Pavlovas are my absolute favorite dessert of all time! They’re basically a type of large meringue – one which is crispy on the outside, and like a marshmallow on the inside! – heaped with whipped cream, then topped with fruit. Does it get any better? No. No, it doesn’t!
Nice light texture, and a wonderful way to enjoy fresh fruit. Perfect summer dessert for entertaining, and this is a really easy recipe for anyone.
A quick head’s up though – if your meringue is not cracked by the time you remove it from the oven, it will likely crack at some other point, and will almost certainly crack when you start garnishing. Don’t worry! Totally normal, no one will notice or care!
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh Fruits & Berries **
Get ready: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove eggs from fridge and allow to warm to room temp (about 5 minutes). Line a baking (cookie) sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Fit your electric mixer with the whisk attachment.
In your mixer bowl, beat egg whites together with salt until glossy peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Turn off mixer, remove bowl.
Sprinkle vanilla**, vinegar, and cornstarch over meringue, gently fold in till combined.
Heap meringue onto the center of your baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread the meringue out to approximately an 8-9″ circle. I like to have my meringue a fairly even depth throughout – some like a mound, some like it to be a little concave. If you want to get really fancy, put the meringue into a pastry bag and pipe it out as a mass of swirls that form your 8″ circle! It’s really up to you!
Put the baking sheet into your oven, and turn the temperature down to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Once your timer goes off, turn the oven off and let the meringue cool in the oven for several hours. The baking of the meringue can be done the day before, if needed!
Just before serving, whip the heavy cream. I like my pavlovas a little sweeter, so I add about 2 Tbsp of sugar – add as much or as little as you want. Purists may not want to sweeten the cream at all! I also like to add a little flavoring, again – optional
Mound the whipped cream on your pavlova, and top with fresh fruits. Serve immediately!
Serves 4-6. (Or 2 Pavlova fanatics!)
* Super fine / castor sugar is granulated sugar with a much finer grain size than regular granulated sugar. It is NOT powdered / icing sugar! Super fine sugar is usually sold near the sugar in the baking aisle, in small boxes – sometimes resembling milk cartons. If you aren’t able to find actual super fine sugar, you can process regular granulated sugar in your food processor until fine. Measure AFTER you process!
** The possibilities for flavoring your pavlova are endless! Here are some of my favorites:
– Rum flavoring in the meringue and whipped cream. Top with sliced bananas, mango, and toasted coconut.
– Almond flavoring in meringue and whipped cream. Top with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, garnishing with fresh mint leaves if available.
– Substitute half of the sugar with light brown sugar. Use rum flavoring in the meringue & whipped cream. Top with cooled bananas foster and pecans!
– 1/4 cup cocoa in the meringue, 2-3 tablespoons cocoa in the whipped cream, top with raspberries (Sometimes marinated in Chambord!), drizzle with chocolate sauce. Great for Valentine’s Day!
One caveat, however: You cannot use oil-based flavoring in your pavlova meringue. Its presence will cause the meringue structure to break down.