn flour and mix till well blended
  • Pipe the mix onto the tray and indent the centre to create room for the cream later and put the tray in the middle rack of the oven. Bake it at 120*C for 1h 15min and then turn the oven off without taking the meringues out. Let it cool for about 30 min before getting them out
  • Transfer the meringues onto a cooling rack along with the parchment paper to completely cool down. This can then be stored for a few days at room temperature in an airtight container
  • For the coulis, take half the berries, the sugar and water in a pan, crush the berries into the mix and bring it to a boil. Mix and cook well for 5-10min until it turns into mushy consistency. Set aside to cool
  • Whip the cream, the icing sugar and vanilla extract for 2-3 mins until it forms soft peaks. Add in the liqueur of choice and fold it in

Assembly

  • Place the meringue nests in a serving platter. Either pipe in or scoop in about a tbsp of the cream on this
  • Spread a tsp of the berry coulis on top of this and top with some fresh berries
  • Garnish with mint/holly or chocolate chips and serve immediately

Tip

  • Have the egg whites at room temperature
  • Make the meringues in advance and store in an air tight container for up to a week
  • Keep the cream cold during and after whipping

Cheat code: if you are feeling really, really lazy or want a quick fix – just buy those ready-made meringue nests from a supermarket and assemble the dessert on the day, it won’t feel too different, I reckon. Alternately, I have been told you can get a meringue dry mix at some superstores too; you just need to mix a few things into it and get the meringues baking in no time. 

I haven’t tried either of these tricks but if you do, or you go the full monty, do let me know how the end results were. Tag me with your posts on FB (@theinterrobong) or instagram (@polopedia)

Please do remember to like/share the posts, and follow me for more such updates.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Cheers and love,

Paulomi x

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