Pavlova Recipe (VIDEO)
Pavlova is a graceful, beautiful, and romantic dessert. It is perfect for Valentine’s Day or any dinner party (you can make pavlovas ahead!). The texture is crisp on the outside with a marshmallow-soft inside, and they are piled high with whipped cream and fruit. Watch the video tutorial below.
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What is Pavlova?
I had my facts all wrong about Pavlova; it’s not Russian, but named after a Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. There is a great debate about who made it first; Australia or New Zealand, but everyone can agree they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Pavlova is a show-stopping meringue dessert and it’s easier than you think. It is made of egg whites, sugar, corn starch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Once baked, a crisp exterior forms around the soft centers. To serve, pavlovas are topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream and studded with plenty of fresh berries. You can make pavlovas as a Big Pavlova Cake or as these easy to serve mini pavlovas.
How to Bring Eggs to Room Temperature:
If your egg whites are not at room temperature, place them in a bowl and set over a second bowl of warm (not hot) water for 15 minutes. Tip: The yolks separate easier from the whites if you use chilled eggs.
Can I Substitute Corn Starch?
Corn starch is vital to the overall result of this recipe. It helps form the crisp exterior and marshmallow-soft interior. Do not omit the cornstarch. I haven’t tested substituting, but one of our readers reported great results using potato starch.
Can I Make Pavlovas Ahead?
You can make the pavlova meringues up to 3 days ahead of time and store loosely wrapped in a plastic bag (in a low-humidity area) then assemble just before your event. Once they are assembled the frosting starts to soften the meringues and they should be eaten within 4 hours of assembling.
Tips for Making Mini Pavlovas:
- Fully preheat your oven and bake right away or pavlovas can start melting or form a layer of brown sugar after baking at the bottom.
- If using this large 3/4 baking sheet, you can fit them all on one sheet, otherwise, bake on 2 separate baking sheets in the top and bottom thirds of your oven.
- Make sure to use parchment paper for easy removal from the baking sheet (do not use wax paper – it sticks like crazy).
- Use your stand mixer for the most effective mixing. If using an electric hand mixer, you may need to add 2 minutes to the mixing time for stiff, smooth and glossy peaks to form. Do not attempt to hand whisk – yikes!
- Pipe meringue 3 to 3 1/2 inches wide onto the parchment paper using a Wilton 1M Tip. Indent the center with a spoon to allow room for cream.
- Let pavlovas rest in the warm oven 30 minutes before removing from the oven to ensure the exterior dries appropriately.
What are the Best Toppings for Pavlova?
The fruit toppings for pavlova are endless. You will want about 4 to 5 cups of fresh fruit or berries. Our favorite options are:
- Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries
- Stone Fruit: peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines
- Mint leaves, to garnish
More Easy and Impressive Valentines Desserts:
If you’re working on a Valentine’s Day menu, make sure you check out all our Valentine’s Recipes. Some of our favorite romantic desserts are:
- Tiramisu Cake – the authentic version
- Affogato – Italian coffee ice cream treat
- Strawberry Shortcake – so simple and tasty
- Chocolate Mousse – as classic as it gets
- Eclairs – with custard filling
- Strawberry Sauce – to pour over everything
Watch Pavlova Recipe Video Tutorial:
These mini pavlovas have a cloud-like meringue that literally melts in your mouth. The tart berries cut the sweetness just right so I always add a generous amount. Serve these at your next party and they will be flying off the plate. They are well-loved by adults and children.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (very cold)
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4-5 cups fresh fruit blueberries, kiwi, raspberries, sliced strawberries, etc
- 15 Mint leaves for garnish, optional
How to Make Pavlova:
Preheat the Oven to 225˚ F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your stand mixer, beat 6 egg whites on high speed 1 min until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat 10 min on high speed, or until stiff peaks form. It will be smooth and glossy.
Use a spatula to quickly fold in 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice and 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract, then fold in 2 tsp corn starch and mix until well blended.
Pipe meringue into 3 to 3 1/2 inches wide nests onto the parchment paper using a Wilton 1M Tip. Indent the center with a spoon to allow room for cream. Bake at 225˚ for 1 hr and 15 min then turn the oven off and without opening the door, let meringue in the hot oven another 30 min. Outsides will be dry and crisp to the tap and very pale cream-colored and insides will still be marshmallow soft.
Transfer the pavlova with the parchment paper onto the counter or a cookie rack and allow it to cool to room temp. Once cool, you can top them with whipped cream and fruit or store in an airtight container for 3-5 days at room temperature (in a low humidity place).
How to Make Frosting and Assemble Pavlovas:
Beat cold whipping cream with 2 Tbsp sugar in the cold bowl for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until whipped and spreadable.
Pipe frosting onto the pavlova and top with fresh fruit.*
*These should be enjoyed within 4 hours of assembly.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen
Recipe updated January 2020 to include more tips and tricks for mastering the perfect pavlova.
Have you tried the Pavlova? What are YOUR favorite toppings?