Pavlova is a summer dessert dream that just can’t be beaten when done right. A light, fluffy meringue base with a marshmallow centre and the most delicious crisp edges. Topped with lots of fresh whipped cream and a mountain of berries. The perfect pavlova can be tricky to master, but is a true showstopper that is ideal for summer parties. Be sure to read my recipe tips before baking to perfect your pavlova first time!
Perfect Pavlova Equipment
The main piece of equipment you need is a hand mixer or a stand mixer, you really can’t get the texture right by beating by hand. Or maybe you can, if you have serious arm muscles – which I do not! I love the simplicity of a hand mixer as you move it around the bowl and it doesn’t take up lots of space. My favourite is the classic Dualit mixer.
Perfect Pavlova Tips
- Room temperature eggs: these are essential for getting enough whip!
- Fine, white sugar: golden or brown sugar will discolour the meringue and it must be very fine so that it dissolves easily. Caster sugar is ideal.
- Clean equipment: meringue is very sensitive to residue on your equipment so use a very clean bowl. One from the dishwasher should be perfect.
- Dissolve the sugar: if you don’t dissolve the sugar properly, it will leak out while baking. Beat it until you cannot feel the sugar in the mixture for best results.
- Stiff peaks: when the mixture is finished, you should have stiff, white glossy peaks that don’t move when you tip the bowl.
- Dairy-free: top with a dairy free whipped cream, coconut cream or even a dairy free ice cream!
- Vegan: you can use aquafaba in place of egg whites and a whipped coconut cream topping, but I do not have experience with aquafaba meringue!
- Fruit: top with any berries or fruit you have to hand.
- 6 large egg whites must be room temperature
- 300 grams white caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 1.5 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
- 300 ml double/heavy cream
- 400 grams fresh berries
- Preheat the oven to 130c/265f.
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Use a plate or a cake tin base to trace a 8-9" circle on the paper. Flip it over so the ink doesn't leak in to your meringue.
- Whisk the egg whites in a bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer for roughly 3 minutes, until they are white and fluffy.
- Add the sugar gradually, roughly a few spoonfuls at a time, beating in between.
- Mix until it is white, glossy and forms very stiff peaks. Rub a little between your fingers, if you can feel the grit of the sugar, beat for another minute.
- Add in the vanilla, cream of tartar and corn flour and beat again.
- Spoon out in to the centre of your circle and use a spoon or spatula to carefully spread out in to a tall disc with a slight depression in the centre.
- Use a knife or a spatula to decorate the edges, if desired. I use a diagonal swipe upwards with a knife all the way around the edge.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 90c/200f and bake for another 90 minutes.
- Switch off the oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes in the oven, then open the oven door and cool for another 10 before removing from the oven to cool completely on the side. This helps prevent cracking.
- Once cool, lightly whip the cream and carefully spread on the top. Decorate with berries and serve immediately.
- Sugar leaking out: the sugar did not dissolve properly in the meringue. Use a fine sugar and beat well, rubbing the mixture between your fingers to feel for grit. If you can feel the sugar, beat it for longer.
- Meringue browned: your oven temperature was too high or you cooked it for too long.
- Meringue cracked: your meringue cooked or cooled too quickly, be sure to use a low oven temperature and then gradually cool it in the oven before taking it out.
- Deflated meringue: you likely added the sugar too quickly and collapsed the meringue. Add it a few spoonfuls at a time, beating well in between.
- Lumpy meringue: you likely beat the egg whites for too long or on too high of a speed, causing them to curdle. Use a medium speed and stop when they are stiff and glossy.
- Flat meringue: use room temperature egg whites and a clean bowl to get the fluffiest meringue possible.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe and that your pavlovas turned out perfectly! Tag me in your creations on Instagram @essentially.emma and let me know down below what you think!