These were made this last strawberry season:
Since the TV debut, a lot of people have been writing in and asking me the name and recipe for the dessert I made for the shoot. It was a strawberry pavlova with chopped dark chocolate folded in the whipped cream, topped with chards of white chocolate. It was decadent, to say the least.
Today, I thought I’d recreate the dessert in a mini form. I’ve skipped the chocolate from this one but by all means, go ahead and add it in if you like. You could also substitute the cornstarch with cocoa as I’ve indicated below so you have a chocolate base. Similarly, replace the vanilla with flavoring of your choice–coffee works very well as does lemon. Try using seasonal fruits–peaches, mangoes, berries of all kind (chunky jams, even!), passion fruit, kiwi, etc. Throw on a couple of toasted nuts for crunch, if you like as well!
Pavlovas make for a sinful yet light and dainty dessert for any occasion. Their imperfect, rustic appearance (yes, don’ worry if they crack!) makes them even more endearing, don’t you think? The crisp exterior gives way to reveal a marshmallow-soft interior, that is complimented by the unsweetened cream and fresh fruit. Making a pavlova needs no skill to speak of, and apart from a good whisking agent (such as beater or stand mixer) you need little else. Try it this summer with the fruit bounty that nature is going to bestow upon us!
Mini Strawberry Pavlovas
(This recipe makes 5 mini pavlovas or one 8-inch pavlova to suffice about 6 people generously)
- 2 egg whites
- 100 gms. caster sugar
- 1 heaped tsp. cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or good quality vanilla essence
- 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped to soft peaks
- 2-3 strawberries, pureed
- 1 cup strawberries, halved or quartered
- 1 tbsp. icing sugar for dusting
- sprigs of mint to decorate
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Place the egg whites in a stand mixer of spotlessly clean bowl.
- Add the salt and whisk until quite frothy.
- Now, add the caster sugar in three batches and whisk at top speed until you have a satiny gloop that is stiff enough to hold shape.
- Gently but surely fold in the vanilla, vinegar, and cornstarch.
- Pile or pipe (if feeling fancy) into 5 rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Shove the baking sheet in the oven and turn down the temperature to 150 degrees centigrade. Bake for about half an hour or until the tops are a pale pink in color and feel crisp and dry.
- Allow to cool completely. Then, carefully peel off the parchment from the meringue bottoms and place on serving plate.
- Fold the strawberry puree in the whipped cream. You could also use jam.
- Spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top of the meringues with careful carelessness. Stud with gorgeous strawberries and shower them with a loving snowfall of icing sugar.
- Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint each, and serve cold.