Yeah, you wanna talk about where I've been? Here's the best part, the total kicker - um, I haven't had a baby. Nope, not yet. Just got a terrible case of the "Busy Bee!"s and haven't had time to type anything up and post to the beloved blog. Yeah, I know - I pretty much suck at this blogging thing these days. But! I've been able to spend a lot of quality-time with friends and family galore before this Robot of ours shows up, so I won't let the blog make me feel too terribly guilty.
Anyhoo! On to the recipe, shall we? Now, I love a good Pavlova. The only problem is that it is so darn humid in Kansas, I rarely get the opportunity to make them in the summer months (and let's admit it, it's not really the type of thing you bust out in the wintertime). I was hosting my book club and wanted to make a dessert, and figured since hey, it was pretty nice, I'd make Pavlovas. I baked them off the night before and planned on serving them with strawberries and kiwi.
So of course, it rained that evening. And the next day. And the next...
So while they were mighty delicious, the Pavlovas were also a bit sad looking. They *poof* fell apart with the slightest touch, so what you're seeing in pictures is a nice, sadly crumbled Pavlova. No matter, though - what they lacked in presentation, they more than made up for in taste. I love Pavlovas because they have that soft, melt-on-your-tongue outer meringue with a lovely, smooshy, marshmallow-like interior. Add some light whipped cream and fruit, and it's absolute heaven.
Also I should note: as far as desserts go, this one is about as healthy as it gets if you go easy on the whipping cream! A note to Kris and Alfie: you can sub the fine sugar with Splenda, just cut down about 1/4 of the amount. It'll turn out the same but will be sugar free!
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 180 F. Place 2 sheets of parchment paper on 2 sheet pans. Draw several small circles on the paper, using a small ramekin or similar item as a guide, then turn them over so the circles are on the reverse side (this way you won't get pencil marks on your meringue).
Remove the bowl from the mixer, sift the cornstarch onto the beaten egg whites, add the vinegar, zest, and vanilla, and carefully fold them lightly with a rubber spatula. Pile the meringue on your circle outlines, making a small indentation in the middle (for your cream and fruit later). We're not going for gorgeous and smooth here - rough edges are prettier with this dessert anyway, so just pile them on with that spatula.
Bake for 90 minutes. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed, and leave the mini Pavlovas in the oven for about an hour. They should be crisp on the outside and soft inside.
To serve: place one mini Pavlova on each plate. Top with whipped cream and fruit.