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for the fourth

Recipe: mini pavlovas

I need to get to bed asap, so this is going to be big on pics and short on words…

A jam-packed, fun-filled day today! We hiked to the Continental Divide (Arapaho Pass and almost Caribou Pass) out of the Fourth of July trailhead – appropriately enough. We couldn’t cross the last snowfield to Caribou because it was too steep for Kaweah to cross safely, while Jeremy and I were perfectly fine with our ice axes. I got a lot of wildflower shots as this hike has just about the greatest variety locally, but haven’t had a chance to process any. I do want to toss up a handful of nice pics from the hike including my two favorite housemates:

the cascading streams are lovely right now

jeremy looks across the divide

coming down the trail

having a blast

Once we were home, I began prepping dinner since Marianne was coming up for dinner, fireworks, and staying the night to go on an early morning hike with us tomorrow. I served up some barbecue chicken (recipe will come), grilled asparagus, coleslaw, roasted potato salad, bread… and for dessert, we had red, white, and blue mini pavlovas.

After dinner, we headed out to the reservoir to catch the local town fireworks. It’s supposed to be a pretty decent show and plenty of folks from the flats drive up to watch. This is the first year we’ve actually been in town to see them, so we were excited! I have never shot fireworks before, and had to give it a try. Here are some of what I captured:

Fun stuff, eh? I love how different fireworks look in photos compared to what we see with our own eyes. In any case, on to the recipe – which is for the red, white, and blue mini pavlovas.

whipping egg whites for the meringue

I like mini pavlovas because they take a little less time to bake. Since it was so frakking hot today (84 in my town, which is quite toasty for us mountain folk), I was hoping to minimize the oven time.

shaped nests ready for the oven

I used Donna Hay’s recipe for the meringue shells, altered a bit for our altitude. For some reason, her meringues look perfectly white in her photos and mine always come out beige. Whatever… as long as they taste good – that is what matters.

the red and blue: strawberries and blueberries

I toss the sliced strawberries and blueberries in a little bit of sugar because I don’t add much to my whipped cream. It’s just a nice and refreshing dessert to serve on a hot day. Pretty simple to whip up and a delicious end to a meal.

call it patriotic if you like – i call it delish

Red, White, and Blue Mini Pavlovas
[print recipe]
based on Pavlova from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2

mini pavlovas (12-14)
whipped cream
2 cups strawberries, sliced
2 cups bluberries

4 egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
3 tsps cornstarch
1 tsp white vinegar

Preheat oven to 300°F. Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer and beat until soft peaks. Gradually add sugar, beating well until mixture is glossy. Sift the cornstarch over the egg white mixture and fold through with the vinegar. Pile large dollops of meringue evenly spaced onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper (makes about 12-14). Round the shapes and form wells in the centers to create small meringue bowls. Place in oven and cook for 1 hour (45 minutes at elevation). Remove from oven and remove to a cooling rack.

whipping cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Whip cream and sugar to medium peaks. Add vanilla and almond extracts and whip until incorporated.

To Serve: Top each pavlova with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Serve immediately.

38 nibbles at “for the fourth”

  1. Kitt says:

    What a delicious day! And snow … so much nicer than the 90s we had down here. Those fireworks shots are gorgeous.

    Thanks for the recipe. It looks so pretty, and I love the simplicity.

  2. manggy says:

    Mmm-hmm, perfect fireworks shots on the first try? Riiiight. Kidding :) Well, they are quite impressive. The sparkles in the fourth picture made my heart leap a little, it’s so pretty!
    Pavlovas, how, uh, Australian! Ha ha :) They look appropriately festive (where would you guys be on July 4 without blueberries, lol). I wouldn’t worry about the coloring– for Italian meringue it takes a very low temperature (175-200F) to bake it without coloring, and by that time the pavlova would have gone pfft. Even at that temperature my meringue still comes out slightly cream-colored. Jamie Oliver says it’s not really possible to achieve without additives. Well, it looks real, and really luscious, so that’s all that matters :)

  3. Tartelette says:

    Happy belated 4th! The fireworks displays are impressive. Our friend D is one of those with a shiny new Nikon and no idea how to use it so we set it up for her for the fireworks…I had fun playing with her new toy, eheehe!!
    The nature shot always make me happy but you already knew that!

  4. Rosa says:

    A great trip and what marvelous pictures! Your pavlovas look very pretty and delicious!



  5. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    What gorgeous fireworks photos :) seriously looks like you’ve been snapping them for years! The pavs look great, perfect for and pretty cute too with their red white and blue thang going on…

  6. bakingblonde says:

    Those pictures are jaw dropping! Both the view and the food!

  7. megan says:

    Love all the pictures! There were no fireworks where we were so I just enjoyed yours. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Susan at StickyGooeyCreamyChewy says:

    Whenever I come here, I am in utter awe! I not only drool over the food, but also the incredible way you capture all of the natural beauty around you in your photos. Now, this! Those fireworks shots are spectacular!

    Not only that, but you’re hiking, skiing, and gallavanting all over the place – With all you’ve gone through! You’re freakin’ Wonder Woman!

  9. Sophie says:

    What beautiful pictures, looks like you had a really memorable 4th :). The mini pavlovas idea is so cool! The berries look gorgeous!

  10. Courtney says:

    Your pictures are amazing!!

  11. robin says:

    I *so* want to live where you live. We’re moving to a small town that has some farms and trees and it’s like the wilderness–but compared to your photos, we might as well be in the city!

    Those fireworks photos are wonderful.

  12. Psychgrad says:

    Love the meringues with fruit! I keep seeing recipes for them and have been thinking about ways to perk them up.

  13. peabody says:

    Oh the firework photos are cool!!!
    Your red, white and blue dessert is very festive.

  14. Joy says:

    Amazing firework pictures! I love those dainty looking meringues too.

  15. Courtney says:

    What a hoilday you had. Great photos as usual.

  16. cindy says:

    i love, love the photo of the cascading stream. everything else is beautiful as well.

  17. jenyu says:

    Kitt – yeah, it was a hot day! It was hot when we hiked out (in the 80s at 10,000 feet?!?!). Thanks!

    Mark – they’re far from perfect, but I have attempted a lot of astrophotography in the past which makes shooting fireworks look like a cake walk. This was far easier than trying to capture shooting stars (because you never know where those buggers are going to streak). I have to say, even though the blueberries are pulled out for the holiday, these were sooooo sweet! Organic. Delish! Ahh, I see about the baking/white meringue. I don’t think it’s worth that much more energy or the addition of additives. Thanks for the tips!

    Tartelette – Happy 4th, to you, my independent friend! I hope you guys had a great weekend. I haven’t played with a new Nikon – I dare not… too tempting!

    Rosa – thank you!

    Laura – just playing around with the fireworks. We almost didn’t catch any at all!

    Bakingblonde – thanks!

    Megan – glad to oblige!

    Susan – thanks, love. Not wonder woman at all, just trying to drink in all that I’ve been missing :) Nothing like feeling totally crappy to make you appreciate every wonderful thing life has to offer :) Friends included! xxoo

    Sophie – thanks!

    Courtney – you’re very kind.

    Robin – your small town will still be a paradise. We used to live in a sort of small town, and while it isn’t the mountains (where our hearts truly are), it was still wonderful and lovely. You’ll enjoy it!!

    Psychgrad – thanks!

    Peabody – yeah, the show was quite nice :)

    Joy – thanks!

    Courtney – thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed them!

    Cindy – so happy I could share it with you!

  18. Judith says:

    GMTA, I suppose. Two years ago I was home for the fourth and made a pavlova with the berries on top cut to make a US flag. My parents were quite impressed.

  19. Mollie says:

    The pictures are amazing! That fireworks picture 4th from the top is my favorite…

    Happy 4th!

  20. Mrs Ergul says:

    Fireworks have a very special effect on me everytime I see them. I feel very touched when I see them light up the sky. I don’t really know why. I love your photos of the fireworks. They are so pretty. More than pretty actually.

  21. Marguerite says:

    I was so reassured to read that your meringues also always come out a little on the beige side using the same meringue recipe as I do (donna hay modern classics)!
    Beautiful photos, they make me long to get out of the city!

  22. manisha says:

    Your hikes always sound fabulous! We haven’t made it to Arapaho Pass yet – I am waiting for the snow to melt some and then maybe we’ll attempt it this year. If we make it to Diamond Lake when the wildflowers are still in bloom, I think I will be happy! :-D

    That tip about less time in the oven at higher elevations is a gem. Thanks!

  23. Kevin says:

    Nice photos! I like that first one with the water running over the rocks.

  24. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I love the pictures of fireworks – so beautiful!
    And the pavlovas are just adorable. I have yet to try making them.

  25. steph (whisk/spoon) says:

    pavolas are easy to make, delicious and so beautiful! this looks wonderful!

  26. jenyu says:

    Judith – yeah, I think the colors RW&B make for limited desserts on the fourth ;)

    Mollie – thank you, dear!

    Mrs. E – I really love fireworks too. So much fun and so pretty!

    Marguerite – oh good, so it’s not just me! :)

    Manisha – the flowers are blooming right now, so I’d definitely make an effort to get out there now. It’s gorgeous!! :)

    Kevin – thank you :)

    Patricia – I think pavlovas are incredibly easy to make and the end product is so delicious. Love the textures of the crunchy and creamy and firm (fruit) together!

    Steph – thanks!

  27. bookaholic_au says:

    One of my favourite cookbooks, Cordon Bleu says to put a drop of blue food colouring to get perfect white icing. I haven’t experimented with the tip with pavlova, but it may help.

  28. jenyu says:

    BA – yeah, the meringue turns brown because of baking and even if it were dyed blue, it would still brown.

  29. wei yann says:

    Hey Jen, this sounds like an amazing and simple dessert recipe!!:) I was wondering though…how soon can I make them in advance? Is it a good idea to chill them in the fridge or keep in room temperature after it’s done? Thanks for sharing this recipe! And I hope it’s not raining in Colorado:)

  30. wei yann says:

    BTW I think your photographs all look really vibrant and well-taken :)

  31. jenyu says:

    Wei Yann – well, that really depends on where you live. If you live in a dry location, then you can make these ahead of time (a day or more – store in an airtight container or out in open air if it is arid). If you live in a humid climate, then these will get sticky if left out. Not sure how well they fair in an airtight container in humid conditions (just because there is that base amount of moisture…) thanks!

  32. wei yann says:

    Thanks for the tips, Jen, I appreciate it! :)

  33. FoodieView Blog » Recipe Roundup: Foodie Firewords for the Fourth of July says:

    […] and mailander cookies. For more red, white, and blue desserts, take a look at Jen’s pavlovas, Susan’s Fruit Terrine, Stef’s All American BBQ Cupcakes (yes, with liquid smoke in the […]

  34. laiee says:

    Thanks for all your nice recipes, but are there any chance of creating a pavlova with similar size or larger that is not mashmallow at the center?

  35. jenyu says:

    Iaiee – hmmm, I think you can do a large one and if you bake it at low enough temp for longer time, it should dry out to the center. It also depends on your humidity. In Virginia, I would bake meringues and they would turn to sticky goo after a few hours because it was so humid. Here in Colorado, I can bake meringues that are still chewy in the center and when I leave them on my counter for a day, they are crisp through (our humidity is very low here).

  36. laiee says:

    Thanks Jenyu for replying, will try that out later :D

  37. nlwreeds says:


    I just found your site a couple of days ago. I have made candied orange peel for many years now, but mine always get hard much to fast (I know, slightly off topic – but that is how I found your site!!!) This year I’m going to leave the pith on the rind and try that, see if the thicker peels stay moist longer.

    Anyway, I’m also above sea level (living in Colorado as well), but not fortunate to live up in the mountains. I have tried to make meringues several times and they always end up hollow in the middle. So, could you share what modifications you needed to make for high altitude meringue baking?



  38. jenyu says:

    nlwreeds – I didn’t have to make any adjustments for meringues thus far. They seem to work pretty well for me. They do get a little air bubble in the middle sometimes.

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