Pavlovas

I thought I wasn’t a stress buyer. I didn’t order N-95 masks on Amazon or stock up on an unnecessary amount of toilet paper. But when we couldn’t find any eggs in any grocery stores for a week, I did let my husband talk me into baby chicks. And then my friend sent me a New York Times article and apparently, I am part of a national trend. A baby chick trend. Insert self-deprecating eye roll.

Also, we did finally find some eggs. Sort of an embarassingly lot of eggs. And Easter is coming! So I made one of my favorite egg-heavy recipes — miniature berry pavlovas.

Ingredients:

  • 5 egg whites at room temperature (note: eggs separate more easily when cold, but whip more easily at room temperature, so separate your eggs first and then wait a bit to whip them)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whipping cream, beaten with 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup assorted berries, for serving

Procedure:

  • Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until they begin to be opaque with large bubbles. Slowly add the sugar, pouring in a slow but steady stream. Continue beating until soft peaks form (but do not overbeat — these should not be dry). When you drag a spoon through the beaten egg whites, the line should mostly stay visible.
  • Preheat your oven to 275.
  • Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon or pipe heaping tablespoons of the meringue onto the baking sheet. These spread some, but not tremendously, so leave some space between each one. You can flatten them slightly in the middle to create more of a “nest.”
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned and dry.
  • While the meringues bake, whip the cream and wash and cut your berries.
  • Top the cooled meringues with whipped cream and berries (or chocolate mousse and whipped cream and berries, if you’re William)
  • Meringues can be stored for up to 3 days in a ziploc bag, but unless your climate is drier than mine, you will probably need to re-crisp them before serving. To do this, preheat your oven to 300 degrees and let them bake for 5-7 minutes.

Variations:

You can make one giant pavlova using a pie shell or just spreading or piping the meringue into a single big puff on a baking sheet. Then pile the whipped cream and berries in the middle.

To make the delightfully named Eton Mess, crumble the meringues and layer them with the whipped cream and berries in a pretty glass.

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