Beautiful Berry Topped Mini Pavlovas, a light and delicate nest of meringue topped with whipped cream, fresh berries and a lovely raspberry coulis. An easy to make dessert named in honor of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.
There are a few desserts that seem to have that "wow factor". One look at them and people automatically believe they were a labor of love to create. A Pavolva or Mini Pavlovas are such desserts. In a word, they're beautiful.
Pavlovas were named in honor of Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova and surprisingly, pavlovas didn't originate in Russia. There are many stories surrounding the origin of this dessert. Many people from Australia, New Zealand, England and even the United States claim its origin.
A Pavlova is a light, airy meringue that is crispy on the outside and soft as a marshmallow inside. It is served with a layer of whipped cream on top and traditionally, berries. It was said that prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova "did not simply dance, she soared as though on wings" and from this statement, you can see how she inspired this stunning dessert.
Mini Pavlovas are a lovely dessert to serve at a dinner party. They're easy to make, look elegant and are light and decadent. Top them with your favorite fruits and berries. For the holidays, I chose green kiwi fruit, strawberries and blueberries.
Pavlovas only require a few ingredients; egg whites, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and vanilla.
Here's how to make mini pavlovas...
I first use the top of a large glass to trace circles on parchment paper.
Whip six egg whites in a mixing bowl until foamy and then, slowly add in the sugar and cornstarch, a few tablespoons at a time.
While adding the sugar mixture, continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Stop the mixer and pour in lemon juice and vanilla and beat for another 60 seconds. Then, flip the parchment paper over (so the ink from the circles don't get on the meringue) and spoon the egg white mixture onto the parchment paper, filling in the circles and indenting the center with the back of a spoon.
This recipe will make 8 mini pavlovas or 1 large (9-inch) pavlova.
Bake the pavlovas in a 250 degree preheated oven for 50 minutes for the mini pavlovas or 60 minutes for the large pavlova. The pavlovas are done when the outsides are dry to the touch and sound hollow when tapped with your finger. It's okay if cracks form in the crust.
After the pavlovas cool, top with whipped cream and fresh berries.
I love adding an easy-to-make raspberry coulis to the tops of my mini pavlovas. The slightly tangy flavor of the coulis compliment the sweet meringue. The coulis can be made a day or two ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it.
If you make a large pavlova, transfer the pavlova to a large serving plate and top with whipped cream and berries. Slice into wedges and serve.
A few Pavlova recipe notes:
- You really only need a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, however a hand held mixer will work as well, it will just take longer to whisk.
- The mixing bowl should be glass or metal.
- Make sure to use room temperature eggs.
- You can make pavlovas ahead of time, just be sure to store them in an airtight container and don't top them with whipped cream and berries until you are ready to serve them.
- Humidity affects Pavlovas so you shouldn't make them on a humid day.
Berry Topped Mini Pavlovas
- 6 egg whites, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
RASPBERRY COULIS (could be made a day or two ahead of time and refrigerated)
- 6 ounces fresh raspberries
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Place the oven rack in the lower third part of the oven.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment. Trace a circle on the parchment paper using the rim of a large drinking glass as your guide. Flip the parchment over.
- Pour the egg whites into a large mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt and begin beating the egg whites at low speed. Gradually increase the speed to medium.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and the cornstarch. When the egg whites begin to foam, slowly add the sugar/cornstarch mixture, one or two tablespoons at a time, waiting a few seconds between each addition. While doing this, increase the speed to high.
- Continue whipping until the meringue holds stiff peaks.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla and the lemon juice. Stop the mixer and add to whipped egg whites. Beat for 60 seconds more.
- Using a large spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the meringue onto the parchment, beginning in the center of the circle and working towards the outside of the circle until it's filled. Indent the center with the spoon to allow room for cream. You can either smooth out the edges or leave them the way they are. I love the free form, imperfect look of a meringue.
- NOTE: If you are making one large pavlova, spoon all of the meringue on to the parchment paper in the center and spread out. Make an indentation in the center so that the meringue is slightly higher along the rim. Also note that you will need to bake the pavlova for 60 minutes if making a large one.
- Put the meringue in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes for mini pavlovas or 60-70 minutes for one large pavlova. The pavlovas are done with the outsides are dry to the touch and sound hollow when tapped. It's okay if cracks form in the crust.
- Turn off the oven and leave the pavlovas inside with the oven door ajar. Leave the meringues in the oven for an additional 30 minutes. If the tops begin to brown, remove them from the oven and continue cooling on the counter.
- When the pavlovas are completely cooled, top whipped cream, berries and raspberry coulis.
- TO MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM
- Pour the cream into a mixing bowl and add the sugar. Turn on the mixer and begin whipping at medium speed, gradually increasing the speed to high. When stiff peaks begin to form in the whipped cream, turn the mixer off.
- TO MAKE RASPBERRY COULIS
- Place 6 ounces of fresh raspberries into a saucepan on medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice. Heat and stir gently until sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Pour the raspberry mixture into a blender and puree. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard the seeds. You might have to press down on the mixture to allow it to flow through.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.