Pavlova is a surprisingly unique dessert. It’s not at all what you expect and manages to satisfy a lot of cravings with one package. It’s delicate, sticky, fluffy, creamy, crispy–strawberries tie the whole thing together.
A pavlova is basically a giant meringue cookie topped with whipped cream, so of course, it’s layers of deliciousness! Here’s the thing though, these pavlovas are spectacularly easy and a bit rustic. They’ll impress just about anyone and are naturally gluten-free.
If you own a Kitchenaid stand mixer, this dish will take very little time to prepare. Just make sure you are careful when separating the yolk from the egg whites. Any yolk or fat that gets into your mixture will prevent the egg whites from getting fluffy. I suggest separating the eggs over one bowl and storing the already separated egg whites in a separate bowl so that way if you mess up 1 egg, you don’t have to toss the other ones.
As you can see, my meringues have expanded nicely during the baking. Don’t they look like little fluffy clouds?
These rustic pavlovas get topped with maple whipped cream and strawberries. The meringue adds a nice bit of crunch and the flavor of a toasted marshmallow with a soft chewy center.
The meringues get baked slow and low (heat)–that’s the trick. You can see the texture up close when my video camera takes a nose dive straight into the meringue. Dammit!
Pavlova with Strawberries and Maple Whipped Cream
- 4 eggs, whites only
- 1 cup organic cane sugar or maple crystals
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons organic cornstarch
- 1 pint organic heavy cream
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
- 1 pound (16 oz) strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced
- Preheat oven to 300°. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- In a kitchen aid or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites. Beat until stiff but not dry. Gradually add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Then use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the vanilla, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
- Use the spatula to drop 4 individual portions 2 inches apart onto the parchment paper and gently smooth the top. Alternatively, create 1 large pavlova and use a spatula to smoothe the top.
- Bake 45-50 minutes until slightly golden brown. Note that the cooking time may take up to 1 hour depending on how thick you make each pavlova. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream with 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup just until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat or the cream will turn to butter.
- To serve, spoon the whipped cream over each pavlova and top with sliced strawberries.
Note: The idea with beating the egg whites is to incorporate as much air into the protein structures as possible. When a recipe calls for “folding,” this means to slide a spatula under the mixture and fold it upon itself without stirring. This way, you won’t deflate all those nice air pockets you have worked hard to create. A “stiff peak” is when the egg whites stand up in a point, without folding over.