Anna Olson’s Pretty Birds’ Nest Meringues Sing of Spring
Pastry chef Anna Olson adds her whimsical touch to make a springtime or Easter treat that, as she says, “sings of the season.” Meringue nests hold a creamy vanilla buttercream, sweet coconut “grass” and colourful candy eggs. Kids and adults alike will love this treat, and every baker can put their own spin on it. What’s more, this fanciful birds’ nest dessert is easier than it looks, and Anna shows you how to pull it off flawlessly with the following video – and have fun in the process.
To assemble these spring-themed meringue birds’ nests, you’ll need Anna’s simple white Birds’ Nests meringue recipe here.
You can use your favourite buttercream frosting recipe for the filling or try Anna’s vanilla buttercream frosting recipe here.
For the nests, Anna turns to a French meringue, a straightforward mix of egg whites and sugar. Unlike Swiss meringue, a French meringue doesn’t have you warm or cook the egg whites and sugar together before using; the whites are kept raw, becoming cooked upon baking in a low oven. Be careful not to over-whip your egg whites, but if you do Anna shares her easy fix in this quick video.
No Pastry Bag? No Problem
If you don’t have a pastry bag, prepare the nests as you would a mini pavlova, using a spoon to create rounds and indentations where your filling will sit. There’s no wrong way to go about creating your masterpiece.
This Trick Keeps the Colour Pure Pink
To retain the pink colour (or your preferred pastel shade) in your meringue, a low and slow bake will help to achieve this. Other desserts, like pavlova, where you want to keep the appearance fair, can also follow this method, with or without food colouring.
Avoid Browning the Meringue
A low oven also helps to avoid browning for a more polished look, creating a crisp exterior and airy interior to boot. After baking, those delicate egg whites have turned into a sturdy base, ready to be filled.
Have Fun with the Filling
A rich vanilla cupcake buttercream is the ultimate compliment to those light-as-air nests. You can play around with the flavour of the buttercream, use a thick vanilla bean custard, or using Anna’s recipe for lemon curd mixed with whipped cream for the filling. And, not only does the filling taste great, it acts as “glue” for the decorative toppings to come.
Decorating the Birds’ Nests
Anna keeps with the playful feel of the meringue nests, creating green “grass” from shredded coconut and green food colouring. She uses liquid food colouring, not paste, which coats every strand of coconut more evenly to create a bagful of blades ready to decorate with.
Every Nest Needs Eggs
Egg shaped candies are the final touch. Alternatively, small foil-wrapped chocolate eggs will work as well, just be sure to unwrap them before eating. Or, if it’s already sweet enough for you at this point, consider topping your nests with blueberries (like robin’s eggs), raspberries or red currants.
We can’t think of a more fun, family-friendly way to serve up something sweet, special and just a little different this Easter.
After the chocolate egg hunt, serve up a scrumptious Easter Brunch with the help of these morning-making recipes.