These mini Pavlova nests are filled with whipped cream and fresh fruit. They’re crisp on the outside and soft in the middle – a delicious way to use up any extra egg whites you have.
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Freeze spare egg whites
If you have leftover egg whites, freeze them individually, e.g. in ice cube trays, then pop them in a resealable plastic bag. They will keep for up to a year, but I suggest labelling each batch with the date so that you use them in age order. To defrost, just leave in the fridge overnight.
How to use up spare egg yolks
If you are making this with fresh eggs, what to do with the yolks? I made mayonnaise with mine. It was very rich but utterly delicious. I usually use whole eggs so this was denser but so good that I might start freezing those egg whites.
You could also add the yolks to scrambled egg. Probably not more than one per person though. Put the yolks, with another whole egg, in a plastic box in the fridge to keep for a day or two. Egg yolks don’t freeze well, so I’d also add them to cheese sauce or custard or make some pastry cases for quiches using pâte brisée, which has an egg yolk added. The filling for quiches can also benefit from an extra yolk.
Using bought meringue nests
If you have no time to make the meringue nests, you could buy them. Waitrose has some that are made from free-range eggs, don’t have any additives and will keep for a few months. I have tried them (in the name of research) and they’re very good – although somewhat smaller than the ones I made. The eggs used are pasteurised, so they are suitable for anyone with a weakened immune system, which includes pregnant women. This matters because a Pavlova, which this recipe is based on, is crisp on the outside but still soft and chewy in the middle – so the egg whites aren’t totally cooked. Eggs bought in the UK are perfectly fine to eat in this state. But if in doubt, only buy eggs with the lion mark.
How long does a Pavlova keep?
If you make the meringues yourself, you will need to use them within a couple of days. I tend to keep mine, still on the baking sheets, in the cold oven. They are quick to assemble and if you have a child of a suitable age, they could be bribed, with the promise of one, to do it for you. (I find that works quite well.)
If you need to make the meringues further in advance, use a different meringue mixture – the recipe is in this one for Eton Mess.
Mini Pavlova Nests
For the Mini Pavlova Nests:
- 4 large egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 250 g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (5ml)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (2.5ml)
- 2 teaspoons cornflour/cornstarch (10ml)
- 225 ml double cream, 1 carton
- 400 g fresh berries
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/ gas mark 4/ 350°F
- Draw 5 circles of approximately 10cm diameter on the back of each baking parchment sheet and lay the parchment on the baking sheets.
For the Mini Pavlova Nests:
- Whisk the egg whites with the salt until they hold firm peaks, but are not dry
- Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whilst still whiskingThe meringue will be glossy and still firm
- Sprinkle the vinegar, vanilla extract and cornflour over the meringue and fold in carefully with a large metal spoonYou want to keep the air in the meringue
- Spoon the mixture onto the parchment, smoothing with a knife or small spoon into each circle. Make a hollow in the middle for the fruit and cream later
- Put into the oven and turn the heat down to 150°C/ 130°C fan/ gas mark 2/ 300°F and cook for 25 minutes
- Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in for a further 30 minutes
- Take out of the oven and transfer the meringues on their liners onto a wire cooling rack to completely cool before filling.
To fill and decorate:
- Whip the cream until soft and holding its shape. Spoon the cream into the Pavlova nests and spread about a bit
- Arrange the fruit as you like.