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mini pavlovas



With Valentine's Day just around the corner the time had come to make some individual pavlovas. I always had loads of trouble baking meringue in my old gas oven. The flame would go out all the time, making meringues into a very long and slow process. I've had my new oven for 2 years now and haven't tried making a pavlova in all that time. 



I like mini desserts, so instead of making one large pavlova I decided to make 6 individual pavlovas. I measured everything out the night before and in no time at all I had a bowl of fluffy white meringue that I wrangled into 6 small pavlovas.



My new oven goes from 160°C to 'low' and I had no idea what that temperature was, but that's what I used. It must be quite low, because after an hour the meringues still weren't quite dry to the touch. The mini pavlovas took 1½ hours to bake, then I left them in the turned off oven to dry.

Traditionally a pavlova is topped with whipped cream and passionfruit or strawberries as it needs something tart and fresh to counter balance all that sugar. I served the pavlovas with whipped cream, raspberries and a shard of bitter chocolate flecked with toasted coconut. 



If you'd like to make some mini pavlovas for the special people in your life, here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C.

Mini pavlovas – makes 6

Ingredients
2 egg whites 
Pinch of salt
110 g (½ cup) caster sugar 
½ tsp white vinegar 
2 tsp cornflour 
½ tsp vanilla extract 
150 mls thickened cream, whipped 
1 punnet raspberries, washed and dried
Chocolate curls, if desired

Method
Preheat the oven (conventional) to 180°C/350°F. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper and using a 7 cm ramekin as your guide, mark out 6 circles on the paper. Flip the paper over and use this as your template.

In a large clean dry bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Add the caster sugar gradually, one heaped tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat for a further 5 minutes or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the meringue is white and fluffy. Stir in the vinegar, cornflour and vanilla essence.

Pile or pipe the meringue mixture onto the baking tray, keeping within the marked circles. Smooth the tops so they resemble flat cakes. 

Place the pavlovas in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 130°C/275°F or the lowest setting for your oven and bake for 1¼ - 1½ hours or until the pavlovas are dry and very lightly coloured. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlovas to cool completely in the switched off oven.



When cool, remove the pavlovas from the baking paper and store in an airtight container. Just before serving, top the pavlovas with the lightly whipped cream and berries and a shard of chocolate, if desired. 

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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