Vanilla Bean Pavlova
The Pavlova. It’s been on my baking to-do list for years and decided it was finally time to give it a go. If you aren’t familiar with pavlovas, they are a meringue-based dessert. The pavlova gets its name from Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. They bake up with a nice crispy meringue shell, but on the inside, the pavlova is soft and marshmallow-like. It’s just dreamy!
This was actually my first pavlova ever, my first for eating and making it. Although I don’t have a gold standard pavlova to compare it to, I was SO pleased with the way this pavlova turned out. From my very first bite, I was in love and now I want ALL of the pavlovas! I adore the texture of the crispy outside and the marshmallow-y inside.
This pavlova is studded with vanilla beans and then topped with homemade vanilla whipped cream and then a fresh berry compote on top! I am loving this pavlova as a summer dessert over a heavy cake because it’s nice and light. I also found it quite easy to make, but it looks really impressive and like it would have taken a lot of effort to make so make it for your next dinner party! The other thing I really love about a pavlova is that you don’t have to have any artistic baking skills. In fact, the thing will crack and break and it doesn’t matter because you are going to top it with whipped cream and berry compote!
One important thing to note with this recipe is that I recommend making it the day before you plan to serve it. It takes some time to cook and then you really need to let it cool overnight. I made the meringue/pavlova itself and the whipped cream (stored separately) the day before and then just whipped up the berry compote about 30 minutes before serving and then spread the whipped cream and compote on top. When you first read through the recipe, it may seem like a lot of steps and work, but I promise you it is not difficult!
Vanilla Bean Pavlova
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
For the pavlova:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
For the vanilla whipped cream:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the berry compote:
- 1 1/3 cups frozen mixed berries (or any blend of berries you prefer)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the meringue/pavlova:
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (Alternatively, you can use an electric hand mixer.). Beating on low speed, then gradually increase the speed to medium.
- Once the egg whites have reached soft peak consistency, begin adding the sugar mixture a few tablespoons at a time, waiting a few seconds between each addition. Gradually increase the speed up to the maximum as you add the rest of the sugar mixture. Continue beating until the meringue holds stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and vinegar over the meringue. Beat for another 30 seconds to combine.
- Use a spatula to transfer the meringue onto the center of the parchment paper to form a circle. Working from the center out, spread the meringue to fill about a 9-inch circle.
- Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. The outside should be dry to the touch. Let the pavlova cool completely, at least 2 hours. Don't worry about it if cracks form or if some pieces break apart! Wrap in saran wrap and let sit on counter overnight (do not refrigerate).
For the whipped cream:
- For the whipped cream, add the heavy cream and vanilla to a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high for 3 to 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.
- Add the powedered sugar and beat for 30 seconds. Set aside or if making ahead, store in an airtight container until ready to use.
For the berry compote:
- Combine the berries, sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to a gentle boil for about 10 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken. Let cool for at least 30 minutes.
- Assemble the pavlova. Carefully transfer the meringue to a serving platter. Spread the whipped cream on top, followed by the compote. Slice and serve!
Meringue recipe from The Kitchn