Have you ever had pavlovas? They are super-elegant, but they are actually quite easy to make. These would be perfect to serve as a grown-up dessert, and there are a couple shortcuts that make these mini pavlovas even easier.
Pavlovas are a meringue dessert with a very short ingredient list.
They can be made as one pie-size dessert or, as in this case, as individual servings. (Making these as smaller mini pavlovas also halved the baking time, so they can be made and enjoyed more quickly.)
Topped with fresh whipped cream and hazelnut-liqueur-laced cherry filling, these become the loveliest dessert that you can share with grown-up-guests or the family.
I forgot how much I loved hazelnuts until I developed this recipe while on the Whole 30, and couldn’t taste a thing. Except the hazelnuts. And while I was toasting them, I checked to see if they were perfect, and with or without the dessert, they were. (Side note: When you do a “fast” from any kind of food for a period of time, I notice your tastebuds adapt and change, and things you forgot had great flavor seem to explode with it. It almost made up for not being able to have any of this dish when it was made!)
- 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling
- 3 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract (or 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur)
- 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- ¾ cups superfine sugar
- 2 tablespoons dark cocoa
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut liqueur (or 1 teaspoon hazelnut extract)
- 4 ounces finely chopped or grated dark semi-sweet chocolate, divided
- ½ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Prepare a rimmed baking sheet by lining with parchment paper.
- Stir together cherry pie filling and liqueur and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk eggs together until soft peaks form. Gradually whisk in sugars, a few tablespoons at a time, and continue to whisk, adding hazelnut liqueur and beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in cocoa and vinegar, being careful not to deflate egg mixture, then do the same with the chopped chocolate.
- Scoop mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets, smoothing into four-inch-rounds, leaving about an inch in between. Gently make a small indentation in the center of each, using the back of a spoon, being careful not to make the bottom too thin.
- Bake in oven at 300 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. Pavlovas should feel slightly stiff to the touch, and may crack while baking.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on parchment lined baking sheet. Gently use a spatula to peel from paper to serve.
- Meanwhile, whip 1 cup of heavy cream with sugar and hazelnut extract until soft peaks form.
- To serve, place a generous scoop of whipped cream on each pavlova. Top with cherry mixture, then sprinkle with remaining chopped dark chocolate and toasted hazelnuts.
- Toasting chopped hazelnuts is easy in the microwave! On a microwave safe plate, microwave at thirty-second intervals for approximately three minutes, turning gently after each interval.
- Using a stand mixer makes this recipe much easier, but you can use a hand beater for the whipped cream and the pavlovas if you prefer.
Using a pre-made pie filling makes this dish come together so quickly. If you prefer, make a naturally-sweetened pie filling; I haven’t tried this one, but it looks wonderful!
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