Fact: I’m not a meringue person, really. I like marshmallows, and I particularly like marshmallow fluff, especially paired with peanut butter in sandwich form. I love light, airy angel’s food cakes and swiss meringue buttercream, but I’ve never been one to bake meringue cookies with leftover egg whites. For all their simplicity, to me, meringue-focused desserts seemed fussy and just…not worth it.
All of that changed this weekend, when I was scrolling Instagram on the F train to Soho. The Gastrognome and I were headed to Ladurée for a leisurely brunch in decadent surroundings (my favorite kind). We go for the people watching and café viennoise and stay for the consistently delicious savory foods like adorable croque monsieur rolls and technically perfect omelets.
Out of habit, I scrolled past a Food52 post of tiny meringue nests filled with lemon curd. “Wait!” the Gastrognome exclaimed, “that looks good.” And so the vegan tea cake we were meant to have for dessert that night quickly turned into something else entirely.
Because I don’t love the crumbly texture of meringue cookies, I decided to make rose-flavored pavlovas. Instead of the traditional white vinegar, I used a combination of apple cider vinegar and rosewater to get the perfect rose gold color and flavor. I made them with Molly O’Neill’s Lemon Curd from NYT Cooking because it’s 100% less fussy than my own lemon curd recipe (mini pavlovas are fussy enough, thank you very much), and stuffed the finished meringue shells with lemon curd and vanilla ice cream, meant to be eaten sandwich-style.
Rose Gold Mini Pavlovas
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/2 c + 2 tbsp sugar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp rosewater
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Whip egg whites and salt until satiny, soft peaks form. I used a hand mixer and a pyrex bowl, but a stand mixer or even a good whisk and some determination will work fine. Start on a slower speed and gradually increase as you go.
- Add sugar one tablespoon at a time, continuing to increase the speed to high. Whip until stiff peaks form — you should be able to turn the bowl upside down.
- Sprinkle cornstarch on top and add liquid ingredients. Fold gently with a rubber spatula, then use a large spoon to dollop meringue onto a prepared baking sheet lined with parchment.
- As soon as you put the pavlovas in the oven, reduce the heat to 300 F and bake for 30 minutes. The outsides should be hard to the touch and marshmallowy on the inside (insert a toothpick to check).
- Leaving the door closed, turn the oven off and let cool completely inside the oven, around 2 hours.