Have you guys ever tried baking a Pavlova? I’ve seen them on Pinterest for years and save them because they are SO pretty, but I never really considered making one for several reasons:
1. They aren’t chocolate, so is it really a dessert??
2. They look intimidating.
3. Do they actually taste good or are they bland?
However my neighbor (she’s a baker and went to culinary school) made one of the 4th of July and it was AMAZING! The texture was perfect—crisp and chewy on the outside, but soft like a marshmallow on the inside. Then she topped it with homemade whipped cream, strawberries, rhubarb and pistachios. It was the perfect summer dessert—light and refreshing! She inspired me to step outside of my baking comfort zone and give it a try!
They are surprisingly easy to make! You just whisk together egg whites, sugar, corn starch, vanilla extract and cream of tartar. Once stiff peaks form you spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for about 90 minutes. The beauty of pavlovas are that they are perfectly imperfect—the shape doesn’t have to be exact, so you can play around with it and be creative. I’m thinking about making some mini pavlovas next time! After it has cooled, top it with whatever you’d like! Typically it’s whipped cream and fresh fruit, but I’ve also seen some recipes that call for lemon curd or chocolate mousse. I used homemade whipped cream (colored pink), strawberries and pistachios. I forget how good fruit desserts can be! I’m all about chocolate after meals, but this combo hit the spot and the mix of textures was divine! Don’t let pavlovas intimidate you! I challenge you to also step out of your comfort zone and give them a try. You won’t be disappointed :)
A light, refreshing dessert for summer! Pavlovas are surprisingly easy to bake and have an amazing texture. Top with whipped cream and your favorite fresh fruit!
For the Pavlova
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
For the Topping
- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- pink food coloring optional
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 1/4 cup crushed pistachios
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). Add half of the sugar and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sugar and beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form (about 2 more minutes). Add vanilla extract and beat for one more minute. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the corn starch and cream of tartar.
Spread into a circle (about 9 inches) on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven, and turn the temperature down to 200F. Bake for about 90 minutes, until the pavlova is firm and dry.
Turn the oven off, but keep the pavlova inside of it to cool.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of the cooled pavlova and then add the strawberries and pistachios. Serve immediately.