How to make the best berry pavlova recipe with a delicious mascarpone whipped cream. This pavlova is very easy to make and has no cracks, no cream of tartar, crisp on the outside, and a chewy marshmallow-like center.
This berry pavlova is a delicious meringue shell topped with light and fluffy whipped cream and lots of fresh fruits perfect for any summer dessert to share with the family.
Pavlova is a traditional dessert very popular in New Zealand and Australia. It was designed as a memorial to the famous Romanian ballerina Anna Pavlova, hence the lovely name of this dessert "Pavovla" made in his image de ballerina, graceful and full of lightness.
Pavlova is a French meringue recipe disk made of egg whites and sugar whipped together and baked for a long time at a very low temperature.
This fabulous dessert is light, delicious, and full of freshness. It is often served with sweetened whipped cream, fresh seasonal fruits such as fresh berries or passion fruit, a fruit coulis, and icing sugar.
Why you'll love this dessert
- Easy dessert with simple ingredients and this easy step-by-step video recipe.
- Delicious and light dessert full of freshness perfect for this summer.
- Beautiful dessert to share with family or for special occasions like Mother's Day.
The pavlova meringue is different from a classic meringue, although the ingredients are the same, the latter after cooking gives a crispy texture, while in this meringue, 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 egg whites well and slowly add 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 crisp on the outside with a marshmallow-like soft center. You will have to follow the preparation instructions and as a bonus, I share with you my 5 tips to make it successful below.
Secrets tips for this recipe
- Clean your utensils: Meringue does not like fat! Clean the bowl of your stand mixer and the whisk attachment well with hot, soapy water. You can also wipe a cloth soaked in vinegar or lemon juice to destroy all traces of grease.
- Fresh eggs: Egg whites that have been aged for several days rise faster when whipped but also fall back quickly, whereas fresh egg whites 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 whites at room temperature in this recipe.
- Whip gradually: Don't rush at this stage, whip the egg whites gradually without exceeding the medium speed. They should have a foamy texture and form soft peaks before incorporating the sugar.
- Slow cooking: 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.
- Let dry overnight: This 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. Make your berry pavlova ahead of time and at the end of baking turn off the oven and leave your meringue to cool in the oven overnight.
Ingredients you need
Pavlova is a fairly technical dessert, even though the preparation seems quite simple. The making of the meringue shell can be a bit intimidating, especially if you have never experienced meringues before. You just have to follow precisely the instructions for the preparation of the meringue, to have a nice disk without cracks with a thick and soft interior.
- Egg whites at room temperature, basic ingredients, the egg whites will give its voluminous shell. Use fresh large egg whites, not several days old, separated from the yolks when they are cold, but brought to room temperature to make the French meringue.
- Sugar : Use only white superfine granulated sugar to make the meringue shell. If you don't have fine sugar you can blend it for a few moments in a food processor to refine the size of the sugar grains.
- White vinegar: The acidity of white vinegar helps stabilize the egg whites to make a firm meringue. You can replace the white vinegar with cream of tartar or fresh lemon juice.
- Cornstarch: The combination of white vinegar and cornstarch helps create the marshmallow-like soft center that sets it apart from other meringues.
- Vanilla extract: The meringue base is only composed of whites and sugar, adding a little liquid or powdered pure vanilla extract will bring a little extra flavor to this dessert.
- Heavy cream: Use full-fat heavy whipping cream, not low-fat cream, with at least 30% fat content and cold.
- Mascarpone : Use cold mascarpone.
- Sugar: Use confectioner's sugar rather than granulated sugar to make the sweetened whipped cream.
- Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract or the seeds of a vanilla bean.
Find the quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.
Hot to make berry pavlova meringue
Beat the egg whites
- Place the egg whites at room temperature and pure vanilla extract in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric mixer.
- Beat the egg white on low speed until the whites begin to form bubbles for about 5 minutes.
- Then increase to medium speed until soft peaks form for an additional 5 minutes.
Tip: Be careful to start at a slow speed and as soon as your egg whites are frothy increase the speed until you have soft peaks.
Stir in the sugar
- Slowly add the sugar gradually 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.
- Then increase speed to medium and mix for another 10 minutes until you have a glossy meringue.
- Check that the sugar is completely dissolved by touching the meringue between your fingers. You should no longer feel the grains of sugar if this is the case mix again for about 5 to 10 minutes more.
- Add the cornstarch, white vinegar or lemon juice to the meringue and beat on high speed for 1 - 2 minutes until stiff peaks form.
Tip: You know the meringue is ready when it has the famous stiff peaks and holds its shape. The sugar must also be completely dissolved before baking.
- Using a pencil, draw a large circle (8 inches / 20 cm in diameter) on a sheet of parchment paper using a large plate.
- Turn the paper with the markings on a baking sheet.
- Pile the meringue in the center of the marker on the baking sheet with the parchment paper.
- Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, shape the meringue into a pretty meringue shell with a good thickness to keep the soft inside.
Tip: At this point, if you have trouble shaping the meringue and it doesn't hold its shape, it hasn't been whipped enough. You can then put it back in the mixer and whip it again for at least 5 minutes to firm it up.
- Preheat the oven to 248°F/120°C fan oven and line a baking sheet with parchment paper containing the pavlova.
- Lower the oven temperature to 230°F/110°C and bake the meringue for 1 hour to 1h30 without opening the oven door.
- Turn off the oven and allow the meringue to cool completely inside with the door closed for at least 1 hour and ideally overnight to dry and crisp.
How to serve this dessert
Serve your berry pavlova with a light, sweetened whipped cream and some fresh berries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries,or strawberries and even kiwis.
Add a fruit coulis or use the extra egg yolks to make a lemon curd. Sprinkle a bit of icing sugar on top and you have a great summer dessert.
But for a change, here are some toppings to go with your pavlova:
- Homemade whipped cream
- Chocolate ganache
- Chocolate mascarpone whipped cream
- Chocolate sauce
- Crushed hazelnuts or almonds
Tip: Fill and serve your dessert at the last minute to prevent the moisture in the filling from softening the meringue.
Frequently Asked Question
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 with stiff peaks.
Meringue can be stored for a long time at room temperature in a chill place and away from humidity.
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.
More meringue recipes
- Mini pavlova with whipped cream and strawberry
- Chocolate raspberry meringue cookies
- Chocolate ganache recipe
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- Chocolate mousse pie
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