Mini pavlova are crisp egg white meringue shells with marshmallow soft insides. Then, we pile on freshly whipped cream and mixed seasonal berries for this stunner of a dessert. This is one of my birthday week desserts, and the mix of textures and flavors will knock your socks off. Crisp sweet shell, slightly sticky marshmallow-y insides, fluffy sweet cream, and tangy fresh berries. It's a mix made in heaven.
Mini pavlova with whipped cream and fresh fruit
I believe mini pavlova is the perfect dessert for a lot of reasons, but mainly: it's the perfect balance of all textures. Plus, it's one of my favorite ways to use up any excess egg whites. I have a whole list of egg white recipes, because many of my cookie recipes use just the egg yolk. I can't help it if my chocolate chip cookies with walnuts are so chewy and dense, they only need egg yolks! So instead, I just aim to come up with recipes to use egg whites. And honestly, mini pavlova is the perfect use.
Making mini pavlova consists of beating egg whites until stiff with granulated sugar and cream of tartar. Then, the fluffy mixture is shaped into a disk with room in the center for stuffing. They're baked low and slow (at 200-degrees Fahrenheit) for almost an hour, and then they cool in the oven for another hour. The shells are crisp on the outside and chewy like a sticky marshmallow on the inside.
The cooked shells can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days before you need them, making them the perfect make-ahead dessert. Just be sure to place them in an air-tight container, and in a cool, dry place. Keep them away from any sources of heat (even vents) and do not put them in the fridge or freezer.
Once you're ready to make and serve mini pavlova, it's time to whip the cream and top with fresh berries. That's it! This dessert can come together so easily with prep work, and is so impressive, too.
Egg Whites This is a small-batch recipe for pavlova that uses only 1 egg white to make 4 shells. However, you can double or triple this recipe--it's so simple.
Cream of Tartar. So cream of tartar is acidic, and helps break up the egg whites and make them foamier and fluffier. They also help the egg whites rise and puff up in the oven to reach their maximum potential. If you lack cream of tartar, you can make this recipe without it, but be sure to beat the egg whites for a longer amount of time to make them fluffier.
Heavy Cream. This is for filling the shells and topping with berries. You can use coconut cream, like I do with my first birthday cake cupcakes to make a vegan whipped cream, if you prefer.
Mixed Berries. Whatever you have that is seasonal, fresh and beautiful. In the winter, it can be pomegranate seeds, kiwi slices, and mandarin orange segments. For the spring season, it's strawberries and raspberries. In the summer, peaches and blueberries are great!
How to make mini pavlova:
- First, gather all of the ingredients, and preheat the oven to 200-degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, add the egg white and cream of tartar.
- Next, using an electric mixer, beat until the egg whites are very foamy.
- Once the egg whites are foamy, start steaming in the granulated sugar while continuing to beat. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. The mixture should be glossy and not transparent or foamy in any way.
- See how in the photo above the mixture looks thick and the peaks on the hand mixer are very stiff and straight? Now you've beaten the egg whites long enough. Use a spoon to make make 4 round disks on the parchment-lined baking sheet. If you're more of a perfectionist, you can scrape the mixture into a piping bag and pipe out 4 circles--it's your choice.
- Slide these into the oven and bake for 45 minutes at 200-degrees Fahrenheit. Once the timer goes off, TURN OFF THE OVEN BUT DO NOT OPEN IT. Let the mini pavlova cool in the oven for 1 hour.
- These baked and cooled meringue shells will be dry to the touch and you might be able to peek at their marshmallow soft insides. At this point, you can store for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
- When you're ready to serve, beat the heavy cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Once the mixture is fluffy and whipped, it's time to assemble the mini pavlova.
- Place a scoop of whipped cream in the divot of each meringue shell, and top with fresh berries before serving immediately.
How to store mini pavlova nests:
Mini pavlova nests that have already been topped with whipped cream and berries needs to be eaten right away. However, leftover plain meringue shells can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 2 days.
How to make ahead:
You can make the meringue shells up to 2 days in advance. Store them in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place away from moisture or heat. You can make the whipped cream an hour ahead of time, and store in the fridge. You can wash and dry the berries, and have them ready for topping the meringues just before serving.
Other meringue treats:
- 1 cold egg white
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup mixed berries, washed and chopped
1. First, make the mini pavlova: Preheat the oven to 200° and have ready a parchment-lined baking sheet. Have ready all of the ingredients.
2. In a medium bowl, add the cold egg white and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer until foamy and soft peaks start to form.
3. Then, slowly stream in the granulated sugar while continuing to beat on medium speed. When it has stiff peaks, stop mixing. At this point, you can scrape it into a piping bag. If you’re not using a piping bag, have two spoons ready.
4. Use two spoons (or the piping bag) to make four circles of meringue on the baking sheet. Use a spoon to make a slight divot in each circle to hold the fillings later.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, and then turn off oven and let cool for 1 hour. Do not open the oven during the cooling process. The meringues should not appear sticky to the touch, though the insides may be.
6. After cooling the meringues, move them to serving platter. Now, it's time to assemble the mini pavlova. Pour the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into a bowl.
7. Make the whipped cream by beating together the heavy cream and powdered sugar. Add the vanilla when the cream has soft peaks.
8. Add a dollop of the whipped cream on top of each meringue shells Top with the mixed berries and serve.
Egg Whites: This recipe uses only 1 egg white to make 4 mini pavlova nests. However, you can double or triple this recipe--it's so simple.
Cream of Tartar: Cream of tartar is acidic, and helps break up the egg whites and make them foamier and fluffier while beating. They also help the egg whites rise and puff up in the oven to reach their maximum potential. If you lack cream of tartar, you can make this recipe without it, but be sure to beat the egg whites for a longer amount of time to make them fluffier.
Heavy Cream: This is for filling the shells and topping with berries. You can use coconut cream in its place.
Mixed Berries: In the spring, use fresh mixed berries; in the fall, use pomegranate arils and kiwis. For the winter, orange segments and pears are nice. For the summer, blueberries and peaches.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 18mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g