You don’t have to eat chocolate on Valentine’s Day. It’s true! In fact, these bittersweet Pavlova meringues might better represent your romantic status. And even if not, even if you’re blissfully, nauseatingly in love, the contrast of chewy-crisp meringue with fluffy whipped cream and crunchy, salty almonds will delight you.
For such a simple dessert, these have a lot of love going on.
If you haven’t yet given them a go, Pavlova meringues are a worthy addition to your dessert repertoire. They’re cheap, impressive, easy, beautiful, light on calories, adaptable, and…delicious! Of course they must be delicious. Fill them with whipped cream, or ice cream, or citrus curd and berries. Bake the meringue as one big torte, or make individual-sized shells. The basic egg-white-and-sugar mixture can be enhanced with various extracts or in this case, instant coffee. Consider them the pot pie of desserts, ready to be flavored and filled with whatever you have on hand.
And if you really, really need to…drizzle them with warm chocolate sauce, it’s ok. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Coffee Pavlovas with Almond Whipped Cream
Adapted from a recipe by Zoe Francois (last year’s Valentines Day post!)
Makes 12 shells
1 Tbsp. corn starch
6 tsp. instant coffee
1 1/3 c. sugar
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 c. sliced almonds
fine sea salt
2 c. cold whipping cream
4 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
few gratings of fresh nutmeg
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir together corn starch, instant coffee, and sugar.
In 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 mixture in a constant stream as the eggs are whipping. Add the vanilla and vinegar.
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, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds to pan and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Toast the almonds, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted and nuts are lightly golden brown. Spread almonds on a plate, sprinkle lightly with salt, and let cool.
When meringues are cool, beat whipping cream with sugar, almond extract, and nutmeg to soft peaks. To serve, lightly press in the center of each meringue to form a well. Fill with whipped cream and top with almonds.