Pavlova is crunchy and chewy meringue layered with whipped cream and fruit, and it's an absolutely magical, light and fresh dessert. Pavlova recipes are naturally gluten free, too!
My daughter likes cake, but she absolutely LOVES pavlovas. They're a meringue shell, crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, filled with sweetened whipped cream and berries.
I decided that, instead of a birthday cake at the Equestrian Tea Party birthday, I'd make my daughter's favorite pavlova.
We usually make a one layer pavlova, but I decided to make a three layer, stacked version, so it would look more like a birthday cake, and I absolutely love how it turned out.
Pavlova Meringue Shell Recipe:
- egg whites from four extra large eggs
- 1/2 t salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 t cornstarch
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 t vinegar
In a perfectly clean mixer, use a whisk attachment to whip the egg-whites until they turn into fluffy foam. Add the sugar, a little at a time, and beat. Add the vinegar, corn starch, and vanilla, and beat until the mixture makes firm, shiny peaks.
When the meringue can hold its shape nicely, you're ready to make the meringue shells.
I put my egg white mixture in a large disposable piping bag. A BIG one. The 21" size disposable piping bag. It held the entire batch of meringue, which is great, because attempting to refill a smaller bag would be a very sticky job. I don't often need to use bags so big, but they're awfully nice to have around on occasion.
Trace an 8" circle on parchment paper. I used an 8" cake round as my template.
Pipe the meringue on the parchment paper, using the penciled circle as a guideline. Pipe around the outer edge one or two more times to create a bowl shape.
Make three of these meringue discs.
Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour and 30 minutes. Turn off the oven, but don't open the door! Let the oven cool down completely before removing the meringues. I like to bake my meringues at night, and let them cool overnight, just to be sure.
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- sugar to taste (I use about 1/4 cup)
- 1 t vanilla
- fresh berries
- edible flowers (optional)
Using a stand mixer, begin whipping the pint of heavy whipping cream. When the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla. Whip until it's a sturdy whipped cream, but don't overwhip! You could end up with sugary butter.
When you're ready to serve the pavlova, set one meringue disk on the serving plate. Spread with sweetened whipped cream, and sprinkle generously with berries. Set the second layer on top of the filled first layer, and repeat. Finish with the third layer of meringue topped with whipped cream and a mount of fresh berries. We used blackberries and blueberries--mostly because my daughter loves those fruits, but also because they worked with the lavender and navy color scheme of the party.
The pavlova looked beautiful with just the berries, but utterly spectacular when I added some fresh edible flowers. Wow.
Seriously beautiful, absolutely delicious, and crazy easy to make. SO much simpler than a regular birthday cake. Why did it take me so long to try making a pavlova? I'm hooked.