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Petit Pavlova Vanilla Bean Cream and Berries


The inspiration and recipe came from our youngest cook and chef in training.  She first made them for an all-girl spa party and they were a hit ... gone in seconds. 

Use real vanilla bean seeds in the cream.  Small summer berries, tiny wee mint leaves and petit blue basil flowers topped perfect pavlova pillows.  Makes two dozen.

  • 6 egg whites - 'room temperature'  (180 grams if using liquid egg whites)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups super fine caster or berry sugar (or process regular sugar until ultra-fine)
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean - split open to use vanilla bean paste only (save pod and add to plain sugar to create vanilla sugar)
  • tiny summer berries (we used blueberries, Champagne grapes and raspberries)
  • tiny herb leaves (mint)
  • tiny herb flowers or edible flowers (we used purple basil blossoms)

# of Servings


Cook Time (min)


Difficulty Rating


Preparation Time (min)



Preheat oven to 200F

Prepare three cookie sheets with no-stick baking paper or parchment.    If using piping bag, fit with very large 1/2" or so tip (807,808 etc).  Alternatively you can use a teaspoon to make rustic pavlova nests.

Use an electric mixer and be sure that the stainless steel or glass (do not use plastic) bowl and whisk attachments are very clean, dry and cold.  Beat egg whites at medium speed until just foamy. Add cream of tartar gradually and continue beating until the soft peak stage.   Add 1 1/2 cups super-fine sugar  slowly, bit by bit and not all in one spot, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.  The mixture should not be gritty, rather it should feel soft and velvety.

rustic pavlova nests 325x225If you are not using flat-packed parchment, you will have to 'glue' the corners of the parchment down to the sheet pans, with very small amounts of meringue.  Pipe 2" meringue nests onto the parchment, controlling the flow so thta the edges are higher than the middle.  Alternatively, use a large teaspoon to drop dollops of meringue onto the parchment, and use the back of the spoon to create an indent in the centre (see right).

Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours until done - gently rotating sheets in thirds during cooking time.  DO not slam door or bang sheets.  Do not bake so long that the meringues change colour - rather the white will take on a vanilla-like warmth.  The outside will be crisp but the inside somewhat soft and chewy.  If in doubt, keep an eye on the meringues to the 1.5 hour mark and then turn the oven off.  Open door slightly and leave to cool in place for several hours or overnight.  Store in an airtight container for several days, or freeze for several weeks.

To serve.  Whip cream until soft peaks, add icing sugar and paste from one vanilla bean.  Whip until stiff peaks but do not over-whip.  Pipe whipped cream (1/2" tip) into meringue nests.  Arrange tiny berries, micro greens and tiny blossoms.   Serve immediately or keep cool (but dry) for up to two hours before serving.

Submitted by:

Madelaine in the C@H Kitchen