Welcome to the White Whisk! Today I’m excited to share with you the first of hopefully MANY pavlova recipes to come. These blueberry basil mascarpone mini pavlovas are set in crisp edged/marshmallow centered pavlova nests, filled with basil mascarpone cream, topped with piles of fresh blueberries, and generously garnished with more fresh basil.
I first tried this recipe back in November, but it needed a few more test runs! I wish I could have finished it up sooner to be able to share it earlier in the summer, but life happens and here we are. All that to say, I’m excited it’s finally done and ready to share with you!
This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.
First, let’s talk a bit about pavlovas. Pavlovas have it all when it comes to texture and flavor. They are a meringue based dessert, with a crispy outer shell and a marshmallow consistency interior, and are typically piled high with whipped cream or fruit curds, and loads of fresh fruit. I’m pretty sure when Lizzie McGuire sang, “This Is What Dreams Are Made Of”, she was actually talking about pavlovas.
I personally love the ratio of crisp shell to filling and fruit you can achieve with mini pavlovas, but you can also make pavlova nests in one giant layer instead of personal sizes if you increase the baking and cooling time! (Also, not to mention the minis are much less finicky)
To begin the pavlova nests, prep your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. I traced 8 small circles (2.75″ diameter) to create a template. Also, make sure you flip your parchment over so your marks are on the bottom side of the paper and won’t be touching your pavlovas.
Next, make sure your mixing bowl and whisk for your electric mixer are SUPER clean. Any fat residue can inhibit the meringue from reaching stiff consistency, and with how long it already can take, you definitely don’t want to add any obstacles.
Separate each egg white one at a time in a separate bowl and then add it to your mixing bowl. That way if one of your yolks breaks, it doesn’t mix in with all of your other egg whites.
Begin whisking your egg whites on a medium speed.
While egg whites are whisking, food process the granulated sugar for 1 minute, or until it has become powdery and fine.
Once egg whites have reach soft peaks, begin adding your sugar VERY slowly. I’m talking toddler getting their shoes on slow. Slowly sprinkle in one spoonful at a time, letting 20-30 seconds go by between each addition.
Adding the sugar in slowly is super important to make sure it will fully dissolve. Undissolved sugar can result in a weepy pavlova with syrupy sugar beading up and running down the sides during the baking process.
Humidity can also cause weeping, so if possible, keep windows closed on humid days and run your AC.
Keep whisking away until your sugar has fully dissolved. Test the meringue by rubbing a small amount in between your fingers. If it still feels grainy, keep whisking!
Once your sugar has dissolved, you’ll hopefully have stiff peaks. If not, keep whisking.
Once the peaks are nice and stuff, set mixer on a medium speed and slowly sprinkle in cornstarch, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla, and almond. Whisk until fully combined, and if needed, whisk a bit extra until peaks become stiff again.
Place the meringue in a large piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M piping tip and pipe each nest. For each nest, I piped two full circles stacked one on top of the other, and then did two circle borders to create the shape shown in the photos.
Pipe each nest within the template to keep proper spacing.
Bake your pavlovas, and do not, I repeat DO NOT open the oven door to check on them! Sudden drastic changes in temperature can cause your pavlovas to collapse and have severe cracks. You’ll also want to give them a few hours (preferably overnight) to cool down SLOWLY for the same reason.
From what I’ve gathered in my pavlova research, having some cracks is fairly normal and not a concern unless they collapse so much theres not much to the base, or it’s causing your nests to be super fragile. So if there ARE some cracks but you still have a good amount of that meringue fluff on the interior and a sturdy crispy outer shell, you’re good to go!
Let’s move along to the basil mascarpone cream filling! This recipe took a few attempts to get the basil flavor to shine through enough to make it worth it. The key I found was in making a basil syrup!
You’ll want to make this easy basil syrup in advance to give it adequate time to cool. In a microwave safe glass or bowl, microwave 1/2 cup basil and 1/2 cup corn syrup for 60 seconds. Then, you just have to food process it until it’s smooth. Voila!
When you are ready to assemble your pavlovas, begin the basil mascarpone cream. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the mascarpone for about 1 minute to lighten it up. Then, slowly pour in your heavy cream, and whip until incorporated. Add in the powdered sugar, and whip until you’ve reached soft/medium peaks. Pour in your cooled basil syrup and slowly mix until just incorporated.
Top each pavlova with 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of the Basil Mascarpone Cream.
Pile on 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries on each pavlova, and then garnish with a generous pinch of fresh chopped basil.
Pavlovas are definitely best eaten fresh! The longer they sit, the more moisture will absorb into the meringue nest making them soft, so try to wait to assemble them until just before serving.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Pavlovas truly are one of my favorite desserts and it brings me so much joy to share them with you. Until next time, happy baking!
Blueberry Basil Mini Pavlovas
- 6 oz egg whites (6 egg whites)
- 10.5 oz granulated sugar (1.5 cups)
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 2½ tsp cornstarch
- 1½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp almond extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup loosely chopped fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup corn syrup
Basil Mascarpone Cream Filling
- ½ cup loosely chopped basil leaves
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- 6 oz heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- prepared basil syrup
- 16 oz fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup loosely chopped basil leaves
- Preheat oven to 315° Fahrenheit
- Prep baking sheet by tracing 8 evenly spaced 2.75" circles on a piece of parchment paper. Place parchment paper template side down on to a baking sheet.
- Prepare a large piping bag by fitting it with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Place the bag in a large cup or pitcher with the tip end at the bottom of the cup. Fold the large opening of the bag outward over the rim of the cup to keep it open. Set aside.
- Double check the whisk and mixing bowl of your electric mixer to ensure they are clean and there is no fat residue. Optional: Wipe down with vinegar to remove any remaining residue.
- Separate each egg white one at a time in a separate bowl and then add it to your main mixing bowl. *If one of your yolks breaks while separating, do not add that particular white. Wash your small bowl out and try again to ensure none of your egg whites have any yolk fat in them.
- Using a whisk attachment, begin whipping your egg whites on a medium speed.
- While egg whites are whipping, use a food processor to grind up the granulated sugar for 60 seconds until it has become super fine and powdery. This step is important to help the sugar fully dissolve.
- Once egg whites have reached soft peaks, begin very slowly adding your finely ground sugar one spoonful at a time, waiting 20 seconds in between each addition.
- Once all of your sugar has been added, continue whipping your egg whites on a high speed checking every few minutes or so to see if the sugar has dissolved into the meringue by taking a small amount and rubbing it in between your fingers. If you still feel the graininess of the sugar, continue whisking and check again in another few minutes. The sugar needs to be completely dissolved.
- Once the sugar has completely dissolved, whip on a high speed until the meringue reaches stiff peaks. Remove whisk and point upright to check if the meringue can hold peaks without falling over. See photo in post for reference.
- Set the mixer to a low speed, and slowly sprinkle in cream of tartar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt and mix until combined.
- If needed, whip on a high speed for a few more moments to bring meringue back to stiff peak consistency.
- Place meringue into the prepared piping bag.
- Pipe 8 mini nests. For each nest, pipe two full circles stacked one on top of the other, and then two stacked circle borders. See photos in post for reference.
- Once oven is fully preheated, place pavlova nests in on the center rack and immediately turn the oven down to 215° fahrenheit.
- Bake for 2 hours and 15 minutes without opening the oven.
- After baking, turn the oven off without opening the oven door.
- Allow pavlovas to cool in the oven for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight. Opening the door too soon can cause a sudden drop in temperature causing severe cracking.
- Make the basil syrup far enough in advance to give it adequate time to cool before beginning mascarpone cream filling.
- Combine chopped basil and corn syrup in a microwave safe glass or pyrex dish.
- Microwave for 60 seconds.
- Pour syrup and leaves into a food processor and blend until thoroughly combined.
- Set aside to cool.
Basil Mascarpone Cream
- Wait to make the cream until you are ready to assemble the pavlovas shortly before eating. Pavlovas are best eaten fresh so try not to prep and assemble more than an hour or so before you plan to eat them.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, whip the mascarpone cheese for about 1 minute to lighten it.
- With the mixer on a low speed, slowly pour in the heavy cream and whip until combined.
- Add in powdered sugar and whip until the cream has reached soft peaks.
- Add in basil syrup and mix on a slow speed until just combined.
- Place 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of the basil mascarpone cream into each pavlova nest.
- Top each pavlova with ¼ cup of fresh blueberries and a generous pinch of chopped fresh basil.
- Best enjoyed fresh. Pavlova nests will soften and lose crispness the longer they sit.