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.
- Sprouted almonds
- Chocolate covered almonds
- Fresh raspberries or blueberries
- Healthier chocolate candies (these ones have natural dyes)
- Add some natural food coloring to some of the meringue. Pipe a little into the nests before baking to resemble eggs.
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
- 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.
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:
- Coconut Milk Egg Nog
- Healthy Homemade Caesar Dressing Recipe
- Brainpower Protein Shake
- Triple Berry Tart
- Butter Pecan Ice Cream
- Decadent Coffee Ice Cream
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Sriracha Mayo
Have you ever made meringue before? What are some of your favorite springtime treats? Leave a comment and let me know!