Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mini Strawberry Pavlovas with Lemon Cream, Strawberries and Grand Marnier

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Here in Ontario, the local strawberries are coming in!  We love that fresh, juicy and sweet taste. This is also the weekend when we’re trying to catch up on gardening and having a barbecue and family get together so I was looking for a dessert that would be light, make-ahead (mostly) and delicious. I settled on a Pavlova, that melt in the mouth combo of meringue, cream and berries.  But then I remembered past Pavlovas looking great until you tried to cut them and they exploded.  Hmm.  That’s when the decision to make the mini-Pavlovas was born.  I decided to add lemon curd to the mix to give it some zing. You can make your own lemon curd for this, but we have been on the run and living by the 20/80 rule: that is, you can often get 80 % of the benefit out of 20 % of the effort. So a jar of good-quality lemon curd it was. But go ahead and make your lemon curd from scratch if that suits you. We were not disappointed in our choice.

Because it’s a red and white dessert, it will be great for Canada Day too! 

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For Meringue:

4 extra-large egg whites with no traces of yolk, at room temperature
1 cup plus one tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

For filling
1 cup whipping cream
¾ cup good quality lemon curd (or more if lemon is your thing)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping

1 1/2 cups fresh sliced strawberries (or berries of your choice. Perhaps strawberries and blueberries for the 4th of July!) We used mini-strawberries and they were very tasty.

2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier or 1 tablespoon granulated sugar


 Preheat oven to 225 F.


Beat the four egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla.  Slowly add sugar tablespoon by tablespoon, beating well after every addition, until stiff peaks have formed.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. . Scoop out meringue and shape into ‘bowls’.  

Bake in pre-heated oven at 225 degrees for about 50 minutes. Turn off oven and let the meringues dry for at least an hour or even overnight.  

Trim and slice strawberries. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of Grand Marnier if you like a bit of boozy flavor. You could use Cointreau too or Triple Sec. If not, a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Let the strawberries sit until ready to serve.

Just before you are ready to serve:  whip one cup of whipping cream and 1/2 tsp vanilla to stiff peaks. 

Add ¾ cup of lemon curd. You could add more.  Fold the lemon curd through, leaving streaks.

 It doesn’t need to be thoroughly blended.  We didn’t add any extra sugar to this, but you must suit yourself.
The only tricky part of this entire exercise is to get the meringue bowls off the baking sheet. This time I used tinfoil instead of parchment paper and it was not as easy. Lesson learned and too late to take new photos!
Spoon the lemon cream mixture into the meringues.  Add the strawberries and listen to the satisfied sighs.

The Pavlovas are very refreshing and tasty.  I don’t know why it took us so long to turn them into minis.

Pretty enough to show twice, we think!

Have fun and enjoy your dessert. 

In case you don't know, Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between  me, Mary Jane Maffini, and my daughter Victoria. Together we write the book collector mysteries.   We think that reading them is like taking a lovely trip to a mysterious place where books are everything and, yes, murder happens and great meals are served and some relatives are not to be trusted. Of course, justice prevails in the end and books are loved.


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  1. Splendid idea to do minis instead of full size version and to add the lemon curd. Totally delectable!
    We had our first local (Foster Farm) strawberries for breakfast this morning - nothing compares to them for sweetness!
    Thanks for the great Canada Day suggestion from Nancy and all the dessert-loving Reids.

    1. Thanks, Nancy, for coming by! You can change it up any one of a number of ways. Have a great day. Hugs.

  2. That looks delicious. I think the lemon curd would add a great flavor.

  3. Great idea to go with the mini version! There is something so appealing about little versions of things, don't you think?
    I like the swirled in lemon curd. A lovely subtle touch.
    Happy Canada Day!

    1. How many does this make?

    2. I'm so glad, Libby! We loved the flavor too. Hugs.

    3. Libby, this made nine meringues. I realize the filling probably did six. So we topped it up after the recipe was done.

  4. Oh, these look amazing! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You're welcome, Celia! And they're really quite easy. Hugs.

  5. Gorgeous summer dessert, MJ and Victoria, thanks for sharing and have a delicious weekend! xoxo ~ Cleo

  6. Thanks, Cleo! Hope yours is delish too. Hugs.

  7. Those look amazing! I need to get some local berries as well! Pretty easy too, though I may cheat and use reddi whip!

    1. I am always in favor of cheating in this kind of recipe, Katreader, and your secret is safe with me. Hugs.

  8. That looks amazing. I may just have to try it. I hardly ever try anything, but that is just too tempting!

    1. Hope you do try it, Kay! And you can always cut corners. Hugs.