Double Strawberry Mini Pavlovas

Double Strawberry Mini Pavlovas

Jun 23, 2024Eshun Mott

Berry season is HERE! No shade on the great greenhouse-grown berries we now get year-round, but one bite of a local strawberry warm from the sun makes you remember what summer tastes like. You really don't need to do anything to them to enjoy them, but if you wanted to, piling them up on a delicious base with a tangy whipped cream is a great way to serve them. Shortcakes are a classic, but if you'd like something a little lighter, more exotic, and naturally gluten-free (we see you Celiac friends), pavlova is the way to go.

Pavlova is basically just meringue - made with egg whites, sugar and a hint of acidity (cream of tartar is the best option here, but you can sub in white vinegar or lemon juice in a pinch). It differs only in the addition of a little cornstarch to help keep its centre soft and sliceable. You can make large pavlovas to top and cut like a pie, but we love the ease of individual serving-size ones.
There are a few small tricks to making meringues and pavlovas, but the main thing you need to do is ensure that your sugar is dissolved in the egg whites. You can do this by using superfine sugar, adding it very slowly to the egg whites while they are beating, or you can do as we do, which is gently heat the mixture just enough to dissolve the sugar before you begin. Technically this means our pavlova has a Swiss meringue base, but for our purposes, we just know it yields great results.
You can flavour your pavlovas with excellent cocoa powder or vanilla bean paste (we carry both!) but for fruity pavlovas we love the punch of flavour that freeze dried fruit powders provide. The Fresh-As line from New Zealand is the most flavourful option we've come across and is ideal for pavlovas or anywhere you'd like a fruit flavour without changing the consistency of a recipe (think cookies or icings - a sprinkle also makes a great glass rimmer or cocktail garnish). We carry it in strawberry, raspberry, passion fruit and mango.

Tip 1: Egg whites freeze really well. We keep a container in the freezer that we just add to whenever we have leftover egg whites because we tend to use a lot at once, but you can also freeze them in ice cube trays and transfer to a sealable bag for really easy measurement. If you're starting this recipe with whole eggs use up your leftover egg yolks in a frittata or quiche, make hollandaise, ice cream or creme brûlée!

Tip 2: Don't make meringues or pavlovas on rainy or super humid days or your perfect bases will become sticky very quickly after being removed from the oven.

Double Strawberry Mini Pavlovas

3 lg egg whites (95g)
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/4 tsp Diamond Kosher Crystal Salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp freeze-dried strawberry powder (plus more for sprinkling)

Tangy Whipped Cream:
1/2 cup 35% cream (whipping)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup full fat Greek yoghurt or sour cream

To Finish:
2 cups hulled sliced strawberries or a mix of berries
2 tsp sugar
garnish ideas: chopped mint or lemon verbena, grated lemon, lime or orange zest, a few lavender flowers

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place a small pot containing about 1-inch of water on the stove over medium heat and bring to a simmer (pick a pot just large enough to hold the base of a metal mixing bowl to create a make-shift double boiler).
  3. Combine eggs, sugar, salt and cream of tarter in mixing bowl and whisk until just combined. Place bowl on top of pot with simmering water and turn heat to low. Whisk for 2-3 min or until all of sugar has dissolved and egg mixture is frothy and just hotter than body temperature. Remove bowl from pot, and use electric beaters to beat on high for 5-7 min or until mixture is very stiff and shiny (like old-fashioned shaving cream). When you pull your beaters out of the bowl the peaks should droop just at the tips. Add cornstarch and freeze-dried fruit powder and fold in with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  4. Use large soup spoons to dollop 8 mounds of mixture onto baking sheet (spaced as far out as possible), then use the back of a spoon to flatten the centre of each dollop so you have 3-4-inch nests.
  5. Place baking sheet in oven, immediately turn the heat down to 250 F and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours or until pavlovas have formed a soft dry skin. Turn the oven off, leaving the light on, and let sit for 1 1/2 hours (up to overnight) or until pavlovas are dry and crisp on the outside and peel easily off of parchment paper. Transfer to a tightly sealed container (put parchment between layers) at room temperature until ready to serve.
  6. Combine whipping cream and sugar in a bowl and beat until sugar has dissolved and cream is starting to hold a loose shape. Add yogurt and beat just until you have a soft spoonable mixture.
  7. Toss berries with just enough sugar to get their juices running (they don't really need any added sweetness), and add in any flavouring or garnish you desire.
  8. To serve, sprinkle a pinch of freeze dried fruit powder around edges of pavlovas. Dollop cream on bases and pile berries and juices over top.

Makes 8 Servings

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