Mini pavlovas are an adorable, easy to make, gluten free and mess free crowd pleaser and because they are so elegant they are a lovely dessert to end a sit down meal. While most pavlova recipes use heavy cream, I love the nutty, tangy flavor of creme fraiche and it marries particularly well with the strawberries.
You can purchase mini pavlova shells in the Meringue Shop and if you live in the Bay Area you can certainly call us to order the entire dessert from Délice Glacé but I am hoping that this recipe and others that will follow, will give you the option of making your own fillings at home.
So first a history lesson about pavlova. Why? Because I'm a nerd and I love food history. So the Pavlova is a classic meringue dessert that is named for the Prima Ballerina Anna Pavlova. This dessert was originally served to her when she was on tour in Australia and New Zealand. Now here is the contentious part- both countries claim to have invented the dessert. I choose not to get in the middle of any meringue skirmishes but I can tell you that on my visit to New Zealand last year I had some pretty spectacular pavs (sorry no pics of the Pavlovas because we were too busy eating but here is a photo of us having a blast- thanks to @latitudesouthtravelcompany- this not a paid sponsorship). I was hoping to taste the Australian versions this year but a pesky pandemic has laid waste to those plans- just for now- not forever.
Ingredients for Mini Pavlova filling:
1/4 Cup Creme fraiche
1 tbs confectioners' sugar
150 g fresh strawberries
50g fresh cherries
1 tbs sugar
Finely chop the strawberries and cherries.
Add the sugar to the strawberries and place in a small saucepan. Reserve the cherries.
Heat the mixture on medium heat just till you start to see some syrup forming and coating the berries. Remove from heat. Cool completely.
Add the cherries to the strawberry mixture and refrigerate.
Whip the creme fraiche with the confectioners' sugar.
Assemble the mini pavlovas (see video below). I like to add a little fruit mixture at the bottom and then alternate between fruit and cream. I used Wilton tip 1M to pipe the cream but fluffy dollops of it on the shells look really pretty too.