Meringue Nests (Mini Pavlovas)

I have quite a few tips & notes already on my Meringues with Chocolate Ganache, so I’ve created a new recipe page to show something different to do with a basic French meringue.

This is still on the Very Easy scale, but the results are quite ‘Wow!’ and the tasters – half the village on a Sunday morning – enjoyed them.

Makes: 18 mini Pavlovas

 

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs at room temperature, separated whites only
    (62-68g each, when weighed in their shells)
  • 150g caster sugar (white or golden)
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • Gel food colour (optional)
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract, or more to your taste
  • 30g+ icing sugar (approx 3 tablespoons+), or more to your taste
  • Fresh fruit, to garnish

Kit

  • 2 large mixing bowls (or the same 1, washed in between)
  • Electric mixer (hand-held, or stand)
  • 2 baking trays
  • Baking/parchment paper, cut to line the bottom of the trays
  • 2 piping bags
  • 2 piping nozzles, 1 large and 1 small
  • Cooling rack

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 120 C (100 C fan-assisted). Place the paper in the trays.
  2. Rub the cut side of the lemon all around the inside of your mixing bowl. Rub it also over the beaters of your electric mixer. If you leave blobs of lemon pulp, just rub them off with the edge of the lemon.
  3. Whisk the egg whites starting at low speed. Gradually increase the speed to high as the colour and texture change. Continue whisking until you have ‘soft peaks’ – when you stop the mixer and lift the beaters up, the stalagmites formed hold for a second, and then flop over.
  4. Add the sugar a large spoonful at a time, with the mixer on low. As you add more sugar, keep increasing the speed and add food colour (if using), until all the sugar’s been added. Continue whisking on high speed until you have glossy ‘stiff peaks’ (i.e., you think you could turn the bowl over your head without consequences).
  5. To test that it’s been whisked enough, stop the mixer. Push your index finger in and rub it along the bottom of the bowl, then rub it against your thumb. Can you feel sugar grains? If so, continue whisking on high speed for 15 seconds, and test again. Continue whisking and testing until you feel no graininess.
  6. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large nozzle. Pipe the base of the nest by starting in the middle, and swirling out from there as large as you like (the pictured examples are about 2″ in diameter). Then, pipe another layer around the outside of the base (see Footnote for video). Continue until you use all the meringue – you should get 18 2″ nests; fewer if piping larger bases.
  7. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, then gently nudge one of the nests. Does it move easily on the paper? If so, remove the trays from the oven. If not, turn the trays and leave for another 10 minutes. When they’re ready, remove the trays from the oven and move the meringues to a wire rack to cool.

    (As per my original meringue recipe, this will make marshmallow-y meringues – crunchy on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside. If you want crunchy all the way through, bake for 1 hour 35 minutes, then turn the oven off and let them cool inside with the oven door closed.)
  8. When the nests are fully cooled, whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar until very stiff. Fill another piping bag fitted with a smaller nozzle, and pipe the cream into each nest.
  9. Garnish with whole or sliced fruit.

Piping Notes
I used a large open star nozzle for the meringue, and a smaller open star nozzle for the cream. Doing this again, I’d just use a small round hole nozzle for the cream, as the star made it look messy rather than sculptured as I’d wanted.

You could use a large round hole nozzle for the nests, if you like.

This is a good (if repetitive) video on how to pipe meringue nests. He uses a large round hole nozzle, and does a double layer around the sides to make a deep nest for a larger base. He also shows the proper ‘flick’ at the end of piping, so you don’t end up with little tails of meringue sticking up.

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