A meringue based dessert with crispy edges and soft, light texture on the inside. Topped with whipped cream and fresh fruits, this pavlova is light, refreshing and easy to make.
Fall is sneaking around us. We notice the change of temperature from above 100 to around 80, some breeze and the air conditioner does not turn on all day long. Are you excited when fall is coming? I am extremely excited. But I don’t want summer to go by so fast so here is my way to keep summer vibes going: a pavlova.
As a meringue based cake, pavlova is made with a handful of ingredients – usually whipped egg whites, sugar, acid liquid (or powder) such as cream of tartar, fresh squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar. While the egg whites are being whipped, adding acid will help stabilize egg whites and allow them to reach their full volume and stiffness. The combination of acid and cornstarch helps create a soft, chewy marshmallow-like center that makes pavlova a unique dessert.
HOW TO MAKE PAVLOVA
It’s required to use egg whites when making pavlova. An egg white is pure protein. Start at room temperature, egg whites will grow bigger and reach their highest volume with whipping method. You will want to separate the eggs or use the store-bought egg whites, making sure that they are at room temperature before using. If you separate the eggs, do not throw away the egg yolk as they can be used in lemon curd (which is a perfect match for pavlova), pastry cream or caramel flan.
Making pavlova is effortless, it’s just a matter of time. Start with beating the egg whites on low-medium speed until soft peak forms. With the mixture still on, gradually add sugar in 3 additions, beating for 30 seconds between, then increase to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. The peaks should be stiff enough that they can keep their shape or when the whisk is lifted, the peak can stand straight up. Add the vanilla extract, the cream of tartar and cornstarch, either fold them in by hand or beat them on low speed until just combined.
While you are whipping pavlova, preheat the oven at 350°F. Once pavlova is ready, place it in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 215°F and bake for 90 min. This is to help set the edges and create a crisp outside. It also helps the cake less spread during baking time.
Classic pavlova is usually topped with whipped cream and fruit but you can also top with lemon curd or fruit sauce. It’s best eaten the day it’s made.
- 4 large egg whites (or 122g egg whites)
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) lemon juice, cream of tartar or white wine
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract
For Whipped Cream and Topping
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream cold
- 2 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Draw an 8-inch circle on parchment paper. Line the baking sheet with the parchment paper (with the drawn circle downside).
- Make Pavlova: In a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low-medium speed until soft peak forms. With the mixture still on, gradually add sugar in 3 additions, beating for 30 seconds between, then increase to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. The meringue at this time will be glossy, and the sugar is fully dissolved (You can check the sugar by rubbing the meringue between your fingers, if you can feel smooth, no granules then it’s ready). The peaks should be stiff enough that when the whisk is lifted, the peak can stand straight up. Add the vanilla extract, the cream of tartar and cornstarch, either fold them in by hand or beat them on low speed until just combined.
- Spread meringue onto the prepared parchment paper, shaping it into a 8-inch circle with the help of the circle you drew earlier. Create the edges that are taller than the center (the center later will hold the whipped cream and fruit/sauce).
- Place pavlova in the oven. And immediately reduce heat to 215°F (101°C) right after you close the door. Bake for 90 minutes until the pavlova is pale in color and dry at the edges. Turn off the oven and, without opening the door, let pavlova cool completely in the oven. It will slightly crack while cooling in the oven and it’s ok.
- For the whipped cream: Using a stand mixer or hand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
- When the pavlova is completely cool, top it with whipped cream and fresh fruit. You can add fruity sauce or leave it out. Serve it right away. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.