Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas

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Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas garnished with blueberries and mint sit on a white cake tray decorated with blue flowers.

Where the heck is spring??  As I write this it is literally -15°C.  I think global warming has skipped over us here in Alberta.  But these bright and cheery Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas are sure to brighten and warm any day.  Crisp yet chewy pavlova nests are filled with lemon curd and whipped cream filling.  They are lovely topped with fresh berries such as blueberry or raspberry and perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day. 

Mini pavlova nests piped onto a baking tray lined with parchment and ready to be baked for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas.

Sadly, with the way the world is these days, most of us may not be having much of a family gathering at Easter.  It will most likely be a modest meal with homebound family members and chats throughout the weekend with family and friends on Facetime or Skype. And this is okay because it’s what we need to do right now to keep everyone safe. As for this beautiful dessert, perhaps it will have to wait for another special occasion. Maybe Mother’s Day, bridal shower or what the heck, how about the first day of summer! There are always reasons to celebrate, so you’ll want to bookmark this recipe.

Lemon curd for Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas in a small glass bowl that is resting on a blue and white cloth.

Here are a few helpful hints for this recipe:

-make sure your mixing bowl is very clean (grease will hinder a great meringue).

-use egg whites that are at room temperature (warm egg whites incorporate more air than cold ones).

-you can grind granulated sugar for about 10 seconds using a mini grinder if castor sugar is not available.

-stick the parchment to the baking tray with a few dabs of meringue to prevent it from moving while piping.

-place the tray on a damp towel to prevent the tray from moving while piping.

-don’t open the oven door until it has completely cooled as the warm dry air inside helps to dry out the meringues without further cooking.

-baked meringues will keep several days in an airtight container at room temperature.

-add filling to the meringue nests when ready to serve or up to a couple hours in advance. Adding it more than a couple of hours ahead will cause the meringues to soften too much.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas sit on a white cake tray in the background while one is served on a while dessert plate and garnished with blueberries and mint.

Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Servings Prep Time
    8 people 30-40 minutes
    Cook Time Passive Time
    80 minutes 1+ hours
    Lemon Cream Mini Pavlovas
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Servings Prep Time
      8 people 30-40 minutes
      Cook Time Passive Time
      80 minutes 1+ hours
      Ingredients
      Mini Pavlovas
      Lemon Cream
      Servings: people
      Instructions
      Mini Pavlovas
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking tray with parchment and mark out 8-3" circles. Flip parchment over.
      2. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip until soft peaks are starting to form. Gradually add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to whip on high speed until stiff and glossy, about 6-7 minutes using a stand mixer.
      3. Add vanilla and whip to combine.
      4. Sift cornstarch over the meringue and fold to combine.
      5. Fit a large piping bag with your desired tip, I used a Wilton 1M.
      6. Fill the piping bag with meringue and squeeze a dab of meringue onto the corners of the parchment to stick it to the baking tray. This will help keep the parchment from moving while you pipe. Place the baking tray on a slightly damp kitchen towel to prevent the tray from moving. Fill in the traced circle, creating a base. Continue to pipe along the edge of the base for two turns, creating a basket.
      7. Place the tray in the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn oven temperature to 225°F. Bake for 80 minutes, turn off the oven and allow meringues to remain undisturbed in the oven until completely cool. Meringues will be firm and hollow sounding with a slight bit of tackiness and chew in the bottom layer.
      Lemon Cream
      1. Combine all ingredients except butter in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk in butter until smooth.
      2. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before covering with plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow to cool completely and chill until ready to use.
      3. When ready to assemble pavlovas, which should be no more than 2 hours in advance, whip heavy cream until stiff. Fold whipped cream into lemon curd and fill meringues generously. Top with fresh blueberries and serve.
      Recipe Notes

      -Using egg whites at room temperature will result in more volume.

      -If unable to use castor or superfine sugar, simply grind regular granulated sugar in a mini coffee grinder for about 10 seconds.  Even this is not true castor sugar, it breaks down the sugar enough for better absorption into the meringue.

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      Blueberry French Toast Bake

      Blueberry French Toast Bake

      This isn’t just any blueberry french toast! It’s a gorgeous make ahead Blueberry French Toast Bake that’s laced with cream cheese, blueberries and topped with a balsamic blueberry sauce that will have you licking your plate. It’s delicious to say the least and absolutely perfect for your Family Day long weekend. For me living in Alberta, Family Day falls on February 19th, and as luck would have it, I have the day off.

      I foresee a family day starting with a little extra sleep, not too much though! Just enough to make it feel indulgent but not enough to take away too much time of the day. Next comes the coffee, in large supply, sipped lazily on the sofa with idle chit chat and the odd flick of the cat toy. Soon after is breakfast, not our usual go to bacon and eggs but an indulgent make ahead Blueberry French Toast Bake. Crispy and eggy with speckles of cream cheese and blueberries. It’s pretty great at that, but wait, it’s topped with a bold, sweet and tangy balsamic blueberry sauce. The combination is exceptional, so if you’re lucky enough to spend the day with your family, treat everyone with a make ahead breakfast that they’ll be asking for time and again. Enjoy!

      Recipe source for Blueberry French Toast Bake adapted slightly from Best of Bridge French Toast Raphael

       

      Blueberry French Toast Bake
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        6 people 25 minutes
        Cook Time
        40-45 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        6 people 25 minutes
        Cook Time
        40-45 minutes
        Blueberry French Toast Bake
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          6 people 25 minutes
          Cook Time
          40-45 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          6 people 25 minutes
          Cook Time
          40-45 minutes
          Ingredients
          Blueberry French Toast Bake
          Balsamic Blueberry Sauce
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          Blueberry French Toast Bake
          1. In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg.
          2. Generously butter an 8"x8" pan. Spread half the bread cubes evenly in pan and dot with half of the cream cheese chunks. Sprinkle with 1/2 the blueberries. Repeat with remaining bread, cream cheese and blueberries. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
          3. Preheat oven to 375℉. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes until golden and set in the centre. Remove from oven and serve with balsamic blueberry sauce.
          Balsamic Blueberry Sauce
          1. In a medium sauce pan combine blueberries, sugar, and 4 tbsp of water. Cook over medium heat until simmering and sugar has dissolved, approximately 10 minutes. Stir together cornstarch and remaining 2 tbsp of water. Stir into blueberries and heat to a full simmer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and blueberry balsamic vinegar. Serve warm with french toast.
          Recipe Notes

          Balsamic Blueberry Sauce can be made a day ahead with the french toast and rewarmed for serving, or cooked while the Blueberry French Toast  is baking. I made the french toast in muffin tins for presentation, however they were fussy to assemble and difficult to remove from tins.  A single 8"x8" pan is recommended.

          Blueberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

          Blueberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

          Not your ordinary oatmeal cookies! Blueberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies are bursting with dried blueberries and chunks of white chocolate. It makes these oatmeal cookies fabulous. A slightly plump oatmeal cookie with a hint of cinnamon and crispy edges. A great treat and a nice change from the ordinary.

          Not only have dried blueberries taken over my cookies, I also use them in my granola, muffins and snack mixes. Anywhere you might think to use dried fruit is where you’ll want to throw in a handful of plump and chewy blueberries. The blueberries are fantastic with the white chocolate in these cookies, but equally delicious in granola with yogurt too. They are my new favourite dried fruit and I’m putting them in everything these days. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

          Recipe source for Blueberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies:  Compelled To Cook

          Blueberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            3 1/2 dozen 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            12 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            3 1/2 dozen 20 minutes
            Cook Time
            12 minutes
            Blueberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              3 1/2 dozen 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              12 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              3 1/2 dozen 20 minutes
              Cook Time
              12 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: dozen
              Instructions
              1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl using a wooden spoon or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together butter and both sugars. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla mixing until fully incorporated. Stir in flour, then add oatmeal, white chocolate and bluberries, mixing until just combined.
              2. Line baking sheets with parchment and using approximately 2 tbsp of dough place onto sheet leaving at least 2 inches between cookies. Flatten each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand or bottom of a glass. Bake for approximately 12 minutes in centre of oven. Remove from oven and allow to rest on tray for 3-5 minutes. Remove with a spatula to a cooling rack.
              Recipe Notes

              It is best to bake only one or two trays at a time in the centre of the oven.

              Summer Berry Ambrosia

              Summer Berry Ambrosia

              Show off your red white and blue the delicious way with Summer Berry Ambrosia.   A lovely salad that’s a little part dessert and fantastic for your 4th of July celebration, potluck or BBQ this summer.   Gorgeous red and blue summer berries folded into a sweet white marshmallow cloud that’s creamy and crunchy with coconut. It will be loved by children and adults alike.

              Although Summer Berry Ambrosia is on the sweeter side for being a salad, it’s not as sweet as you might think.  There is no added sugar in this salad.  The sweetness comes from the sour cream “washing off” the sugar already on the marshmallows and coconut. This melding of ingredients creates the perfect balance of sweetness.  The berries add brightness and their inherent tangy sweetness as well.  It’s a great combination of simplicity, texture and flavours.

              Summer Berry Ambrosia is super easy to put together with little prep and only a handful of ingredients.  You can have it stirred up in no time at all.  It takes longer to sit and meld the flavours than it does to actually make.

              Recipe source for Summer Berry Ambrosia:  Compelled To Cook

               

              Summer Berry Ambrosia
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                6-8 people 15 minutes
                Passive Time
                1 1/2 hours
                Servings Prep Time
                6-8 people 15 minutes
                Passive Time
                1 1/2 hours
                Summer Berry Ambrosia
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  6-8 people 15 minutes
                  Passive Time
                  1 1/2 hours
                  Servings Prep Time
                  6-8 people 15 minutes
                  Passive Time
                  1 1/2 hours
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: people
                  Instructions
                  1. In a large bowl whisk together sour cream and vanilla. Fold in marshmallows, coconut and berries. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 1/2 hours to meld flavours. Top with toasted coconut if desired. Best the day it is made.
                  Recipe Notes

                  Makes approximately 6 cups.