Have you ever had a meringue cookie? They are a strange, delicious wonder of the dessert world. Light and airy, crispy but chewy, full of flavor and utterly delightful. An extra large version of a meringue cookie is a pavlova – essentially just a baked meringue cake, usually topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fruit of some variety. A pavlova maintains a chewy, marshmallowy interior – which is a wonderful contrast to the ultra crispy exterior. Whether you decide to go small (cookies), or large (pavlova), this light and airy dessert is absolutely perfect for a hot summer night!
Mini Nutella Pavlovas with Whipped Cream and Berries
makes 10, 5-inch mini pavlovas
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup nutella
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
berries of your choice, washed and cut into bite-size pieces
1.) Preheat your oven to 300°. Start by placing your nutella into a microwave-safe bowl, and microwaving it in 20 second intervals (stirring after each interval) to smooth it out and loosen it up. This should take 2 or 3 intervals at most – set the nutella aside to cool.
2.) Place your (room temp! This is important!) egg whites into a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, turn the mixer on to medium low, and beat the egg whites until they become nice and frothy, about a minute. Add the salt and cream of tartar, and continue beating.
3.) Turn the speed up to medium, and keep beating the egg white mixture until soft peaks form. Once you’ve reached that point, begin adding the sugar a couple tablespoons at a time (until you’ve added 2/3 cup), continuing to beat on medium speed.
4.) Once all the sugar is incorporated, turn the mixer up to medium-high, and continue beating until the egg whites are super glossy and thick, and hold stiff peaks when you remove the whisk.
5.) Make sure your nutella has cooled to the point of being barely warm. Drizzle it over the top of the meringue in the mixing bowl, and use a rubber spatula to fold it into the egg whites – only fold it a couple times, so you don’t deflate the meringue, and your meringues maintain a swirled look (I over-mixed a bit, so mine are just… pale brown. Not as beautiful as I was hoping).
6.) Load your meringue into a large pastry bag fitted with an extra large closed star tip (you can absolutely skip this step and either use a large ziploc with a corner snipped off, or just spoon mounds of the meringue on to your baking sheet). Pipe 4-5″ rounds onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
7.) Bake for 10 minutes at 300°. After ten minutes, rotate your baking sheets in the oven, and turn the temp down to 200°. Continue to bake for another 45 minutes, and then turn the oven off. Leave the meringues in the oven and allow them to cool in there for about an hour.
8.) Remove the meringues from the oven, and allow them to continue cooling, if needed. If you serve them the day they’re made, they’ll be super crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. If you serve them the next day (stored in an airtight container overnight), they will lose a lot of the crispiness in their outer shell, but they’ll still be chewy and delicious.
9.) Top with whipped cream (3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped with 1/3 cup sugar, until firm peaks form), and fresh berries. Enjoy!
These mini pavlovas are a little quirky, and really tasty! The combination of crispy and chewy and light-as-air is a nice break from a lot of heavier, richer desserts that you usually see, and absolutely perfect as a light, refreshing summer dessert. (And it certainly doesn’t hurt that they’re EASY to make!)
I swear, Nutella was sent straight from heaven,