Mini-Pavlovas get an A+ as a fancy dessert. Scrumptious, fun, photogenic, unusual, make-ahead, thrifty, and allergen-free. These beauties are vegan, gluten-free, and have only as much oil as are in the toppings you add. They taste sweetly indulgent, but the bases have only 38 calories each. I topped mine with banana slices, blueberries, whipped coconut cream (see recipe), and NewTella, my chocolate-hazelnut spread (see recipe). Fresh kiwi slices would be festive too.
This popular Australian and New Zealand dessert was named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during her 1926 tour to those countries, although its true origin is still the subject of rivalry and research. Pavlovas large and small are beloved Christmas desserts there, where fresh fruit is plentiful in December.
Instead of egg whites, these pavlovas rely on aquafaba or chickpea broth. You can strain it right out of a can of chickpeas, but I prefer to use broth from cooking my own legumes. Learn how to make aquafaba from dried beans and see a video about whipping aquafaba here.
|Prep Time||50 minutes|
|Cook Time||2 hours|
|Passive Time||8 hours|
- 1/2 cup aquafaba
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar or lemon juice or vinegar
- 3/4 cup sugar (150 grams)
- toppings as desired
- Heat oven to 200*F (93*C) with two racks towards the center. Line two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
- Put aquafaba, vanilla, and cream of tartar into a mixing bowl. Set up your mixer with a wire balloon whisk if you have one. Whip mixture on medium speed until it begins to look foamy, and then on high until soft peaks form. Whip another minute or two just to make sure the peaks will hold.
- Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and whip for another 30 seconds each. I used to do this while the machine was running, but you'll spray less sugar around your kitchen if you stop the mixer before you add each spoonful. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is getting mixed.
- When the pavlova base (meringue) is thick with stiff peaks, spoon it into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip (I use Wilton's 1M). You can also use a gallon-sized food-storage bag with one corner snipped off. Snip a small bit off one bag corner, pipe out some meringue, and, if needed, snip more so you can squeeze out a line about 1/2-inch wide. As a shortcut, you can just dollop out big spoonfuls of meringue on the cookie sheets and use the back of a clean spoon to press in a dip for the toppings. If you take the shortcut, skip the next step.
- Pipe the mini-pavlovas on the lined cookie sheets, leaving at least an inch between them. Make the outside circle first, then swirl in to make a solid base. Add a second layer of meringue on the outer ring. To add a star on the rim, pause briefly and give the piping bag a little extra squeeze before lifting the tip straight up. You can make them all the same size or make some kid/dieter sizes. Squeeze and spoon out the last bits of meringue to form stars, letters, or whatever shapes you want.
- Bake mini-pavlovas for two hours, then leave in the *unopened* oven for eight more hours or overnight to finishing drying. Store dried pavlovas in an air-tight container until just before serving. Tuck in an envelope or small towel with a handful of uncooked rice to wick up any extra moisture. (Loose rice is not clean and may stick.) Left unopened, dried pavlovas should last a month or more. If they are a little sticky when you open the box, dry them out in a warm oven for a few minutes.
- To serve Vegan Mini-Pavlovas, set out them with your choice of toppings. Whipped cream and fresh fruit are classic. I used whipped coconut cream. I added NewTella (chocolate-hazelnut spread) and raspberry jam. Adorn pavlovas before serving or let your guests customize their own treats.
Pavlova purists will note that I also left out the cornstarch, which is supposed to create a chewy center. I'll try it next time, but I just can't wait to share this new favorite. I
Make a mini-pavlova kit as a Christmas present, Mothers' Day gift, or whenever you want to brighten someone's day. I gave the one shown below to my dear sister-in-law as a Christmas present.
Nutritional Information for Vegan Mini-Pavlovas
Information for one shell without topping or 1/16th of the recipe above.