I think the very first time I even heard the word “pavlova” I was watching an episode of Martha Stewart Living. Martha made mini pavlovas that she formed into perfect spheres. When they came out of the oven and cooled completely, each one was broken in half through the middle and a perfect scoop of passion fruit sorbet was placed inside. I was intrigued. But it took a long time for me to actually make pavlova. Years. And now it’s become one of our very favorite desserts, particularly in the summer when berries and stone fruit abound.
Summer heightens my affection for lavender. It seems like it’s every where I look these days and I adore it. Adding a little lavender to these mini pavlovas makes them extra special. There’s just enough ground dried buds for a pleasant lavender essence, but not enough to remind you of perfume (or worse, soap!).
Each mini pavlova should have a crisp, melt-in-your-mouth shell with a chewy, marshmallow-y center. The fruit should be ripe and juicy. Typically there is a cream of some sort too. I used to serve them with yogurt, but my love affair with coconut cream is going strong, so that’s what I used for this recipe. Summer is the perfect time for pavlova because they are at their very best when the weather is dry and warm. Humidity makes for pavlova that doesn’t dry out enough – the surface becomes sticky quickly. But it’s not impossible! I made them when we lived in New York successfully. They just don’t keep quite as long…which usually isn’t a problem. Ha!
I made two variations – neither of which could be determined the clear winner. It was neck-in-neck and we decided we loved both equally. There is something quite wonderful about the deep, dark chocolate mousse with that hint of lavender, the overt sweetness from the pavlova, and the slightly tart blueberries. It just tastes right. Like nothing else could possibly add anything that isn’t already there. And I suppose that’s how I feel about the combination of strawberries and lemon too. Lavender goes well with each element and they all go well with each other, so everything is in harmony.
Since it’s still the beginning of the month, it’s the perfect time to check out what’s available and in-season during June. This month’s #EatSeasonal round-up is laden with beautiful summer berries and other produce. So many gorgeous recipes from my fellow food bloggers!
Blueberry Mint Gin Cocktail by Vintage Mixer
Bourbon-Cherry and Almond Dutch Baby by Floating Kitchen
Breakfast Strawberry Shortcakes by Completely Delicious
Strawberry and Mango Kale Salad by Project Domestication
Spinach Salad with Grilled Strawberries, Asparagus & Walnuts by Simple Bites
Blueberry Greek Yogurt Waffles by The Lemon Bowl
Rhubarb Crumb Bars by Bless This Mess
Chocolate Cherry Cake with Chocolate Oat Streusel by Climbing Grier Mountain
Super Summer Detox Salad by Well Plated
Blueberry, Feta and Honey-Caramelized Onion Naan Pizza by Kitchen Confidante
Cumin Orange Shrimp-Stuffed Cucumber Boats by Cookin’ Canuck
Blueberry Buckle by Foodie Crush
Keep reading for the mini lavender pavlovas recipe!
- ¾ cup egg whites, at room temperature (from 5-6 large eggs)
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1½ cups organic raw sugar
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon culinary lavender buds (organic if possible)
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- For strawberry lemon topping:
- 1 pound ripe strawberries, sliced
- ¾ cup full fat coconut cream, chilled
- 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice plus 1 Tbsp. for strawberries
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup, divided
- For chocolate blueberry topping:
- ¾ cup full fat coconut cream, chilled
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- Bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 275°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place sugar, cornstarch, and lavender buds in a food processor or blender. Pulse for 30-60 seconds until sugar and lavender are finely ground. In a small bowl, mix together vinegar and vanilla extract. Set both aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with the sea salt on medium speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, add the lavender sugar mixture one tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the vanilla and vinegar mixture. Continue beating until glossy.
- Use a mini-ice cream scoop to form 36 small mounds on the baking sheets. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until lightly golden and dry on the outside. Turn off oven and prop it open with a wooden spoon. Let cool completely.
- While pavlovas are cooling, prepare the toppings.
- For lemon cream - in a medium bowl whisk together coconut cream, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon of the maple syrup. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries with remaining 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon maple syrup. Cover both bowls and place in fridge to chill until ready to serve.
- For chocolate cream: place chopped bittersweet chocolate in medium bowl and heat on 50% power in microwave for 10-20 second intervals until melted. Stir in the cold coconut cream until well combined. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- To serve - place 3-4 mini pavlovas in a shallow bowl or on a serving plate. Lightly crack the tops with the back of a spoon, if desired, which will allow the cream and fruit to fill the center. Top with the lemon or chocolate cream and fresh fruit. Garnish with the bittersweet chocolate shavings, if desired.