Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Strawberry Mini Pavlovas with Cardamom Syrup and Creme

When we were younger, my older sister and I were almost more like little boys sometimes.
We didn't usually want to wear dresses, lots of outdoor play, tree climbing, sandboxes, constantly playing with the boy down the street and his imaginary enemy who lived in the sandbox (play with this boy also includes tuning in to heyday WWF, Atari, GI Joe, and He-Man... both action figure and live-action), skinned knees, sprained ankles from jumping off swing sets, bike/big wheel riding and roller skating up and down the street, Evil Knievel activities that weren't really very risky, an actual attempted dig to China that was pretty short lived because it was in fact slow and boooooring, lightening bug and grasshopper collecting, playing with the tar in the street when it bubbled up on really hot days...

There was the occasional Barbie (one each, not a zillion) and My Little Pony activity going on though too.
We had a pool in the back yard and would swim every night in the summer before going to bed.
All fun.

In the summer we ALWAYS had strawberry shortcake.
Not with meringues, but with Bisquick shortcake.
I'm sure meringues were too time and attention consuming for Mom at the time, and why would kids need extra pure sugar? In fact, there were many things we weren't allowed to have with extra colors and sugar... "fun" cereal and fake juice, for instance. We ate Cheerio's for breakfast.

I'm sure we had meringues on occasion, but not often, and I'm not sure it was ever as a part of strawberry shortcake. However, meringues are beautiful, can be impressive, and are much more sophisticated than Bisquick shortcake.

No matter what, meringues are a good thing to have up your sleeve. Not too hard to make, delicious, gorgeous, and versatile.

Soft peaks ready for sugar...

Stiff, glossy meringues ready to be baked!

This recipe will make six, but it's pretty simple to increase the amount when making meringues.
Generally speaking, one large egg white will yield two meringues along with 1/4 c sugar (yes, I know this recipe isn't exactly the way it goes, but that bit of information is just something to keep in the back of your mind). So, for eight you would use four whites and 1 cup sugar...

There are so many recipes out there that use egg yolks. This is a great way to use those extra whites you have left over!

The creme looks a little "peppered" with the cardamom in it (I don't think I had ever put anything but sugar- and sometimes vanilla- in cream).

I think this may become one of my favorite new desserts...
when strawberries are in season.
AND it has cardamom (yay!)

Ok, so I had to change the name- to me, this is what they are (and it sounds better).

Strawberry Mini Pavlovas with Cardamom Syrup and Creme
(AKA "Strawberry Clouds" from Gourmet Magazine, May 2006)
makes 6

3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes
1 c plus 2 T sugar
1/2 t ground cardamom
1 lb fresh strawberries, washed and thinly sliced (about 3 c)
3/4 c well-chilled heavy cream

Preheat oven to 190 degrees F (mine will not do so, so I preheated to 200).
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium speed in an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment until soft peaks are formed. Reduce speed to low and gradually add 3/4 c sugar while continually beating whites. When sugar is incorporated into whites, increase speed to medium and continue beating until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper("curled" side down and with a small dollop of meringue to "glue" down each corner of the paper) and form meringue into six mounds about 2 inches apart. Using a soup spoon, swirl mounds into 3 1/2-4 inch discs with 1 1/2-2 inch wide indentation in the center.

Bake meringues until dry, but still white (1 1/2- 2 hours depending on oven temperature). Turn off oven and let meringues cool in oven for an hour. Remove pan from oven and place on metal rack- let cool completely.

While meringues cool, make cardamom syrup. Mix 5 T sugar and 1/4 water with 1/4 t ground cardamom in a small saucepan. Stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to boil. Remove from heat and pour over strawberries. Gently mix to combine.

Whisk cream with 1 T sugar and 1/4 t cardamom until soft peaks form.

To assemble, pour 1/4 c strawberries and syrup over each meringue. Top with cardamom creme and then divide remaining berries among tops of meringues.
Serve immediately.


  1. I'd love to try this, especially with the cardamon! What an interesting addition.

    Oh, and congrats on 2,000 views already! :)


  2. Does humidity affect the meringues?

  3. Yes, it can. They can be sticky and not crisp if it's humid. You probably wouldn't want to make them when it's really humid or rainy... but if you do, you may want to serve them fairly soon after to make them. If you plan to make them ahead of time, be sure they are completely cool before storing them in an airtight container.

  4. You mean to tell me that you didn't play "dress ups"?

    Oh, what you missed out on...

    Glad to hear you at least had a Barbie or two. Whew.

  5. We did play dress up a little, but not so much. There are a couple of other sisters who did more of that!