Crunchy meringue nests topped with cranberry swirled whipped cream, cranberry sauce and beautiful sugared cranberries. These individual Cranberry Meringue Nests are beauties and will make the perfect festive dessert.
I adore meringue and that stems from my love affair with it after 15 years of living in Australia where Pavlova is an iconic Australian dessert. Its a brilliant dessert that can span all seasons and climates
This recipe uses my standard meringue measurements as found in my Fruit Pavlova with Roasted Plums and Fresh Figs and Black Forest Pavlova but instead of one large meringue, I’ve piped it into small nests.
These cute little meringue nests form perfectly sized individual portions. They are then brushed with melted white chocolate which helps form a barrier between the cream and meringue and doesn’t make that beautifully crispy meringue soften. There’s a top tip right there!
Afterwards, light and airy whipped cream marbled with home-made orange infused cranberry sauce is dolloped on top of the meringue. More sauce is spooned onto the cream and the nest is finished off with pomegranate jewels and beautiful sugared cranberries.
How to make meringues nests
There are a couple of tips when making meringues. Follow along and you’ll have perfect little meringue nests for your dessert.
- Ensure your bowl is clean and dry before whipping your egg whites. Any residual moisture or grease will prevent your egg whites from whipping.
- When mixing your egg whites and sugar, start the mixer on low and whip the meringue for three minutes before turning up the mixer to medium speed.
- Ensure all the caster sugar has been incorporated and the egg mixture and has no grit when rubbing some between your fingers.
- Turn your oven down to recommended temp the minute the meringue goes in the oven. Low and slow is key to keeping the meringue pure white and crisp.
- Don’t, whatever you do, open the oven door as any moisture in the air can soften the meringues crisp shell.
Once your meringues are whipped into beautiful tall peaks, then it’s time to spoon them into a piping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe small 5cm diameter rounds onto baking paper. Alternatively you can dollop the mixture onto a baking pan swirl into a nest with the back of a spoon. Pipe smaller little stars too - great for little kids to munch on or to decorate onto of your cranberry meringues.
Making Sugared Cranberries
Cranberry meringue nests are quite the perfect festive dessert for this holiday period and these sugared ones are the perfect decoration for your dessert. Sparkling in the light encrusted in sugar, the festive red cranberries are surprisingly easy to make.
- Boil half a cup of water with half a cup of sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved.
- Then pour the boiling syrup water over the cranberries in a bowl and leave them to sit for 1 ½ hours.
- Sieve the cranberries (keeping the sugared syrup for the cranberry sauce) and toss them through 3 tablespoons of sugar until fully coated. spoon the cranberries carefully onto a plate and allow to set in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Easy Cranberry Sauce
The final element of this divine dessert is the hero, the cranberry sauce. Home-made cranberry sauce is a game changer. Hands down so much better than store bought. Sweet, plump, juicy cranberries sweetened with sugar and orange will rock your world.
In a small saucepan, heat the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, orange zest and two tablespoons sugar syrup received from the sugared cranberries. Allow mix to simmer on low to medium heat until the cranberries start to ‘pop’ and burst and the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.
Optional: The cranberry sauce is divine as is but if like me you like a fruit puree then spoon half of the cranberry sauce into a small food processor and add a couple more tablespoons of the sugar syrup and blend until smooth.
How to assemble the Cranberry Meringue Nests
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the blended cranberry puree onto the whipped cream and swirl through to get a marbled effect. Scoop one or two tablespoons of cream onto a meringue next, spoon some cranberry sauce on top of the cream. Then top with sugared cranberries, some pomegranate jewels and a mini meringue.
Add a sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange peel purely for decoration and you have a beautiful festive dessert.
And because of the white chocolate that you brushed on the top of the meringue nests, the meringues can sit there without going soggy....perfect!
For more meringue recipes, please checkout the following:
Mini Cranberry Meringues
- 6 large egg whites
- 340 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 100 g white chocolate, melted
- 80 g fresh cranberries
- 180 g granulated sugar
- 220 g fresh cranberries
- 120 g caster sugar
- 1 orange, juice and zest
- 2 tbsp sugar syrup reserved from sugared cranberries
- 300 ml double cream (heavy cream)
- Sprigs of rosemary, optional
- Orange peel thinly sliced, optional
- Heat your oven 140°C (285°F). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and trace 10 circles about 5cm (2-inches) in diameter in pencil, leaving space between each circle. Then turn the paper over so that the pencil marks are underneath. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Whilst beating, add one tablespoon of caster sugar at a time, whisking well between each addition.
- Once all the sugar is added, continue whisking for 5 minutes. Then add the lemon juice and whisk for another 5 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy and the sugar is fully incorporated. (When rubbed between finger and thumb, the mixture should not feel grainy). If it is still granular, continue whisking.
- Pipe with a star tip fitted piping bag, or dollop large spoonfuls of meringue onto the baking sheets in the circle templates. Ensure the sides of the meringue are higher than the centre to form a nest.
- Place the baking tray in the centre of the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 110°C (230°F) and bake for 1½ hours. Then turn the oven off and leave to cool completely. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted white chocolate over the inside and sides of the nest, where the cream would touch the meringue, and set aside to allow the chocolate to cool and harden.
- Add water with ½ cup sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved, then let it cool until lukewarm. Place cranberries into a bowl and pour the syrup over to cover them. Let them soak for about 1½ hours. Then drain and reserve the syrup later for making the cranberry sauce.
- Sieve the cranberries (keeping the sugared syrup for the cranberry sauce) and toss them through 3 tablespoons of sugar until fully coated. Spoon the cranberries carefully onto a plate and allow to set in the refrigerator for half an hour to set.
- Place the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, zest and sugar syrup in a medium saucepan and simmer until the cranberries have burst, are soft and syrupy. Allow to cool.
- Optional: Spoon half of the cranberry sauce into a small food processor and add a couple more tablespoons of the sugar syrup and blend until smooth.
- In a medium bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Spoon a couple of tablespoons of the blended cranberry puree onto the whipped cream and swirl through to get a marbled effect.
- Scoop one or two tablespoons of cream onto a meringue next, spoon some cranberry sauce on top of the cream. Then top with sugared cranberries, some pomegranate jewels and a mini meringue.
- Add a sprig of rosemary and a slice of orange peel purely for decoration and you have a beautiful festive dessert.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.