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Mini Pavlovas with Rhubarb, Kaffir Lime, and Coconut Cream

Mini Pavlovas with Rhubarb, Kaffir Lime, and Coconut Cream

These mini pavlovas with rhubarb, kaffir lime, and coconut cream were created with a Passover Seder in mind.

There are actually a lot of Passover-friendly desserts. Last year, for instance, for an unfortunately Passover-timed going away party, I made some Ottolenghi chocolate almond tea cakes that just happen to be flour- and baking powder-free. I also threw together some mini pavlovas topped with whipped cream, tangerine curd, and fresh berries—similarly chametz-free. The problem is coming up with desserts for the Seder meal itself. Like most delicious baked goods, both the tea cakes and mini pavlovas were “dairy”—they contained butter and/or cream. People who keep kosher don’t mix dairy and meat dishes at the same meal. Since most Seders involve meat (like brisket, yum!), the holy grail is a delicious dessert that is both chametz-free and pareve (non-dairy). Last year’s mini pavlovas failed this test because of the whipped cream and the butter in the citrus curd, but the meringue itself posed no problem. I sensed a possibility.

Ideally, pavlova toppings add creaminess and tartness, to balance the sweetness of the meringue. The creamy element is obviously the difficulty, but the solution here—whipped coconut cream—works marvelously well. That said, as I learned the hard way, not all coconut creams are created equal. This post from Minimalist Baker includes some helpful guidance on brands to seek out. For the pavlovas below, I used Thai Kitchen brand coconut cream, which was not perfect but whipped up reasonably well.

There are so many possibilities for the pavlovas’ “tart” element. I considered mango spritzed with lime juice–which would be delicious, too, and appropriately tropical. But, as you can tell from some of my previous posts, I’m sort of obsessed with rhubarb. The idea of combining rhubarb and kaffir lime comes from this lovely Louise Cake recipe by Claudia Brick, on her blog The Brick Kitchen.

mini pavlova rhubarb kaffir lime coconut cream

The tartness of the rhubarb and sharpness of the kaffir lime perfectly offset the sweetness of the meringue and richness of the coconut cream–you end up with a great balance of flavors and textures.

Bonus: the meringues and poached rhubarb can be made ahead!

mini pavlova rhubarb kaffir lime coconut cream
Mini Pavlovas with Rhubarb, Kaffir Lime, and Coconut Cream

Mini Pavlovas with Rhubarb, Kaffir Lime, and Coconut Cream

These mini pavlovas–the meringues at least–are adapted from How To Be a Domestic Goddess, a Nigella Lawson classic.

Ingredients

Meringues

  • 4 large egg whites (160 g)
  • pinch salt
  • 250 g sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (or potato starch)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar

Poached Rhubarb

  • 200 g sugar
  • 200 g water
  • 250 g rhubarb, trimmed
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves

Whipped Coconut Cream

  • 2 13.5 oz cans coconut cream refrigerated overnight
  • 1 tbsp superfine sugar

Instructions

Make the meringues:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  3. Using an electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer), whisk the egg whites with the salt until they hold firm (but not stiff) peaks. Gently add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until the meringue is gleaming and satiny and holds stiff peaks. Sprinkle in the cornstarch, vanilla, and white wine vinegar, and fold in to combine.

  4. Using a pastry bag with a large round tip or a plastic sandwich bag with the corner cut off, pipe nine 4-inch mounds of meringue onto the baking sheets. (Five on one sheet, four on the other.)  Use the back of a spoon to create an indentation in the center of each mound.

  5. Place the baking sheets in the oven, reduce the temperature to 300 F, and bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the turned-off oven for 30 minutes more.

  6. Remove the meringues from the oven to cool on wire racks. (You can transfer the entire parchment sheet to the wire rack.)

  7. Once the meringues are completely cool, they can be stored in an airtight container for at least a day or two.

Make the poached rhubarb:

  1. Cut the rhubarb lengthwise in half (if the stalks are already thin), or quarters (if the stalks are fat). The slice the pieces crosswise to create 2-inch batons.

  2. Place the water, sugar, and kaffir lime leaves in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. Add the rhubarb to the simmering sugar syrup, return to a boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat.

  4. Leave the rhubarb to steep in the sugar syrup as it cools.

  5. Once cool, use a slotted spoon to remove the rhubarb from the sugar syrup. If making ahead, place the rhubarb in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2-3 days. 

Make the Whipped Coconut Cream:

  1. Open the refrigerated cans of coconut cream and scoop out the cream that has settled at the top of the can, reserving the liquid underneath.

  2. Place the scooped out cream in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip the coconut cream until it is smooth, light, and fluffy, adding a bit of the reserved liquid from the can if needed. Whisk in the superfine sugar.

Assemble the Pavlovas:

  1. Just before you’re ready to serve the pavlovas, spoon a couple of tablespoons of coconut cream into the indentation in each of the meringues. Top each cream-filled meringue with seven or eight pieces of rhubarb.

Recipe Notes

If you don’t eat corn products during Passover, just substitute potato starch for the cornstarch in the meringues–it works just as well.

You can either reserve the sugar syrup for another use, or bring it back to a boil for a few minutes to reduce it, and then drizzle it over the assembled pavlovas.

If you can’t find rhubarb and/or kaffir lime, try topping these pavlovas with chopped mango tossed in a bit of lime juice!

Brands of coconut cream vary widely. This post offers some guidance on which brands whip up best.

For extra crunch, try topping the assembled pavlovas with toasted coconut flakes.

 



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