Being half-Australian, I have a lot of fond and hazy memories of pavlovas, though most of them are from Denmark. They were these festive and monstrous meringue disks with piles of whipped cream, passion fruit and kiwi-slices on top. (Growing up in the 80s will do that to you either way, though possibly with more mini-umbrellas.) Anyway, they were also one of the things that made my Australian mother exotic back in the days when the cream of Danish youth had yet to go backpacking up and down the East coast of Australia. And when phenomena like Vegemite and smoko were still reserved to our family home and our trips Down Under. I still remember how we huddled around the phone for the Christmas call to my grand parents, each of us trying to strike up meaningful conversation with the minute price of 5 Danish kroner (about 65 cent €) looming over our heads.
Anyway, I made a big pavlova with passion fruit curd for my mother’s 60th birthday and haven’t made it since. At least until recently, when I stumbled upon a recipe for Mini-Pavlovas on Foodgawker. It’s from Simon’s Fine Foods Blog and a very easy and versatile dessert. Make the pavlovas and fruit topping in advance and just whip up a cream shortly before serving it. I made a combination of whipped cream, skyr (Icelandic low fat dairy product akin to strained yoghurt with a very fine acidity) and vanilla which had a welcome freshness to balance the sweet meringue. I topped it with a berry compôte (berries, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, perhaps a dash of rhum, slow-cooked in a saucepan and chilled down completely before serving) that had the most marvelous effect on the dessert. When piled with skyr-cream and berry compôte, the pavlova imploded in a wonderfully slow motion way that really made my day. Make it make your day soon too. I really recommend it!