The easy pavlova recipe with a crispy crust and an ultra soft marshmallow-like center. A super light and tasty dessert, served with a light and creamy whipped cream and fresh fruit.
How to make a perfect pavlova recipe, a crunchy layer on the outside and a marshmallow-like cloud of sweetness on the inside!
Here's everything you need to know to make a successful pavlova and this dessert will have no secrets for you!
Pavlova is a traditional dessert in New Zealand and Australia. It is a recipe based on crispy meringue with a soft center and usually served with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
This makes it a fresh and light dessert, perfect for a summer lunch or any other occasion.
The perfect pavlova
The meringue of the pavlova is different from a classic meringue. Although the ingredients are the same, the latter after cooking gives a crispy texture, while in the meringue of the pavlova, cornstarch is added which gives it that marshmallow heart.
But ingredients are not everything! You also have to follow the recipe correctly, which consists of whipping the whites well and incorporating the sugar at the right time and gradually to obtain a perfect meringue. And thus avoid having worries of hollow meringue, or cracked.
As you can see, to obtain the perfect texture of crispy meringue with a soft center. You will have to follow the preparation instructions and as a bonus I share with you my 6 tips to make a successful pavlova.
Useful tools to make this recipe
- A stand mixer or electric hand mixer is needed to whip the egg whites.
- Baking sheetor abaking trayto cook the pavlova.
- Pastry bags to make mini pavlovas.
- Angled spatula for shaping the meringue.
Basic ingredients, the egg whites will give the pavlova its voluminous shell. Use fresh eggs, not several days old, separated from the yolks when they are cold, but brought to room temperature to make the French meringue.
Be careful not to leave any traces of egg yolks in the whites, use a yolk separator which is a very practical tool in pastry making.
Use only white superfine sugar to make the meringue shell and adding the sugar gradually to the whites so that it is incorporated as you go along.
The combination of white vinegar and cornstarch helps create the marshmallow-like soft center that sets pavlova apart from other meringues.
The meringue base being only composed of whites and sugar, adding a little liquid or powdered vanilla extract will bring a little extra flavor to this dessert.
How to make the pavlova recipe
- Place the egg whites in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer or a hand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Beat the egg white on low speed until the whites begin to form bubbles, about 5 minutes.
- Then increase to medium speed until whites form soft peaks (about 5 minutes).
- Gradually add the sugar while letting the stand mixer run on low speed, one tablespoon at a time, making sure the sugar is well incorporated for another 10 minutes.
- Pulse on medium speed until you have a thick, glossy meringue.
- Check that the sugar is completely dissolved by touching the meringue between your fingers and, if necessary, continue mixing for another 10 minutes on medium speed.
- Add the cornstarch, white vinegar and vanilla extract to the meringue and beat on high speed for 1 - 2 minutes until the meringue is firm and glossy.
Shaping the pavlova
- Using a pencil, draw a large disk (18-20 cm in diameter) on a sheet of parchment paper or small circles (about 10 cm in diameter) with a pie ring.
- Place the parchment paper with the markings on a baking sheet.
- Turn the meringue into a large ball on the parchment paper. (Or with a pastry bag and a pastry tip for small pavlovas)
- Using a spatula, shape the meringue into a pretty meringue shell with a good thickness to keep the softness in the center.
Cooking the meringue
- Preheat your oven to 248°F/120°C and put the meringue in the oven.
- Lower the oven temperature to 230°F/110°C and bake the meringue for 90 minutes without opening the oven door.
- Turn off the oven and leave the meringue cool completely inside for another 1 hour for small pavlovas and up to 1 full night for a large pavlova.
The whipped cream with mascarpone
- Place all the ingredients in a container, the liquid cream, mascarpone, sugar and vanilla.
- Mix with an electric mixer at medium speed, then gradually increase the speed for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, firm whipped cream.
- Cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Assembly and decoration of the pavlova
- Carefully place the meringue on a serving dish.
- Top the pavlova with a layer of mascarpone whipped cream.
- Decorate with fresh fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi etc.
- Serve at the last moment with a red fruit coulis, passion fruit or a lemon curd.
- Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar before serving.
How to store pavlova
Meringue can be stored for a long time at room temperature in a chill place and away from humidity.
As you can see, it doesn't like humidity at all, so avoid any contact with water and garnish your pavlova at the last moment just before serving it.
3 tips to make a successful pavlova
1 - Clean your utensils
Meringue does not like fat! Clean the bowl of your food processor and the whisk well with hot, soapy water.
Tip: Wipe the bowl and whisk with a cloth soaked in white vinegar.
2 - Use fresh eggs
Eggs that have been aged for several days rise faster when whipped but also fall back quickly, whereas fresh eggs retain more of the air incorporated during the mixing process and give a more voluminous meringue. That's why it's best to use fresh eggs in this recipe.
Remember to separate your whites from the yolks when they are cold and then use your whites at room temperature.
3 - Whip the whites gradually
Don't rush at this stage, whip the whites gradually without exceeding the medium speed. They should have a foamy texture and form soft peaks before incorporating the sugar.
4- Add the sugar gradually
This is also an essential step to make a successful meringue, the incorporation of granulated sugar must be done gradually and at a slow speed so that it is fully incorporated into the mixture. This is why it is also important to use a very fine sugar so that this step does not take too long.
If you add the sugar too quickly, you risk the whites falling back and losing their airy texture and the meringue may sweat during baking.
5 - Long and gentle cooking
A long and gentle cooking is the key to the success of crispy meringues, they must dry without burning the sugar, so that the meringues remain white.
The oven temperature should never exceed 110°C, ideally around 100°C. The baking process is also more even with the rotating heat function.
The time depends on the size of the meringue! For the pavlova, you should allow about 1 hour and 30 minutes of cooking time and leave it to dry in the oven for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight (6 hours).
6 - Let the pavlova dry overnight
The pavlova recipe requires a lot of preparation time and can be capricious. In fact, although I've given you a lot of advice, it can still crack on humid days when it rains, a bit like macarons.
The best way to get a solid shell is to let it dry as much as possible, ideally 1 night in the oven (I made this recipe when it rained a lot and by letting it dry a full night, the pavlova didn't crack at all)
Frequently asked questions about pavlova
Why does the meringue fall apart - it's not firm enough?
If the meringue is not firm enough, it is because it has not been whipped enough to keep its nice shape when you shape it.
After the sugar has been fully added, you should whisk at medium to high speed until the meringue is shiny and clings to the whisk to form a large, very firm mass.
Why does my pavlova crack or split?
Pavlova can crack during baking for several reasons, but it is mainly due to the whipping stage. Don't make the mistake of whipping all the ingredients at high speed to make the meringue rise faster. It will be firm but will fall apart during baking or even crack.
Follow the instructions carefully by first whisking at slow speed and then gradually increasing the speed without going over medium and ending on high.
Other dessert recipes
Don't forget to tag me @sweetlycakes on Instagram if you make my pavlova recipe and add a link to my recipe if you share it on your blog 😉
- 200 g egg whites - at room temperature
- 320 g powdered sugar
- 10 g cornstarch
- 10 ml Vinegar - or fresh lemon juice
- ½ tsp Vanilla extract
Mascarpone whipped cream
- 100 g Mascarpone - very cold
- 200 g heavy cream - 30% fat - cold
- 30 g confectioner's sugar
- ½ vanilla extract - liquid - or powder
- 250 g Fresh fruit - strawberries, raspberries, cherries, kiwi ...
Preparation of the meringue
- Prepare a sheet of baking paper and using a large bowl or pie ring draw 1 large circle of 18-20 cm or 6 circles spaced sufficiently far apart of about 8-10 cm in diameter.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of your food processor and whip on low speed for 5 minutes until the whites form bubbles.
- Then switch to medium speed and pulse again for about 5 minutes until the whites form soft peaks.
- Then switch to low speed and gradually add the powdered sugar a spoonful at a time until it is well dissolved in the whites. (about 10 minutes)
- Once you have incorporated all the powdered sugar, switch to medium speed and mix for another 10 minutes.
- Check to see if the sugar is dissolved by touching the meringue between your fingers, if you still feel grains of sugar, continue mixing for another 5-10 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch, white vinegar and vanilla extract and mix on high speed for 1 minute. The meringue should be firm and shiny.
- Place all the meringue on the baking sheet covered with the parchment paper and shape the pavlova. (or use a pastry bag to shape mini pavlovas)
- Preheat your oven to 120°C and place the pavlova halfway in the oven.
- Lower the temperature to 110°C and bake for 90 minutes without opening the oven door.
- At the end of the cooking time, turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven for at least 1 hour or even overnight.
Preparation of the mascarpone whipped cream
- Place the cream, confectioner's sugar, mascarpone and vanilla in a bowl and beat for about 5 minutes at a slow speed, then gradually increase the speed until you have a stiff cream.
Assembling the pavlova
- Place the pavlova carefully on a large plate or serving dish.
- Top with a generous layer of mascarpone whipped cream.
- Decorate with chilled fruit.
- Serve at the last minute with a little coulis and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.