These mini pavlovas are such a delicious and fun dessert! One of my favorites.
My first experience with pavlova was 10 years ago. Someone made a giant rectangular pavlova for a ladies’ Bible study I participated in. It was love at first bite!
Since then I’ve made the traditional round pavlovas, half sheet pan size rectangular pavlovas, and of course these adorable mini pavlovas.
If you’ve never had pavlova before, it’s a meringue like crust, crispy on the outside and marshmallow like in the middle, topped with freshly whipped cream and fruit.
This is also dessert that comes across as fancy, but it is inexpensive to make if you use fruit that is in season.
MINI PAVLOVA INGREDIENTS
Once you see the simplicity of these ingredients, you’ll understand why it’s budget friendly!
- Egg whites
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Vinegar or lemon juice
- Heavy whipping cream
- Powdered sugar
- Fresh fruit
Use whatever fresh fruit is in season. Things like strawberries, blueberries, any other berry. Peaches and other pit fruits are also great options. You can do one fruit or a combination.
A mint leaf or two on the top would be a fun presentation options as well.
Room temperature egg whites and the bowl of sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
MINI PAVLOVA INSTRUCTIONS
- Beat room temperature egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add a tablespoon at a time to the egg whites. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after last tablespoon is added.
- Beat until stiff peaks form. The egg whites should feel smooth – not gritty from the sugar.
- Tap the egg whites off of the whisk. Combine the vanilla and vinegar and sprinkle over the top. Fold in gently.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Line a large baking sheet (or two small ones) with parchment paper. Scoop the meringue onto the the sheets in 8 even piles and spread into circles making a slight indentation in the middle.
- Place in oven and turn oven down to 250 degrees. Bake for 60 minutes. They should be firm and dry (but not brown). Turn oven off and let them cool in the closed oven. (It’s easy to forget to turn the oven off… Guess how I know! Thus why these meringues are a little brown.)
- Whip the heavy cream and prepare the fruit. In the winter time, if you don’t have access to fresh fruit, you can make a simple fruit compote by boiling frozen fruit in a couple tablespoons of water (and a little sugar if needed) to make a fruity sauce. Brighten with a splash of lemon juice after cooking. Use this over the top instead of the fresh fruit.
- Assemble the mini pavlovas and enjoy!
The meringue with stiff peaks and the vanilla/vinegar mixture ready to be folded in.
STORING MINI PAVLOVAS
One thing to know about a pavlova is that ones it’s topped with the whipped cream and fruit, you need to eat it. The meringue won’t stay crisp.
When I brought the large rectangular pavlova to a small group and a 4th of July celebration, I brought the meringue base and then serving dishes of whipped cream and fruit. Everyone topped their own. For a fancier party, you’d probably want to present the pavlova already assembled and then serve for the wow factor.
With the mini pavlovas, you could leave everything separate and serve the meringue on a platter followed by dishes of whipped cream and fruit options. Or for events that aren’t buffet style and you do have a head count, assemble and plate each mini pavlova before serving.
There’s no wrong option! Just know for storing leftovers it’s best to have all the components separate. For serving for a dinner party, you are fine to assemble everything ahead of time and serve. Leftovers that are already combined, you will want to eat within a day – the crispiness of the meringue won’t last.
Mini Pavlovas Recipe
- 4 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons vinegar
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 cups fresh fruit
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Put room temperature egg whites in a bowl. (I use my KitchenAid with the whisk attachment, you could also use a bowl and electric beaters.) Beat until soft peaks form.
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Once soft peaks have formed, add 1 tablespoon at a time to the egg mixture. After the last tablespoon is incorporated, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Continue whisking until stiff peaks have formed. (The meringue should feel smooth, not gritty if you rub it between your fingers.)
- Combine the vanilla and vinegar and sprinkle on top of the meringue. Fold in gently.
- Line a large baking sheet (or 2 smaller ones) with parchment paper.
- Spoon the meringue into 8 (could make 10 smaller ones - just watch the cooking time) equal blobs on the parchment paper, leaving plenty of space between them. Spread the meringue into circles around 4 inches in diameter. Create a slight indentation in the middle of the circles.
- Place in oven and TURN OVEN DOWN to 250 degrees.
- Bake for 60 minutes. Turn oven off and let the meringue cool in closed oven for a couple hours.
- Whip the heavy cream with the powder sugar.
- To serve, place meringue on a plate. Top with the whipped cream and fresh fruit.
In the winter time, if you don't have access to fresh fruit, you can make a simple fruit compote by boiling frozen fruit in a couple tablespoons of water (and a little sugar if needed) to make a fruity sauce. Brighten with a splash of lemon juice after cooking. Use this over the top instead of the fresh fruit.