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Pavlova with Fresh Berries

A pavlova with fresh berries on a wooden table outside.
Australia's favorite dessert was named after ballerina Anna Pavlova by a chef who wanted to create something “as light and ethereal as the dancer herself.” He achieved it with this meringue crust topped with whipped cream and an assortment of fresh berries.
Karen Morgan

Prep 30 mins
Cook 50 mins
Total 1 hr 40 mins
Dessert
American
12 servings
299 kcal

Ingredients 

For the meringue

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 6 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the whipped cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 cups mixed fresh fruit such as blueberries, blackberries, red currants, red or green gooseberries, strawberries, and/or raspberries

Directions 

Make the meringue

  • Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and use a pencil to trace a 12-inch round on the paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and cornstarch until smooth.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they begin to froth and turn opaque. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the sugar mixture in 1/2-cup increments. Immediately add the vinegar, return to high speed, and beat until stiff peaks form, at least 2 minutes.
  • Pour the boiling water into the egg whites all at once. The egg whites will swell up. Beat the egg whites until the water is totally incorporated, stopping once to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Reach for a rubber spatula and carefully fill in the base of the traced circle with some of the meringue. Continue to add the meringue, fashioning fancy swoops and swirls, until you to have a thick layer that sort of resembles a cake. Bake the meringue for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 200°F (93°C) and bake for 40 minutes more.
  • Remove the meringue from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let it cool completely. Once cool, gently remove the parchment paper by rolling it out from under the meringue. Take care as the meringue will be very delicate.

Make the whipped cream

  • In a large, deep bowl, beat the cream until it begins to hold its shape. Add the sugar and the vanilla and almond extracts. Beat until soft peaks form.

Assemble the Pavlova

  • Carefully spread the whipped cream in a thick layer over the top of the meringue, and top with the mixed fresh fruit. Serve at once, presenting it at the table and then cutting it into wedges. 

Notes

Pavlova With Fresh Stone Fruits

During stone-fruit season, you can easily substitute sliced peaches or nectarines for the berries. Simply toss them with a little lemon juice and a teaspoon or so of sugar to prevent them from turning a dingy shade of brown.