Just look at this dessert! It’s made of melt-in-your-mouth meringue blanketed with lightly sweetened whipped cream and topped with luscious ripe berries.
It’s a Pavlova, named after the legendary Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It’s like a fluffy cloud of happiness. I kinda want to face plant into it right now.
This is one of those wonderful “secret weapon” desserts to have in your repertoire. It looks amazingly elegant, complicated and totally fancy pants. But! It’s really quite easy and inexpensive. Shhh! don’t tell!
I have to tell you I had a major fail prepping this recipe. Meringue is made from whipped egg whites and I found a carton of pasteurized egg whites marked down at the store. Score! No muss, no fuss, right?
Well, here’s what I learned: You can’t make meringue with pasteurized egg whites. Doh! The heat of the pasteurization process damages the proteins of the egg so it doesn’t create the volume needed to make a stable meringue. I tried to make the goofy thing twice before I looked it up. I learned something new so I guess that’s okay. On with dessert!
Mixed Berry Pavlova
Yield: 6 servings Time: 2 hours 15 minutes – 15 minutes active
What You’ll Need:
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar – divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla- divided
- 1 cup whipping cream – whipped
- 1 pint or more of mixed berries
- Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or brown paper. Here’s how to be sure your finished meringue will fit on your serving dish. Use a plate as a template – and with a pencil, draw a circle on the paper. Turn the paper over so you’re not putting meringue onto your pencil mark. You’ll still be able to see the circle through the paper
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Add 1 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating continuously at high speed until sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. This will take at least five minutes. Add the vanilla and blend again. (If you’d like more detailed instructions for making meringues click here) – The Magic and Mayhem of Making Meringue
- Spoon meringue on the prepared cookie sheet, using the circle as your guide. Build up sides with the back of the spoon. Place in 300 degree oven and immediately reduce heat to 250° F
- Bake for 60 minutes, when the timer goes off DON’T OPEN THE DOOR. Turn the heat OFF and let it sit in the closed oven for another hour. The inside of the meringue will remain soft but the outside will be crisp. Divine!
- Carefully remove the meringue from the paper and place on a serving plate.
- Whip the cream with 2 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla.
- Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream and top with the berries. Serve right away.
Diva tips – Make certain absolutely no egg yolk gets into the whites because any trace of fat prevents them from whipping up. Use metal or glass bowls, not plastic. Fresh eggs make better meringue.
A stand mixer makes preparing meringue a joy. Here are two at different price points I can personally recommend:
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Now that you know how to make a Pavlova here are some variations.
It’s traditionally made with berries but you can make it with any fruit combination as long as it’s not too soggy. Peaches and plums, bananas with caramel, blackberries and kiwi, strawberry rhubarb, caramelized apples and cinnamon whipped cream.
Change up the whipped cream by adding Nutella, caramel sauce, lemon curd, coconut cream, peanut butter, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, amaretto, crème de menthe, coffee liquor, any liquor.
You can add toppings besides fruit! Top with salted caramel and flakey sea salt, chocolate and hazelnuts,
Add ice cream and toppings or fruit combinations like: orange sherbet and mandarin oranges, chocolate and chocolate sauce, Butter pecan and peaches, pistachio and chocolate shavings.
I hope you make Pavlova your “go-to” dessert when your entertaining because nothing says “Diva” like busting out the meringue.
Hamilton Beach 6-Speed Classic Stand Mixer
KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield