Pavlova, a beloved dessert, is a true showstopper at any gathering. This meringue-based dessert features a crisp outer shell and a soft, marshmallow-like interior, topped with a luscious layer of whipped cream and an assortment of fresh fruit. The origin of Pavlova is a subject of debate, with both Australia and New Zealand claiming credit for its creation. The dessert is believed to have been inspired by Anna Pavlova's tour of these countries in the 1920s, with chefs eager to create a dessert that captured the lightness and grace of the ballerina's performances. Regardless of its exact origins, Pavlova has become a quintessential dessert in both countries and is enjoyed worldwide for its unique texture and flavor.Pavlova is best served fresh on the day it is made. Once assembled, it should be enjoyed promptly to prevent the meringue from becoming soggy. Cut into slices or made as individual portions, Pavlova makes a stunning centerpiece for any dessert table or special occasion.
- Stand mixer or handheld electric mixer
- Baking parchment or silicone baking mat
- baking sheet
- mixing bowls
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar (200 g)
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- whipped cream (Homemade Whipped Cream) (for topping)
- Fresh fruits such as strawberries, kiwi, and passion fruit, for topping
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Prepare Meringue: In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat on high speed until the meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form. This process should take about 8-10 minutes.
- Add Flavorings: Gently fold in the cornstarch, white vinegar or lemon juice, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt until combined.
- Shape Meringue: Spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, shaping it into a round mound with slightly raised edges.To prepare mini Pavlovas or different shapes, simply spoon smaller portions of the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet, shaping them into individual nests or desired shapes. Adjust the baking time accordingly, as smaller sizes may require less time in the oven. Once baked and cooled, top with whipped cream and fruit for adorable and delicious individual desserts.
- Bake: Place the Pavlova in the preheated oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250°F (120°C). Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the Pavlova is crisp on the outside and pale cream in color. The center should feel dry and firm to the touch.
- Cool: Turn off the oven and leave the Pavlova to cool completely inside the oven with the door slightly ajar. Once cooled, transfer the Pavlova to a serving platter.
- Top and Serve: Just before serving, spread a layer of whipped cream over the Pavlova and top with an assortment of fresh fruit. Serve immediately and enjoy the divine combination of textures and flavors.
- Ensure that the mixing bowl and beaters are clean and free of any grease, as any trace of fat can prevent the egg whites from whipping properly.
- For best results, use room temperature egg whites and avoid getting any traces of egg yolk in the whites.
- Adding cornstarch and vinegar or lemon juice helps stabilize the meringue and create a crisp exterior with a soft, marshmallow-like interior.
- Pavlova can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one day before topping and serving.
- Customize your Pavlova with your favorite toppings, such as sliced fruit, berry coulis, chocolate shavings, or toasted nuts, for a personalized touch.