I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but if I’m going to have dessert I want one that features nourishing ingredients. These meringue nests are an adorable springtime dessert that kids will love. They’re free of refined sugar, high in potassium, and make for a cute addition to kids’ Easter baskets.
What Are Meringue Nests?
These are a play off of the light and airy Pavlova dessert. Pavlovas are a crispy, delicate meringue cake topped with fresh berries or fresh fruit, lemon curd, and/or whipped cream. They’re named after the famous 1920s ballerina Anna Pavlova, but the dessert’s roots likely extend further back than that.
Meringue nests are a miniature, bite-sized version with bird “eggs” nestled inside. They usually have candy chocolate eggs like what’s in the photo, but there are plenty of other filling options. They’re also naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free. And thanks to the 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar they have a decent amount of potassium.
Meringue Nest Filling Options
I found some healthier dark chocolate candy eggs at a local chocolate shop for the photos. You may be able to find something similar near you. Here are some more filling options to recreate the bird’s nest look.
You can also make your own chocolate eggs using unsweetened or dark chocolate with these Easter egg silicone molds. I couldn’t find miniature Easter egg versions, but you can make the meringue nests large enough to fit one chocolate egg inside. Simply melt your favorite chocolate chips or baking chocolate and pour the mixture into the mold. Pop them into the fridge to harden, then place them in the cooled nests before eating.
You can also make a miniature Pavlova instead if preferred. Mix fresh strawberries, mixed berries, or other fresh fruit together. Add a small splash of lemon juice and honey if desired. Spoon the berry mixture into your cooled meringues right before serving. You can also top them with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.
How to Make Meringue
Meringue may look difficult, but once you get the hang of it it’s a piece of cake… or meringue in this case. Most recipes call for refined granulated sugar or caster sugar. Healthier granulated sugar options like coconut sugar can make the meringue difficult if not impossible to whip up. My sweetener of choice here is honey.
You do need a sweetener of some kind in order for the meringue to not deflate in the oven. Plus baked egg white with cream of tarter and salt just doesn’t have the same taste to it. The method is similar to my homemade marshmallows recipe. And unlike regular meringue where we’re whipping the eggs to soft peaks first and then adding the sugar, all of the ingredients go in the same bowl.
These are a cute Easter dessert idea, or you could even carefully wrap a few up for Easter baskets. Even if it’s not a holiday, they’re an elegant, light, and airy dessert that’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
Meringue Nest Recipe
Make a sweet spring treat with this easy recipe for honey meringue.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200°F.
Fit a piping bag (or zip-top bag with the corner snipped off) with a large star tip. You can make these nests without a piping tip, your nests just won’t have a ridged design.
Place all the ingredients in the top portion of a double boiler or in a heat-safe bowl over a pan with a small amount of boiling water in the bottom.
Gently heat the egg white mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is foamy and slightly warmed. This should take 3-5 minutes.
Pour the warmed mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Whisk on high speed for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture is a light gold color and stiff peaks form.
Use a rubber spatula to scoop the meringue mixture into the prepared piping bag.
Pipe about half of the mixture into 12, 2 to 3-inch circles on the baking tray. Add a little in the center of the circle so there isn’t a hole in the middle.
Pipe the remaining half of the meringue in a ring on top of the outer edge of the first circles.
Bake in the preheated oven for an hour and a half.
After the time is up, turn off the oven and leave the meringues in there for another hour or so to cool down gradually.
Remove the finished meringues from the oven and let them finish cooling at room temperature. They will be soft to the touch when warm but will get crispy as they cool.
Fill with whatever kind of candies you’d like to use as eggs.
- Baked meringue gradually loses its crunch when exposed to humid air, so store these in an airtight container at room temperature.
- If you’re feeling really ambitious you can color a small amount of the meringue with natural food color and pipe little eggs directly into the nests before baking. Just use a bag with the very end snipped off for piping.
Serving: 1nestCalories: 92kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 1gFat: 0.02gSodium: 21mgPotassium: 42mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 23gVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.1mg
What to Do With Leftover Egg Yolks
If you’re using fresh eggs, instead of the stuff from a carton, you’ll have some egg yolks left over. Here are a few recipes ideas to use them up:
Have you ever made meringue before? What are some of your favorite springtime treats? Leave a comment and let me know!