These Mini Berry Pavlovas with Whipped Mascarpone and Lemon Curd start with a base of sweet and airy pavlova, a dollop lemon curd, topped with an assortment of fresh seasonal berries. Then, sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar and lemon zest.
One of the best things about 2017 was that I tried my very first pavlova dessert and it was TO. DIE. FOR! They were mini berry pavlovas with whipped mascarpone and lemon curd to be exact. Doesn’t that sound amazing?! If your cultural upbringing was anything like mine, you grew up indulging in desserts like rice krispy squares, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, funfetti cupcakes, and specifically in my case my Oma’s Napoleon cake. But a pavlova? I’d never even heard of such a dessert until this year when several of the foodie bloggers I follow on Instagram kept raving about it. The only thing I knew about the pavlova was that it looked absolutely GORGEOUS when piled with a mountain of fresh fruit. * Insert all the heart eyes right here *
Here’s some fun facts about the mysterious and oh-so-beautiful pavlova:
- It’s pronounced exactly how it’s spelled: Pav-Low-Vah. (Personally I think it’s one of those words that’s fun to say.)
- Pavlova is a meringue dessert, meaning it’s made of egg whites and sugar. Anytime you see a recipe that requires egg whites, you can expect the resulting dessert will be light and airy. Pavlovas have crispy edges, soft centers, and are altogether sweet.
- The pavlova was named after the Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova. (I wonder if her fluffy white tutu had anything to do with it?)
- They say it’s a dessert that originated from Australia and/or New Zealand.
- The toppings for pavlovas are endless! Caramel sauce, chocolate, almond flakes, coconut, fruit…and pretty much anything else you happen to be craving. Just make sure that the flavours balance each other out!
My first pavlova(s).
Pavlovas were love at first sight–and taste–for me. We made pavlovas at my workplace for the residents’ Christmas party and they seemed like an all too fitting dessert for the fancy affair. We’re talking brie-pecan-filled puff pastry appetizers, juicy filet mignons sliced to order, and a colourful assortment of roasted vegetables styled beautifully atop wooden platters with pops of Rosemary sprigs for garnish. (Rosemary is the prettiest garnish–especially at Christmastime, don’t you think?)
Normally you would make one large pavlova and then slice it cake-style, but for this party we decided that baking them into mini portions would be the best, easiest, and the less-messy option. Plus, mini desserts are just too fancy to pass up, you know?
The complementing of flavours.
These sweet mini pavlovas were given a dollop lemon curd, topped with an assortment of fresh berries (kiwi, blackberry, and raspberry), and then sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar and lemon zest. Where’s the whipped mascarpone cheese…as the title suggests? We omitted it for cost reasons, but I can assure you that the mascarpone cheese (also another fun word to say!) would add an AMAZING texture element to this dessert! I’m drooling just at the mere thought of it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about these mini berry pavlovas with whipped mascarpone and lemon curd recipe it’s that all the flavours are integral to the success of this dessert. When I took a little bite of the meringue base I found it to be SO sweet–too sweet. When I had a little taste of the lemon curd on its own it was incredibly tart. And then berries by themselves are of course just plain delicious. BUT when I took a bite of all three elements together it was like fireworks in my mouth; the sweet crispy meringue, velvety tart lemon curd, and the refreshing burst of berry goodness all worked together to create something delicious! The meringue was no longer too sweet and the lemon curd was no longer too tart because they complemented one another to perfection!
Recipe notes for mini berry pavlovas with whipped mascarpone and lemon curd
Are you ready bake your first mini berry pavlovas with whipped mascarpone and lemon curd? If it’s a foreign dessert to you like it was to me, it can come across as a wee-bit intimidating. And there are some steps involved (the forming of the meringue bases, the whisking of the lemon curd, the whipping of the mascarpone, and the assembling of all the elements at the end) but let the steps work for you. (Use those multi-tasking skills I know you have!)
Like anything in life, take it one step at a time, breaking the recipe down. If the thought of experimenting with a dessert like this overwhelms you, I wrote a super helpful blog post with 10 of my best tips to reach success in the kitchen! for such an occasion as this! The simple tips will move mountains for you, friends.
Some suggest that this can be an overnight type of recipe. Because the meringues take one hour to bake in the oven and at least one hour to sit in the oven while cooling off, why not start this recipe the evening before you want to serve them? Before bed you could do this:
- Pop the meringues in the oven, bake for one hour.
- While meringues are baking, make your lemon curd, put plastic wrap directly on top of the curd and place in the fridge.
- Whip your mascarpone mixture and place in the fridge.
- When the hour timer goes off, turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven over night.
- The next day, all you have to do is the FUN PART! Assemble the ingredients, top with fresh berries and dust your worries away with powdered sugar and a sprinkling of lemon zest! Serve and enjoy!
Products Used To Make This Recipe Happen:
Mini Berry Pavlovas Recipe:
Mini Berry Pavlovas with Whipped Mascarpone and Lemon Curd.
- 6 Large egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1 1/3 Cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, room temp
- 7 Large egg yolks
- 1 Cup sugar
- 1/2 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 or 4 lemons)
- Zest from one lemon
- 8 oz Mascarpone cheese
- 1 1/2 Cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 Cup Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Fresh berries (kiwi, blackberries, raspberries)
- Powdered Sugar
- Lemon Zest
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a (clean and grease-free) bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed, beat the egg whites with the whip attachment until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the whites are at soft peak. Slowly add the sugar in a constant stream as the eggs are whipping. Add the vanilla, vinegar and cornstarch.
Beat the eggs until they are glossy and hold a peak when lifted out of the bowl. Spoon the meringue onto the prepared cookie sheets into 12 equal mounds. Use the back of the spoon to make a well in the mound of meringue. You may need to wet the spoon slightly to do this easily.
Bake the meringues for 1 hour at 200 degrees F. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to stay in the cooling oven for another hour. This will further dry the meringue and prevent them from collapsing.
While the meringues are baking, make your lemon curd: In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks. Whisk in the sugar. Mix in the lemon juice and zest.
Over a double boiler, on medium heat, whisk the lemon mixture until it thickens about 172 degrees. Remove from heat, cool to 140 degrees (20 minutes). Whisk in butter.
Strain the lemon curd into a large dish and cover the surface directly with plastic wrap, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use, at least 30 minutes.
In a bowl, beat the Mascarpone cheese, heavy cream, and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, and beat until it forms soft peaks.
Assembly: add a spoon of the chilled lemon curd into the well of the meringue bases, top with whipped mascarpone and fresh berries. Dust the pavlovas with powdered sugar and lemon zest. Be creative here--arrange and decorate so each of the elements are visible. Enjoy!
Do you love pavlovas too?! What are your favourite toppings? I’d love to hear them! Also, let me know if you make this recipe for sweet and airy mini berry pavlovas with whipped mascarpone and lemon curd! Thanks, friends and happy baking! 🙂
Need more berry-inspiration? Check out the Flour & Floral instagram feed–it’s packed with berry desserts perfect for any occasion!