Berry Pavlova

Imagine a dessert that’s both elegant and delicious, perfect for impressing guests or treating yourself. A Berry Pavlova is exactly that. This homemade treat combines a crisp meringue shell with a soft, marshmallow-like center, topped with a generous helping of fresh berries and whipped cream.

To make the meringue, you’ll need egg whites and sugar whipped to stiff peaks, resulting in a glossy, smooth mixture. Spread this airy concoction onto a baking sheet to create the base of your Pavlova.

Add a medley of vibrant berries on top for a burst of color and flavor. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries make an excellent combination. The final touch is a dollop of freshly made whipped cream, enhancing the dessert’s light and fluffy texture. This Berry Pavlova recipe is simple yet impressive, making it a go-to dessert for any occasion.

Creating the Perfect Meringue Base

Making the perfect meringue for your Berry Pavlova involves precise ingredients, specific techniques for whipping egg whites, and careful baking and cooling.

Ingredients and Tools

You need a few key ingredients:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup fine granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

For tools, gather a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mixing bowl, spatula, parchment paper, and a baking sheet.

Using fine granulated sugar ensures it dissolves completely, giving you a smooth texture. The cornstarch and vinegar help stabilize the meringue, creating a crispy shell with a marshmallow center.

Techniques for Whipping Egg Whites

Start by ensuring your mixing bowl and whisk are clean and dry. Any grease can prevent egg whites from whipping properly.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks, taking care not to get any yolk into the whites. Let the egg whites sit in a dry place to reach room temperature, as this helps them whip better.

Beat the egg whites on medium speed until frothy. Add the salt and a small amount of sugar. Increase the mixer speed to high and gradually add the remaining sugar. Whip until the meringue forms glossy stiff peaks, meaning they hold their shape firmly.

Baking and Cooling

Preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 9-inch circle on it. Flip the paper so the drawing doesn’t touch the meringue.

Spread the meringue onto the parchment paper within the circle, creating a slight indentation in the center for toppings. This creates the ideal shape for your pavlova.

Bake for about 90 minutes until the meringue is dry to the touch and has a pale color. Turn off the oven and let the meringue cool completely inside to prevent cracking. Store it in a dry place until you’re ready to add whipped cream and berries.

Assembling and Serving Your Pavlova

Creating a stunning Berry Pavlova depends not only on the meringue but also on the careful assembly and serving. Here’s how to do it perfectly using whipped cream, fresh berries, and more.

Whipped Cream and Toppings

Whipped cream is essential for a pavlova. Use heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, adding sugar and vanilla gradually. This makes the cream sweet yet stable. For an extra zing, mix in some lemon zest. Spread the whipped cream generously over the cooled meringue base.

For toppings, you can add fresh fruit like raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries. Make sure they are clean and dry. Other options include a drizzle of raspberry sauce or lemon curd. These add extra flavor and a beautiful color contrast.

Adding Fresh Berries and Sauces

Fresh berries are the highlight of a Berry Pavlova. Arrange the mixed berries artfully on top of the whipped cream. You can use a single type of berry or a mix. For added flair, scatter some mint leaves over the berries. If your berries are a bit tart, a sprinkle of powdered sugar can offset that nicely.

Drizzle berry sauces like raspberry sauce over the berries. A bit of lemon juice can be added for extra zest. The sauces soak slightly into the cream, enhancing the flavor without making the dessert soggy. If you prefer a more citrusy note, a few dollops of lemon curd work well.

Tips for Storage and Make-Ahead Preparation

Pavlova can be tricky to store due to its delicate nature. Store the meringue in an airtight container at room temperature until you’re ready to assemble it. If you’re making it ahead of time, avoid adding whipped cream and berries until just before serving to prevent sogginess.

If you must assemble it in advance, keep it in the fridge on a serving plate or platter. Consume it within a few hours for the best texture. Do not freeze assembled pavlova as the texture of both the meringue and whipped cream will be compromised.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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