mini egg nest pavlovas
So, I have a thing for pavlova. And decided to take my love for it and marry it with my mini egg obsession. Cute little meringue nests were born. Then came the whipped cream. All topped with the most beautiful shimmery mini eggs that I found while visiting Target in the U.S. (I’m so in love with Target…but also a little bit grateful that we don’t have them in Canada as I’d likely be broke!)
Meringue can be scary, but I promise that you can do it! All it takes is a little practice, and I recommend trying it out on a sunny day (humidity is a bummer for meringue). I’ve even posted a little tutorial for it on my instagram, so pop on over there if you’d like a little more visual help!
Let’s talk special equipment. I did use a large star tip and piping bag for these….BUT, you can definitely just use a spoon to make a rustic, swoopy nest instead. When making meringues for pavlova, you generally create a dip in the center of it for the filling. It will naturally cave or crack, and this is where the whipped cream goes, and then the fruit or chocolate. Don’t like mini eggs? Use whatever you’d like! This is such a flexible recipe, so make it your own. Also, coconut whip cream works wonderfully if you need to keep it dairy free!
mini egg nest pavlovas
yields: about 1-2 dozen mini nests - highly dependent on the size
yields: 8-10 mini pavlovas
4 large (120 g) egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup (240 mL) whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, use the whisk attachment to whisk egg whites with the cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase speed to medium high, and add in sugar, about 1-2 tablespoon at a time, beating well in between each addition. Repeat until all sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to high, and whip until meringue forms stiff and shiny peaks. *Don't rush this, as adding in too much sugar at once can cause the meringue to deflate.
The meringue should be so stiff, that if you turn the bowl upside down, it won’t fall out!
Beat in vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Gently fold in cornstarch using a spatula, and be careful not to deflate the meringue.
Place a small dollop of meringue under the corners of the parchment paper on the baking sheet to “glue it down”. This is optional, but I prefer for my parchment paper to be totally stable!
Spoon the meringue into the piping bag, if using, and pipe nests. Place a dot on the parchment, and pipe a circle around it, and then a larger circle around that one. Pipe another circle on top of the outer circle to create an edge for the nest. Alternatively: Pipe in a spiral pattern, starting in the center of the nest, spiraling outwards, and then going up and over the outer circle. Choose whichever method makes more sense to you! The meringue should hold it’s form completely here. If it looks like it’s “melting”, the meringue may not have been whipped enough, or was overworked when adding in the extra ingredients. It will still taste great, but will likely lose all shape when baked.
Place baking sheet in the oven and turn the temperature down to 250 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour, or until the meringue is a very light cream colour. Turn off the oven, leave the door cracked open, and allow to cool completely inside the oven, at least 1 more hour.
While meringue is cooling, prepare the topping. In a medium bowl, whip whipping cream on high until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar, and vanilla extract, and mix well.
Prepare pavlovas directly before serving. If you assemble them too much ahead of time, the whipping cream will make the meringues go soggy. I like to serve everything separately so that everyone can assemble their as desired.
Top meringues with a generous scoop of whipped cream, citrus slices, and chopped pistachios.
Meringue can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for a couple days before serving. I recommend storing in the freezer, as they keep perfectly, and aren’t in danger of weeping.
Meringue can be fussy - so don’t be discouraged if the first go doesn’t turn out perfectly!
Egg temperature - cold eggs = easier to separate, but room temperature egg whites = more volume. Best case is separating the whites while cold, and then let them sit on the counter for a bit to bring them to room temperature!
The cream of tartar, lemon juice, and cornstarch are stabilizers and contribute to the chewy inside. You can skip them if you’d like, but you'll likely have a dry inside…and it wont technically be the right meringue for a pavlova!
I have had much better luck making meringues with my standmixer compared to my handmixer…not sure why, but use a standmixer with a whisk attachment if you have one!
Try to make meringues on a dry day!
Make sure no grease or egg yolks contaminate the whites or the bowl! This can inhibit them from whipping up properly.
Even if these don’t turn out perfectly, I’ve never had a batch taste bad. Serve them in a pile with lots of whipped cream and chocolate or fruit! Call it trifle, or a deconstructed pavlova! You got this!
happy meringue making!