Mini Pavlovas with Fresh Berries
Melt in your mouth meringue topped with tangy crème fraîche and berries, plus they are as pretty as they are delicious. Most people top pavlova with whipped cream but I like the thicker texture and tangy flavor of the crème fraîche. The meringue bases can be made ahead of time then topped when ready to serve. If assembled and left, the moisture will cause the meringue to loose the crispiness of the outer shell. The cloudlike dessert was named for famed ballerina Anna Pavlova and is claimed by both Australia and New Zealand as their creation. To make exact circles when piping or spreading the meringue, trace the top of a pint glass with a pencil on the wax paper.
These small desserts may not be an American creation but topped with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries they make the perfect 4th of July treat!
4 egg whites, at room temperature
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup granulated sugar
7.5 ounces crème fraîche
¼ cup finely crushed freeze dried strawberries,
1 cup diced strawberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
Preheat the oven to 250°. In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with cream of tartar on high speed until foamy. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating consistently until the sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks.
Drop spoonfuls of meringue or pipe through a pastry tube to make 4-inch nests, placed 1-inch apart on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Use the back of a spoon to make a well in the center of each nest for the filling later.
Bake until the meringues are firm and they easily lift off of the waxed paper, about 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let the meringues stand in the oven with the door closed until cool, dry and crisp, for at least an hour. Do not open the oven or take them out, let them sit in the oven so they do not become gooey in the middle from moisture in the air. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Top with a spoonful of crème fraîche then add crushed freeze dried strawberries to a fine mesh strainer and dust the top of the pavlovas. Top with the fruit and serve immediately.
Makes 10 mini pavlovas.