This classic strawberry Pavlova is a foolproof dessert that never fails to impress! Sweet and light meringue topped with whipped cream and fresh, juicy strawberries will have your guests coming back for more!
Happy Monday and happy new week! I hope you all had a lovely Easter break and enjoyed many goodies during the holidays? We've been absolutely spoiled with gorgeous weather and temperatures reaching up to 26 C during Easter weekend!
As you can imagine, we do not get this sort of weather that often in the UK, especially this time of the year! So it was only fair to spend as much time as possible soaking that sunshine in the pub garden, or just outdoors in general, with many BBQ's and sauvignon blancs! It made us feel like Spring skipped straight into Summer. And all of the sudden, I've been craving summery desserts and all the ice cream I could get my hands on!
Classic strawberry Pavlova- the best summer dessert!
OK, so Pavlova is good to enjoy at any time of the year really, not only in the summer. But most of us will associate this sweet meringue topped with juicy, seasonal berries with warm days and al fresco dining. It's light, airy texture makes a perfect dessert to enjoy on a hot day, when the hot pudding is the last thing you fancy. Strawberry Pavlova is easy to make and can be prepared well ahead, allowing you to enjoy your time anywhere else but the kitchen (especially on a hot day!). Plus, first, British strawberries of the season are popping out and this dessert is a great way to celebrate the return of these juicy berries!
How to make strawberry Pavlova?
The process, just like the ingredients, is rather easy and uncomplicated. Meringues are nothing more than egg whites and white sugar, but there are some other ingredients that can be added, to achieve different finishes. Classic Pavlova will have crisp crust and soft, light inside, and to succeed in that, the addition of vinegar and cornflour is a must. To make the meringue, start with whisking the egg whites on a low speed until the stiff peaks are formed.
Stiff peaks is the stage when whites are whisked until peaks form and point straight up. You should be able to hold your bowl upside down without the whites falling out. After that, you are good to start adding the sugar (gradually!),remembering to whisk well between each addition.
Cornflour, vinegar and vanilla are added at the end, before the final whisk. Once incorporated, the meringue is ready and good to bake. Simply transfer it onto the baking tray lined with baking parchment. Drawing a circle on the baking parchment can help to keep an even shape, but it's totally optional.
How to bake the Pavlova?
Generally speaking, the meringue should be baked slowly, at low temperature/ heat. That way, the mixture will hold its shape and become crisp. If you have traditional oven, 120C will be the ideal temperature, where for the fan assisted ovens it will be 100C. Place the meringue on a lower shelf inside of the oven. Let the Pavlova bake for 1.5 hours and then turn the heat off, but leave the meringue in the oven to cool completely. You know it's baked well when the baking parchment comes off from the bottom very easily.
Useful tips for making strawberry Pavlova
Although the recipe and instructions are quite simple, there are few things to watch out for. The below tips should help you to ensure great results every time!
- fat is the enemy when whisking the egg whites! It stops the air pockets forming properly, so make sure there is no trace of yolks (made from fat) in your whites and your utensils and bowl are squeaky clean!
- Add sugar very gradually and whisk the whites back to the original stiffness before adding more. If you tip in the sugar too quickly it will cause the meringue to collapse!
- Use metal or glass bowl rather than plastic
- Don't skip the vinegar and cornflour! Adding vinegar (or lemon juice) to egg whites help stop the mixture from collapsing and makes the meringue chewier in the middle. Incorporating cornflour stops drops of moisture appearing, which can happen when you bake meringues at a very low temperature.
If you are looking for a vegan meringue recipe, you can check out my Vegan Berry Pavlovas post
- 4 large eggs (whites only)
- 250 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp cornflour or arrowroot powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 500 g fresh strawberries
- 300 ml double cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 110 C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment and using a large dinner plate as a guide, draw a circle with pencil onto baking parchment. Set aside.
- Using a handheld electric mixer, start beating the egg whites on low speed, until they start to form stiff peaks. Increase the speed to medium/ high and begin to add 250g of caster sugar, 1-2 tbsp at the time until the meringue looks glossy.
- Add 1 tsp of cornflour or arrowroot powder, 1 tsp of white vinegar and 1 tsp of vanilla and whisk again. Spread the meringue inside of the circle creating a small well in the centre. Bake in the oven for 1.5 hour, turn off the heat and let the meringue cool off completely inside of the oven.
- In a meantime, mix 200 g of fresh strawberries with 1 tbsp of icing sugar and add it to the food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Push the mixture through a sieve into a small jug.
- When the meringue is cool, whip 300 ml of double cream with 1 tbsp of icing sugar. Top the meringue with whipped cream and strawberries and drizzle with strawberry coulis.
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- Use metal or glass bowl rather than plastic (they're easier to keep clean and grease-free)
- Make sure to add sugar gradually. If you add it all too quickly, the structure will collapse!
- Frozen, defrosted egg whites will work well in this recipe
- Unfilled meringue can be frozen and stored until you are ready to top it up with cream and strawberries
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