Individual Cheesecake Pavlovas with Fresh Berries
Heavenly little clouds of raspberry studded meringue, crisp on the outside and marshmallowy in the middle, filled with a tangy cheesecake mousse and topped with a mound of fresh berries.
stillness • dessert • SPRING
While relatively easy to make, the process of transforming egg whites into the marshmallowy magic of meringue is not a fast one. Therefore, this is an excellent project to undertake on a day where you have the time and inclination to slow down a little.
Whatever you do, don’t try to make this in a rush; the egg whites will sense your impatience and will rebel. Trust me.
No, what this recipe requires is a dreamy disposition and a firm determination to stare off into space. While those beaters are whirring away, tossing air into albumen like it’s nobody’s business, you get a solid ten minutes to just breathe, exist, and be. Because sometimes what we choose to make is as much about what we will get from the process as it is about the finished result. If this weren’t true, I don’t think anyone would cook. Not really.
So whisk those egg whites, dream a few dreams and then dream some more while they bake in a low oven for just under an hour. Just time enough for a long, hot soak in the tub or a chapter or two from your favorite book (or maybe an episode of The Crown if we are being honest).
Yes you could be making the cheesecake filling or slicing the berries, but this recipe is not about being efficient, is it?
When the meringues are cooled, your cheesecake mousse is blended into creamy oblivion and your strawberries are sliced and ready, you can assemble the pavlovas. But do be warned; for all the patience this dessert requires of you, it will wait for no one. You’ll want to assemble it as close to the time of consumption as possible, to prevent any soggy, weepy issues from getting in the way of your much deserved enjoyment.
And what can you expect to enjoy? Well, if you could dip your spoon into one of those fluffy, cumulous clouds that float across the sky on warm, summer days, I imagine it might taste like this. Crisp outsides, soft, marshmallowy centers. The creamy, vanilla tang of the cheesecake filling. The sweetness of the berries. Both the process and the result will make you feel like you’re on cloud nine.
Individual cheesecake pavlovas with fresh berries
Prep Time 25 min • Cook Time 45 min • Total Time 1 hour 10 min
For the meringue
egg whites from 4 medium eggs
pinch of salt
1 cup + 1 TBSP (225 g) organic cane sugar
1/2 Cup (20 g) freeze dried raspberries, crumbled
For the cheesecake mousse
8 oz (226 g) cream cheese
1/2 Cup (120 g) sour cream
1/4 cup (50 g) organic cane sugar
juice and zest from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp extract)
For the berry topping
454 g strawberries, topped and quartered
6 oz (170 G)raspberries
handful of crushed, freeze-dried raspberries
FOR THE MERINGUE
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F and line a large baking tray with parchment.
Whip the egg whites and salt on medium-high speed in a medium sized mixing bowl until you've achieved soft peaks. Note: before you begin whipping, make sure you have your sugar measured out and handy for the next step.
While continuing to mix, very slowly add in the sugar a little at a time (mixing all the while) and continue whipping until the mixture turns glossy and forms stiff peaks. This should take about 10 minutes.
When the meringue is ready, carefully fold in the crushed, freeze-dried raspberries being careful not to knock any air out of the mixture.
Divide the mixture into 6 blobs on the baking tray. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the outsides are nice and crisp. At the end of the baking time, turn off the heat, open the door, and allow the meringues to sit in the warm oven with the door ajar until they have cooled completely.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE MOUSSE
Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and mix until completely smooth.
Note: be sure to assemble these no more than 30 minutes before you intend to eat them.
Very gently crush in the tops of the meringues to form a little dome (if they haven't collapsed in slightly on their own). Divide the cheesecake filling between the 6 meringues, filling up the domes you've created, and then top with the fresh berries. Sprinkle a little of the crushed freeze-dried raspberries over the top and serve.
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