A delightful and delicious treat, these beauties are ideal for cocktail parties, casual dinners, and spring and summer soirées.
Makes 28 Pavlovas / serves about 14
Preheat the Oven to 225˚F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a pencil to trace a 1 3/4 inch round cutter, or spice jar lid, on each sheet of parchment paper 28 times, in even rows, with a bit of space between them. Press firmly with the pencil, so you can see it from the other side. Then flip each parchment paper over in the sheet pan. Set aside.
Ideally using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form, about 30 seconds. With mixer still on, gradually add the sugar, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes. You have achieved stiff peaks when you lift the whisk and the peak that forms stays in place, and it should be shiny. (You can also use a hand mixer with the whisk attachment.) Fold in the cornstarch, vanilla and lemon juice.
Now pipe round disks, using the traced circles showing through the parchment paper as a guide. Then go on top of the edges of the disks 2 to 3 times to form a short wall, creating a bowl of sorts. Repeat this process until all 56 are made between the two sheets of parchment paper.
Place in the 225˚F oven for 1 hour. Then turn off the oven and leave them inside for another 30 minutes. The outside should be dry to the touch, and the insides should be soft. Remove them from the oven and let them cool to room temperature on the baking sheets.
Use either a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the cream with the powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in the lemon zest.
Use two spoons or a piping bag to add about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the whipped cream to each meringue “bowl.” Top each one with a few berries. Add a mint leaf and a sprinkle of lemon zest to each one.
Once cooled, the meringues can be stored in an airtight container for at least 4 days.
Assemble the Pavlovas as close to serving time as possible. If you have to do it any earlier than 30 minutes ahead, keep them refrigerated, uncovered until you’re ready to serve them. You should not assemble more than 2 hours ahead of time.