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Helloooooooo spring! Welcome the season with baked meringue shells, filled with fresh whipped cream and Chardonnay-marinated strawberries & peaches.
Spring has sprung, and I actually couldn’t be happier about it!
I know, I know…the heat and humidity-despising perpetual autumn fangirl, excited for a season that leads into the dreaded summer months?
I can’t help myself: There are so many fun events coming up in my life in the next few months, and I’d be crazy not to be looking forward to eating all the delicious fresh produce that’s shooting up from the ground right now.
Not to mention spring weather in Florida is absolutely perfect for sipping a chilled glass of wine in the hammock. I might even bring along one of these Mini Strawberry Peach Pavlovas if I can manage to get into my seat without wearing the meringue!
Pavlovas are a dessert I didn’t expect to fall in love with.
As a rule, meringue isn’t exactly a go-to sweet for me. One of my coworkers licks it raw right off her hand after topping a pie (not recommended btdubs,) which honestly makes me cringe a little, and not because of the raw egg.
But if you bake it up in adorable, functional little shells and pile it full of whipped cream and fruit?
Oh, hot damn.
And not just any fruit, mind you…fresh Florida strawberries and sweet Georgia peaches, macerated with a bit of sugar and a hearty splash of Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay.
Dare I say that these little beauties could be used as a fancy dessert for an often dreamed about but never fulfilled spring dinner party?
Heaven knows my head has been swimming with ideas over the years of inviting my friends over to my humble home, cocktail attire required, to wine and dine like the ritzy do. Just to give me a reason to doll up myself and mi casa.
Too bad my friends are more akin in personality to Barney Stinson than Barbara Walters.
I’m pretty sure they’d still enjoy these just-for-you pavlovas with a smile on their faces. In their jeans and Salt Life shirts.
Come on, this is Florida. There’s little else to wear.
I’m normally a red wine girl. After many years of wussing out on sweet Moscatos and Rieslings, I learned the error of my ways and actually branched out, trying new flavors and realizing that sweet is not always better.
Turns out I’m a Cabernet and Pinot Noir lover. Who knew.
Spring calls for a cold glass of white, though, and Gloria Ferrer’s Carneros Chardonnay is the right lady for the job. Bright and a bit on the tropical side, the wine opens and presses on with notes of peach, pear, pineapple, meyer lemon, and a little toasty oak (that it picked up from the French Oak Barrels it aged in for nine months.)
In non-sommelier terms, it’s just the right pair for this dessert, and is a lovely complement to the fruit inside.
So why Gloria Ferrer?
I have yet to make it to Spain, France, or even California, but tasting a glass of their award-winning wine almost takes me to each place simultaneously in my head.
The Spanish-hailing family opened Carneros’ original sparkling wine house, Caves & Vineyards, in 1986 in Sonoma County. The first wine house to bring back clones from France to plant in their 335-acre vineyard, the folks at Gloria Ferrer are renowned experts in the production of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and produce estate grown still and sparkling wines that rival some of the world’s finest.
It’s no surprise they have over 400 gold medals on their mantle, and have garnered 50 90+ scored in the last five years.
To say I’d love to be in California for their Bubbles and Blooms event next month would be an understatement. Someday…
- 3 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Macerated Fruit
- 1 cup strawberries, sliced
- 2 peaches, washed and sliced
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup Gloria Ferrer Chardonnay
- Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites, cornstarch, cream of tartar, and salt for 2-3 minutes on low.
- Raise speed to medium and whip until whites are foamy. Add sugar slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time. When all sugar is added, add vanilla extract. Raise speed to high and whisk to stiff peaks, 4-5 minutes.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with meringue. Pipe 6 evenly spaced 3-inch discs on the prepared parchment-lined pan, then pipe a 2-inch tall rim around the edges of each, forming ‘nests.’
- Place in oven, lower temperature to 250, and bake for 60 minutes until meringues are dry. Turn oven off and crack door, allowing them to come to room temperature inside the oven.
- While meringues are baking, prepare fruit. Combine strawberries and peaches in a medium bowl, sprinkle with sugar, and splash in Chardonnay, stirring to distribute it all evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. The longer it marinates, the more pronounced the flavors will be.
- Whip the heavy cream, sugar, and lemon extract at high speed until soft peaks form.
- Place meringue shells on plates and fill with 2-3 Tablespoons whipped cream, then top with desired amount of fruit. Serve with a glass of Chardonnay and enjoy!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.