Pavlova with Balsamic Berries and Cream

Truly there is nothing more gorgeous and delicious than a pavlova and this one that I made yesterday for Mother’s Day was absolutely perfect if I do say so myself. We took this over to my in-laws for dinner and it was a huge hit. I planned to get some pictures as I put it on the platter, but of course things were a little crazy and I only had time to snap these two. I really hate that I don’t have a picture of the meringue before I topped it because it was so perfect. There wasn’t a crack in sight.

What I love about a pavlova is that you get a lot of bang for your buck. They look so amazing even if they don’t turn out perfectly, so they are great for gatherings where you really want to wow your guests, but not wear yourself out or your empty your wallet. I actually made my first pavlova ever last year for mother’s day because I saw one on a magazine cover and I just had to have one. I’ve lost track of how many I’ve made over the last year, but enough that I now feel like I’ve perfected the recipe and method. I really think that for this dessert it’s almost more about the method than the specific ingredients that you mix together to create the meringue.

After making these for several months I felt I had a winning recipe in terms of taste, but I was still having varied success making a meringue that was stable and didn’t crack or crumble to bits. Then I ran across this Pavlova post last December from that has lots of great tips on how to achieve the perfect meringue and it was a game changer. I use my own recipe, but follow these tips for ensuring that it comes out perfectly. And it does. Every. Time. Even on super humid, rainy days like it was here on Saturday when I made this one.

I like to top mine with a subtly sweet whipped cream and a mixture of fresh berries. For this one I mixed in a little raspberry balsamic vinegar with the fruit. I know I’ve already said this, but it was absolutely delicious.


Print Recipe
Pavlova with Balsamic Berries and Cream
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 1/2 hours
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
For the meringue
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lb berries approximately
  • 2 Tbsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 1/2 hours
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
For the meringue
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 lb berries approximately
  • 2 Tbsp raspberry balsamic vinegar
Instructions
To prepare the meringue
  1. Heat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a circle on the paper using an 8- or 9- inch cake pan as a guide (or use Nagi's tip to just use the bottom of a springform pan - genius!) Turn the parchment over so the pencil mark is facing down if you go that route.
  2. Combine egg whites and salt in a large bowl. Begin beating at low speed and then slowly increase to high. Beat until soft peaks begin to form, then gradually beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time until the meringue is stiff and the peaks are shiny.
  3. Gently fold in the cornstarch, white-wine vinegar and vanilla. Then pour in a mound on parchment inside the circle and spread out to fill the circle. Flatten the top slightly and smooth it as much as you like. I personally like to see some peaks and valleys in the finished meringue. Place in oven, and immediately reduce heat to 240 degrees fahrenheit. Bake 1 hour 30 minutes. Turn off heat and allow meringue to cool completely in oven or leave overnight for best results.
To prepare the topping
  1. Combine the berries and balsamic vinegar in a mixing bowl and toss gently. Cover and let the flavors marry for about two hours in the fridge or at room temp for 15 minutes.
  2. Pour the cream and sugar into a large bowl. Beat on high until the cream is smooth and holds peaks.
Assemble the pavlova
  1. Carefully peel the meringue off of your parchment and place on serving dish. Top with whipped cream and berries. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

I always bake the day before I plan to eat this and leave it in the oven overnight. I think this is especially important if you live in a humid region.

Don't let the pavlova sit with the topping for more than about 30 minutes or it will get soggy on you.

Most recipes call for superfine sugar. I always just use regular sugar and it works out fine.

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