The marshmallow-like homemade pavlova is something that I never get tired of. Topped with whipped cream and fresh berries, it’s a dessert that is easy to make and delicious!
I have made this dessert a million times. The thing about this dessert is that you can change it up a bunch of different ways to make it just as you prefer. You can make a chocolate based pavlova and top it with ganache and berries. Or whipped cream and pomegranate seeds like Nigella Lawson makes for Christmas. I like to make the meringue in the morning and then get the rest of the ingredients together right before I am going to serve it. You can make big pavlovas or individual ones as well.
What is a pavlova //
A pavlova is a meringue based dessert topped with fruits and whipped cream. It is incredibly easy to make at home and became an instant family favorite when I first tried it a few years back. The outside of the meringue is crispy and the inside is soft and gooey like a marshmallow. It originates in Australia but was named after a Russian ballerina.
What is the difference between meringues and pavlova //
That’s a very good question! The base of a pavlova is French meringue with a tiny twist. Although the techniques and the ingredients are the same to make both, the main difference between pavlova and meringues is that meringues tend to have a crispier and dry texture both inside and outside. Meanwhile the pavlova is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, like a marshmallow.
Why using vinegar and cornstarch in a pavlova //
Pavlova meringue is made with few ingredients but each ingredient is essential to achieve the perfect texture. Both vinegar and cornstarch may sound odd to include in a dessert but they are vital as they help the meringue stabilize and give that lovely crispy texture on the outside and soft on the inside.
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- freshly whipped cream
- lemon filling
- fresh raspberries
Step 1: Whisk together the cornstarch and sugar in a bowl. Preheat your oven to 275 degrees.
Step 2: In the bowl of the mixer, add a pinch of salt to the room temperature egg whites. Start the mixer slowly.
Step 3: When the eggs start to get some volume, slowly add the sugar.
Step 4: I put my vinegar and vanilla together in a cup and slowly pour it in.
Step 5: The eggs are done when they are glossy and bright white.
Step 6: On a piece of parchment paper, use something round for a stencil. Use a pencil and trace around the object. Turn the paper over. (This is very important as you do not want to put the meringue on graphite. Not yummy.)
Step 7: Spoon the meringue onto your guide. I try to keep mine uniform, but the beauty of this dessert is its imperfection. The meringue is going to crack. The tops will fall. I do like to pile mine pretty high with meringue. I want a nice firm base for the rest of the delicious things that are going on it to sit on.
Step 8: Put the meringues into the oven and turn the heat down to 225 degrees. You want them to dry out, but not change color. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, then turn the oven off and leave in the oven for another hour.
Step 9: This is the baked meringue. My favorite way to eat a pavlova is with freshly whipped cream and berries. But this lemon filling took it over the top. It counteracted the sweetness from the meringue and gave this dessert a new dimension. I cannot wait to make it again.
Topping Variations //
I personally enjoy my pavlova topped with whipped cream and any of the red berries but the good thing with this dessert is that you can let your imagination go wild and top it with a variety of different toppings. Some of my recommendations are:
- Any kind of berries
- Dried fruits
Tips for making the perfect pavlova //
- Make sure to use room temperature ingredients.
- Using a lemon filling will help counteract the sweetness from the meringue.
- I find stand mixers always more efficient when doing meringue but if you do not have one you can use you hand mixer. Make sure to start the mixer slowly and increase speed over time.
- If like me you use a pencil to mark the shape of the meringues on the parchment paper, you need to remember to turn the paper over to not put the meringue on graphite.
- Do not worry if your pavlova meringues are not all the same shape, the beauty of this dessert is that all little pavlova will look a bit different.
- Do not overcook the pavlova meringues, you still want the inside to me soft, if they start changing color you have likely overcooked them!
Storage Information //
Unfortunately you will not be able to store pavlovas for a long time. Pavlovas need to be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. They should remain fresh and can be consumed for up to 2 days after baking. However, if you add whipped cream or berries they need to be eaten immediately and cannot be stored for a long period of time.
Monday 24th of October 2022
A slight correction to the provenance of the pavlova - the first recorded pavlova recipe was found in a New Zealand recipe book in 1927.
Tuesday 25th of October 2022
Thanks a lot for letting me know Christine, I agree there seems to be a bit of controversy on the place of origins, but it seems to be Australia or New Zeeland!
Thursday 21st of April 2022
Can you freeze pavlova? I need to make a bunch for an Australian representation and wanted to make them ahead, if I can.
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Monday 3rd of January 2022
Perfectly composed articles, Really enjoyed studying.
Monday 25th of January 2021
I made your recipe today- It is in the oven as I type this- there appears to be an error- in your blog- you say to bake the meringue 1 1/2 hr then turn off oven and leave for an hour- In the recipe- it says only to bake the meringue an hour- As this is just to dry out the meringue and I made 6 rahter large meringues, I am going with the former-
Sunday 10th of November 2013
Silly question- do you actually cut the pavlova or stack them? Can't wait to try and I'm going to look for chocolate recipe to try as well!
Sunday 17th of November 2013
Not a silly question at all. I cut it into wedges. Sometimes I make small ones and serve them individually.