I’m super excited about this post! I’ve been wanting to make a pavlova for so long. I’ve seen these all over food magazines and IG and I think they just look so gorgeous. But before I began creating this recipe, I was curious to understand why sometimes it was called meringue and other times a pavlova. I discovered that a pavlova is a type of meringue, it has cornstarch and vinegar added whereas a normal meringue only consists of eggs and sugar. It was quite interesting digging into the history of a pavlova as it was created in honor of a Russian prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova, in 1926. The vinegar is added to help stabilize the egg whites while the addition of cornstarch is to help the egg whites from overcooking to maintain the internal fluffiness of the dish. The perfect pavlova will be crispy and crunchy outside, but fluffy and soft inside. I think this is why I love baking so much – my day job is in the health science realm and baking is basically science with food!
Before we start making the pavlova, I will warn you that it could be a bit tricky. It’s best to use a stand mixer, but a hand mixer will suffice. Use glass or stainless steel bowls when whipping up the egg whites; plastic bowls are porous and can retain oils. And every bowl and utensil needs to be absolutely clean and dry. Even the smallest trace of oils can deflate the egg whites and ruin everything. So wash and wash again to ensure all the tools you’re using are spotless and 100% dried.
So you’ve made the pavlova and after a few hours of sitting, it looks like it’s leaking. Sadly, this can happen sometimes. It happened to me a couple of times too. I panicked the first time; I wasn’t sure what was going on and in my brain I went, “OMG, did I not cook the eggs thoroughly? Will I get sick since I ate it? WILL I DIE?” The answer is no, Sandy, you’re overreacting. The liquid is just syrup from the pavlova and the reaction is called “weeping”. Something happened either (1) during the meringue whipping process and the sugar didn’t mix thoroughly, (2) it needed to be baked/dried out longer in the oven, or (3) there’s too much moisture in the air. YES, TOO MUCH MOISTURE WILL RUIN YOUR MERINGUE. Who knew? Fortunately, weeping pavlovas don’t taste differently. So if you notice the pavlova is sad and weeping (hehe), you can try to pop it back into the oven and dry it out a bit more. However, if you plan to just devour it… then do just that very quickly.
I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that my desserts tend to be on the less sweet side. I don’t like overly sweet confections. Let’s also face it, a pavlova is 99% eggs and sugar. I needed to add another element to it that would tame the sugar down a tad. Enter my favorite dessert companion: lemons. From the egg yolks leftover from the meringue, I whipped up a lemon curd that was sandwiched between the pavlova and whipped cream. I love the tartness of the lemon curd and it pairs very nicely with the sweetness of the pavlova.
1 On cre
Pavlova with Lemon Curd
- 4 egg whites
- 6 ounces sugar
- 2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- Lemon Curd
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 egg
- 4 lemons, zested
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 pound unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 180F.
- Step 2 On a sheet of parchment paper, draw an 8″ circle as the outline for the pavlova. Flip parchment upside down, pencil marks down, on a half sheet.
- Step 3 In a mixer bowl, whip the egg whites until firm peaks form.
- Step 4 Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar and whip again until firm peaks form. Then add the rest of the sugar and whip again until firm peaks form. Do not over-whip the meringue.
- Step 5 Sift the cornstarch on top of the meringue, add the white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and fold into the egg whites.
- Step 6 Pile the meringue onto the sheet inside the drawn circle.
- Step 7 Bake for 90 minutes. Once the 90 minutes is done, without opening the oven door, turn off the heat and keep the pavlova in the oven for another 60 minutes.
- Step 8 While the pavlova is baking, make the lemon curd by creaming the butter, sugar, and lemon zest.
- Step 9 Add the egg yolks one at a time, plus the extra egg. Finally add lemon juice and salt.
- Step 10 Pour lemon mixture into a saucepan. Stirring constantly, heat over low heat for 10-15 minutes until mixture is thickened.
- Step 11 Place in fridge to cool.
- Step 12 Whip the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks.
- Step 13 Transfer the pavlova to a serving dish and carefully peel away the parchment paper. There may be cracks in the pavlova – this is normal.
- Step 14 Top with lemon curd, then whipped cream. Finally add desired seasonal fruit and/or herbs.