Yield: Yields 30 bite-size pavlovas
These tiny mouthfuls are a scaled-down version of the classic Australian dessert: a crunchy meringue shell, sweet-tart passionfruit cream filling, and colorful fresh-fruit garnish. Use whatever fruit is in season to garnish the Pavlovas, from a few small berries to a slice of kiwi or starfruit.
Run a large, stainless-steel mixing bowl under hot water to warm it. Dry the inside thoroughly, add the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Set the bowl in the mixer and surround the base of the bowl with a warm, damp dishtowel to keep the egg whites warm. Whip the whites at medium-high speed until they’re stiff and start to pull away from the sides of the bowl; they’ll look like they’re about to separate. Immediately start adding the superfine sugar by sprinkling it in slowly, about 1 Tbs. at a time; incorporating the whole 1-2/3 cups should take about 10 minutes. Combine the cornstarch with the last 2 Tbs. of sugar and add them together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, continue whipping, and slowly add the vinegar and vanilla. Whip for another minute. The mixture should be extremely glossy and fluffy.
Using a 1-oz. ice-cream scoop or large spoon, scoop 2 Tbs. of meringue onto the parchment for each Pavlova and make a small depression in the center of each.Put the Pavlovas in the heated oven and immediately turn down the heat to 250°F. Bake, without opening the door for at least the first 20 minutes, until they’re crisp and dry looking on the outside with just a hint of ivory color, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the Pavlovas from the oven and put the baking sheet on a rack to cool.
Make Ahead Tips
You can bake the meringues up to two days ahead. Let them cool completely and then store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to assemble the dessert.
You can also make one large Pavlova: Spread the meringue on the prepared baking sheet into a 7-in. round, about 3 inches high. Make a shallow depression in the center to allow for the filling. As with the minis, turn the heat down to 250°F just after it goes into the oven. Bake until the shell is crisp and dry looking on the outside, about 1-1/2 hours, then turn off the heat and leave it in the oven, with the door cracked, for another 30 minutes. Fill and decorate the meringue just as for the minis.
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This is a no-fail recipe that can even work in humid conditions. Depending on how long you cook them, you can get a nice crisp outside and a spongy interior, lending themselves to gooey goodness I have used this recipe to make large Pavlovas as well.
I found they were a bit chewy as cooked per direction. I baked them an extra hour at 175degF and they became crunchy. Much easier to eat and still delicious. They are a really nice alternative dessert, especially for gluten sensitive individuals.
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