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Mini Pavlovas Recipe & Video

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Pavlova is a sweet meringue cake that has a light and delicately crisp outside crust with a soft marshmallow center. This dessert is normally served with whipped cream and fresh fruit. For this recipe, instead of making one large round of meringue, we are making individual Pavlovas. Perfect to serve at your next dinner party or backyard barbecue.

A few notes on making a Pavlova. First, a Pavlova is a meringue, a beaten mixture of egg whites and sugar. It is important for the egg whites to reach maximum volume, so make sure your mixing bowl and whisk are clean and free of grease. The eggs need to be separated and it is easier to do this while the eggs are still cold. Once separated, cover the egg whites and let them come to room temperature before using (about 30 to 60 minutes). I like to use superfine sugar (castor) as it dissolves faster into the egg whites than granulated white sugar. You can make your own superfine sugar by processing granulated white sugar in your food processor until very fine, about 60 seconds. This meringue is a little different in that  cornstarch and vinegar are folded into the beaten meringue. Adding these two ingredients will help give the Pavlova a crust that is dry and crisp, with a soft marshmallow-like interior.

The Pavlova can be made a day or two in advance of serving, if it is stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container. A Pavlova is usually served with softly whipped cream and fresh fruit. Because of the sweetness of the meringue I like to use tart flavored fruits. Passion fruit, kiwi, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are some of my personal favorites. Try to place the whipped cream and fruit on the meringue shortly before serving as the meringue will immediately start to soften and break down from the moisture of the whipped cream and fruit.

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Mini Pavlovas: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw 8 - 3 1/2 inch (9 cm) circles on the paper. Turn the parchment paper over so the circles are on the reverse side.

In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium low speed until they hold soft peaks. Start adding the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, and continue to beat, on high speed, until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks. (Test to see if the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a little of the meringue between your thumb and index finger. The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty. If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers). Beat in the vanilla extract. Sprinkle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and, with a rubber spatula, gently fold in. Spread a heaping 1/2 cup of the meringue inside each circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges. 

Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes or until the outside is dry and crisp. Turn the oven off, leave the oven door slightly ajar, and let the meringues cool completely in the oven (a couple of hours).

The cooled meringues can be made and stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place, or in the refrigerator, for a few days. 

Topping: Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in your electric stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a hand mixer or wire whisk), until stiff peaks form. Place a dollop of whipped cream into the center of each meringue. Top with fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 Mini Pavlovas.

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Mini Pavlovas Recipe:

4 large (120 grams) egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) cream of tartar

1 cup (200 grams) superfine white (castor) sugar

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon (3 grams) white distilled vinegar

1/2 tablespoon (5 grams) cornstarch

Topping:

1 cup (240 ml/grams) cold heavy whipping cream (cream with a 35-40% butterfat content)

1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated white sugar (or to taste)

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) pure vanilla extract (optional)

Fresh fruit - kiwi, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries passion fruit, peaches, pineapple, or other fruit of your choice

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