So, seeing how it is apparently mango season in some parts of the world and the fruit is actually kind of affordable this month, and also seeing how I am impulsively drawn in by discounts, I stocked up with more mangoes than I can possibly use. Anxious to use up the last one before it turned to compost, I stumbled upon the idea of “mini mango pavlovas.”

This, I am proud to say, is a Jenny original-not that it hasn’t been done before (it probably has), but I didnt get this idea from any outside source. I figured it out on my own, and it was a great learning experience, and I think quite a successful one at that. It is partially inspired by the delectable Ginger Custard with Stewed Mangoes I tried recently, and partially by a tray of meringue desserts that were served at a recent function put on by the catering company I work for. I put the two ideas together, tweaked a few things, aaanddd…the result was a meringue shell with a mango mousse filling, which would have been nicely decorated with beautifully arranged tropical fruit, had I had any.

The process was relatively simple once I came up with a plan of action—initially I was  little bit at a loss as to how to whip mango into a mousse without using gelatin (No energy to tackle the grocery store today), as many mousse recipes call for. However, re-consulting the basic formula for a pavlova provided the obvious answer—Pavlovas are traditionally a meringue crust spread with whipped cream, and then topped with a variety of fruit and berries. I made the mango “mousse” by folding a creamy mango custard into the freshly whipped cream, rather than using the whipped cream plain. The result was light, fluffy, and delicious.

It occurred to me upon tasting that mango mousse would make a delicious filling for chocolate cake, but that will have be a project for another day.

to create individual pavlova bases, I piped my meringue into little bird-nest shells to hold the mousse…unfortunately I forgot to add anything to stabilize the meringues, so it wasn’t as strong as I wanted and I assume that’s why it didn’t really hold its shape in the oven…correct me if i’m wrong, I’m a bit of a meringue novice. Oh well, it still serves its purpose well enough. I’m also disappointed they turned brown…next time I will reduce the oven temperature a bit, and allow them to cook for a longer time—dehydrating, rather than baking?

Despite these two mistakes, the meringue still turned out edible enough that I opted to go ahead and use them this time rather than start over. And since this is my first time making a crispy meringue, I’ll simply count this as another learning experience. Next time, they’ll be perfect!

Recipe and notes::

For the Mousse:
1 mango (2 would have been better, I ended up adding a drizzle of orange juice as a flavor boost)
1/2 c Sugar
4 egg yolks (save whites for the meringue)
1 whole egg
5 T butter
sprinkle of powdered ginger ( optional, I would have used freshly grated if I had any)
sprinkle of cardamom (also optional…I do like cardamom but I might leave this out next time)
1/2 Pint heavy cream + 1/3c sugar

For the Meringue Base::
4 egg whites, room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 t vinegar
1/2 t cornstarch

1) separate eggs. set whites aside to come to room temperature as you make the mousse.
2) add mango, sugar, eggs, and butter to a food processor and blend until purreed.
3) heat the mango mixture on medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
4) once mixture is thick and heated thoroughly, sprinkle with ginger and cardamom, strain, set aside to cool.
5) begin whipping the cream on high, adding sugar gradually, until stiff. set aside.
6) Clean mixer thoroughly and add egg whites. again, add sugar gradually, along with vanilla, until very stiff. sprinkle with vinegar and cornstarch and stir in until fully incorporated.
7) pipe the meringue into cups onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, put into a 250F oven and cook until crispy.

just before serving, fold the whipped cream into the cooled mango mixture, then spoon into the meringue cups. Garnish as desired–perhaps with bits of mango, kiwi, or other tropical fruit, a sprinkle of powdered sugar and grated chocolate, candied ginger…so many possibilities!