You guys. I made something delicious. While, uh avoiding actual adult responsibilities on Saturday I made baked meringues for a Pavlova. I decided to make small meringues because full size Pavlova should be eaten within a few hours of being topped with cream and fruit.
I will say though, I cheated. I have meringue powder I'd like to use up, so following the recipe on the back of the container to make my meringue. I've listed the Kitchn recipe below that I followed for everything else. I'm not sure if it's the meringue powder or my hurriedness but the centers of my meringues are white and kinda chewy when you bite into them. It's a little messy, but I would make it again. I'd can see it being a great alternative dessert for someone with gluten or dairy sensitivities. Swapping out the diary cream for coconut cream would be a quick and probably pretty tasty solution.
Light, Airy Pavlova from Kitchn
For the meringue base:
4 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
For the topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups diced fresh fruit
1. Prepare for Baking: Preheat the oven to 275°F with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Trace a 9" circle on the parchment using a cake pan or dinner plate as a guide. (If making mini-pavlovas, use drinking glasses as guides.) Flip the parchment over. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Mix the vanilla and white vinegar together in a separate bowl.
2. Whip the Meringue: Make sure your mixing bowl and beaters are very clean with no residual fat or grease. Pour the egg whites in to the bowl and begin beating at low speed. Gradually increase the speed to medium.
When the egg whites have reached soft peak consistency and the beaters leave trails in the whipped whites, begin adding the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, waiting a few seconds between each addition. While doing this, gradually increase the speed so that you are at maximum speed once all the sugar has been added.
Continue whipping until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Stop the mixer and sprinkle the vanilla and vinegar over the meringue. Beat for another 20 seconds to fully mix.
3. Shape the Meringue: Use a spatula to scrape all the meringue onto the parchment in the center of the circle. Working from the inside out, spread the meringue to fill the circle. Smooth the sides if desired or leave it in billowy lumps.
4. Bake the Meringue: Put the meringue in the oven and immediately turn down the heat to 250°F. Make for 60-70 minutes for one large pavlova or 50-60 minutes for mini-pavlovas. The pavlovas are done when the outsides are dry to the touch, are very slightly browned, and sound hollow when tapped. It's fine if cracks form in the crust.
Turn the oven off, but leave the pavlova inside with the oven door ajar. Let sit until the pavlova is completely cooled, or overnight. At this point, the pavlova can be wrapped in plastic or sealed in an airtight container and kept for several days unless your house gets very humid (in which case, eat your pavlova right away!).
5. Finish the Pavlova: Just before you're ready to serve, make the whipped cream. Combine the cream, vanilla, and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until stiff peaks are formed. Spread the whipped cream over the pavlova, leaving a little bit of an edge. Top with fruit and serve within an hour or two. (Do not refrigerate; the meringue will quickly soften.)