After dinner Pavlovas

Today has been a baking day since the rainy, wet weather did not entice me to go outside. Our road and driveway had turned into a literal skating rink and the kids did go boot-skating and came in very wet. Yesterday when I went on a little stroll for fresh air I had to be extra careful to not fall. The three kilometer little loop went fine but just as I was taking the shortcut to the door across the yard, I stepped on a patch of ice hidden under the snow. Down I went. No broken bones, perhaps a little bruise on my knee. Nothing serious. The picture of the branches below is from a week ago. So quickly the landscape changes.

2013-12-08 14.13.37-2And since the weather was dreary, we baked. We baked gingerbread, and made gingerbread trees, caramel sauce and made these dainty little pavlovas. Holiday dinners are usually so filling. The traditional Finnish dinner that we have on Christmas Eve is no different. It includes a salted ham that is baked on the hearth overnight and casseroles made from root vegetables. I had been flipping through a Pirkka magazine the previous week and found this recipe that served as my inspiration. The servings are intended to just give a little sweet flavor to end the meal since Christmas coffee with its abundance of treats is served later in the evening.

mini pavlovaMeringues

makes about 18  (6 cm/2.5 inch meringues)

4 egg whites

2 dl/0.8 c sugar

Beat your egg whites until a light foam and start adding the sugar in little by little. Continue beating until it is firm enough that it will not fall out of the bowl if you turn it upside down. By the time all of the sugar is added, it will be quite glossy.

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Scoop the meringue into a pastry bag and and make little nests by starting in the center and working your way around creating a round shape. Finish by adding one extra layer on the outer edge to create the nest.

2013-12-16 12.23.50Bake in a preheated oven at 125 C/250 F for about one hour. Allow to cool. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container. Sprinkle the bottom of the container with cornstarch to absorb any moisture.

Filling

Equal parts of whipped cream and marscapone cheese, quark or Greek yoghurt (about 2 dl/1 c of each will probably be sufficient)

Sugar

Red currants, cranberries or lingonberries

First whip the cream. Add in the the desired choice or marscapone cheese, quark or yoghurt. The slight sourness of the cheese, yoghurt or quark gives a nice contrast to the otherwise very sweet dessert. I used a quark flavored with rum and added lingonberries to the filling as well as a garnish. Add sugar to taste and spoon about two heaping tablespoons of filling in each nest. Garnish with a salted caramel sauce. Serve immediately.

little toesNow these little toes are all tucked in for the night, I might just start elfing around a bit. And as our four almost five year-old told me today, “Elves are magical creatures”. I would like to think so too.

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25 Comments

  1. I love days when the weather is wintery outside and you get to stay inside and bake! We had about 6 inches of snow in Michigan and I was tucked inside for a good portion of the weekend baking as well. On another note, we must be on the same wavelength because I made some meringue cookies this weekend! I think they’re very similar. It only proves that great minds think alike 🙂 I love the idea of adding cranberries or currants and making them an after dinner snack! Any chance your dessert is named after the Russian ballerina? I did a report on her in grade school and that’s what I thought of the moment I saw the name.

    1. Yes, the dessert is named after the ballerina, Anna Pavlova. According to Wikipedia, the dessert was created in her honor in New Zealand. Yes, great minds do think alike. 😉 …I was thinking to continue the baking streak to day and make date cake…and maybe rocky road squares. What else is on your baking list?

      1. How interesting, I guess the dessert would be perfect for a ballerina being fat free and all. I’ve got a few items left on my baking list, I’m thinking some frosted sugar cookies and maybe some brownies. Date cake sounds delicious! I feel like maybe I should make something with a little more nutritional value 😉

    1. Yes, I’m fine! 🙂 I really like adding the Greek yoghurt as well, it cuts the sweetness nicely…but that is just my personal preference. Thanks for stopping by and hope your Christmas is a peaceful one.

  2. The weather is dreary even in HK I had to wear even socks as it was only 9 degrees celsius. That is cold by HK standards. I have never tried baking a pavlovas and these look just stunning with the fruit drizzles on top for a splash of colour.

    1. We had +6 C this morning and it is so very slippery. I have watched as cars creep along our road since it is pure ice with a thin glaze of water on top. The pavlovas have been on my “to-do” list for a long time and finally they had their opportunity. They proved to be so easy.

  3. Pavlovas and meringue desserts were not part of our cooking traditions. They fascinate me, though, but I fear I could never make a large pavlova. Your post may have convinced me that I can make these little ones. They certainly would make a great dessert for Christmas dinner, as you’ve planned.

    1. I have never been an expert in meringues either but these proved to be so very easy! I’m sure you would be successful as well. They can be made to look quite festive with very little effort. Hope you have a nice Christmas holiday.

  4. Your little meringues made in to mini pavlovas look perfect. I had a baking day today; a cherry clafouti, an apple spice cake and, then, I made a dessert with whipped cream and pureed rhubarb and strawberries. The latter had an accident and slipped (out of my hand) and some of it ended up on the walls and on the floor. What a mess I made. But there was enough left in the bowl for us to eat. I like your tip about the cornstarch in the box to absorb moisture. Take care with that slippery ice and enjoy the magic of elves.

    1. Your list of baking sounds all so delicious, as does your dessert! So glad it did not all end up on the floor…that would have been a disappointment! I happened to get some frozen rhubarb from a friend the other week and I think I’ll use your idea for our dessert today.

  5. Laila, your photos are so warm. I really feel you tell a story just with this, and then your story is delightful. That top photo though is sublime. And pavlova – what a brilliant idea. Strangely festive. Sophie xx

  6. I love the sound of your Pavlova…and it looks so delicate and pretty, too. The salted caramel sauce got my attention as well. It sounds like your gearing up for a wonderful holiday and I hope you’ll have no more ice. Be careful out there!

  7. Kudos again my dear! For many years we made lemon angelpie, meringue shell lemon filling topped with whipped cream and lemon zest. Maybe a thin slice of lemon. How much different is that? Tin & Ville & family are here. Nice. Merry Christmas and hugs.
    Love, Grampa

    1. Thanks Grampa! I was recently flipping through a cook book and found a recipe for angel pie. It looked wonderful and was thinking that I should try it. You’re right, it’s pretty close to these little things. Enjoy your Christmas with Tin and Ville! Hugs to everyone <3Laila

  8. I have always wanted to make a pavlova but was afraid. Still am. I have this mental image that they will fall flat! Yours are truly gorgeous! Are they soft inside? Those are my favourite.

    1. I dare you to try! These small ones are not hard at all and they are just slightly soft on the inside(when they were freshly made). Now they have been stored in an airtight container on the counter waiting for Christmas Eve..

  9. Your salted hearth-baked ham sounds lovely – look forward to seeing the photos! Great-looking meringues, and there is nothing more enticing than a bowl of freshly-whipped egg whites!
    We’re in the middle of a heat wave (40°C yesterday!) so it’s beautiful seeing your photos of snow-capped trees and tootsies warming themselves by the fire.

    1. Wow! It is quite warm in your corner of the world! My husband usually does the ham every year…I’ll try to have my camera handy and see if I can get some shots 🙂 Merry Christmas to you!

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