Candied Pansy & Viola Miniature Pavlovas
When I was around eight years old, I attended a birthday party for another young girl. There were tons of children at this party, but I had been sick earlier that week and had lost my voice. So there I was, silent and very very shy to begin with, and out comes the grandma of the house who puts her arm around me and leads me into her kitchen. We spent the day there, me wordless and grateful, and her sharing stories of her life and teaching me the deliciousness that is pavlova. She sent me home with a recipe that I made over and over for years, never forgetting that special day.
& Viola Miniature Pavlovas
To make the candied pansy & viola miniature pavlovas, start by candying the flowers. Lightly brush the petals of a flower with the egg whites. Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the flower until coated. Place on a wire rack to dry. Repeat this process until all of the flowers are candied. Allow to dry for 1 hour, or until the flowers feel crisp when poked.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Now, you can either use a spatula to simply spread the meringue into small 4-inch discs, or you can do it with a pastry bag to create the spiral pattern. To do it with the pastry bag, scoop the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with the open-star tip and fold the top several times. Secure the folded top in place with a small clip. Starting at the outside edge, spiral your way towards the center as you apply pressure to the bag to make a 4-inch in diameter spiral. Repeat this until you have used all of the meringue. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar to allow the pavlovas to cool slowly (this prevents cracking). Once cooled, remove the tray from the oven. To assemble, place the pavlova on the serving surface and spread a dollop of whipped cream on top of it. Place several of the candied pansies and violas on top of the cream and serve.