I don't know why I don't make meringues more often.
They are relatively simple, require relatively few tools, and don't take a ton of active time in the kitchen.
I think my mental block comes from the way I so often see meringues in the US--either as huge dry hunks of sugar that have been sitting in packaging for who knows how long, or mounded sticky and sweet on top of lemon meringue pie. Neither image brings thoughts of deliciousness, nor thoughts of class, creativity or technique. To me, they were always things to be avoided.
And then, one rainy day while wandering the streets of London with my parents, I happened upon the most inviting cafe in the universe. I don't remember the name, or even the location, and for that I am terribly sorry. But this cafe was memorable beyond belief in all the ways that matter: friendly staff, delicious foods, and tiers upon tiers of trays stacked high with sweets, each with hand written labels and descriptions.
One of the many trays held the most stunning and inviting desserts I had ever seen. It was a fruit pavlova--glossy pillows of meringue topped with cream and all manner of ripe fruits. In contrast to the gloomy weather outside, it was like an incredible burst of sunshine.
It still took me two years to get around to making my first pavlova, but I kept that cafe and that moment in mind, just waiting for the right moment to attempt my own.
These little holiday inspired meringue cups might not have provoked the same instantaneous pleasure, but it did provide a happy and delicious moment for myself and many guests during the holiday season!
Easy to switch out colors, shapes, flavors and sizes, these pavlovas are perfect for any occasion, no matter the degree of formality.