Strawberry Pavlova is a beautiful and romantic dessert with a meringue base, homemade whipped cream, and delicious strawberry topping.
There’s no doubt that Pavlovas make a show-stopping Dessert, but as long as you follow a few easy directions, the meringue base and toppings are quite easy to make. For more delicious meringue treats, try Baked Alaska and Lemon Meringue Pie.
Table of contents
Sabrina’s Pavlova Recipe
This delicious recipe for Strawberry Pavlova starts with a fool proof meringue recipe! It’s broken into easy to follow step by step instructions plus there are helpful tips and everything you need to know to make this dreamy dessert. It’s the perfect dessert during the holidays and special occasions when you want to wow your guests!
It starts with a simple meringue-making process for a crispy meringue base with a chewy, delicious marshmallow center. As it’s baked, you toss some strawberries with a little balsamic vinegar and vanilla and prepare homemade whipped cream. The baked meringue has a slight indentation that you fill with the homemade whipped topping, then top the whipped cream with strawberries and their sauce. It’s delicious and gorgeous and something any home cook can master!
- Egg whites: The key to making a light, airy meringue is whipping egg whites together. By blending the egg whites with salt and powdered sugar, you get a sweet fluffy mixture. It bakes into a white, sugary base that melts in your mouth.
- White Vinegar: The white vinegar helps create a pillowy, soft marshmallow center. You could also use lemon juice for a tasty lemon flavor.
- Cornstarch: Adding cornstarch to the whipped meringue is an easy way to help it maintain its form and keep it from sinking.
- Strawberries: You’ll want to use just fresh strawberries for the topping because the bright juicy berries look gorgeous and keep a firm texture soaked in vinegar.
- Balsamic vinegar: Adding a bit of balsamic vinegar into the strawberry mixture contrasts with the sweet flavors for a more robust taste to the whole dessert.
- Whipped Cream: Fluffy, delicious whipped cream is easy to make with some heavy cream and powdered sugar. You can also add a little splash of vanilla if you want to add some more flavor.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Baking Pan: We like to use a springform pan because the latch release makes shaping the meringue mixture and removing it from the pan really easy with clean lines.
- Beaters: This is not really a dessert you can make without a stand mixer or at least handheld electric beaters. You need the fast speed to whip the egg whites properly, first into soft peaks then into stiff peaks.
How to Make
Time needed: 2 hours and 15 minutes.
- Prep Work
Begin this recipe by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Egg White Mixture
Add the egg whites and kosher salt to your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, turn the electric mixer onto its lowest speed. As it mixes the egg white mixture, slowly raise the speed higher. Continue to beat until soft peaks form. This means that when you lift the beater out, it pulls the egg whites into a peak. But, the soft peak should fall over.
- Beat in Powdered Sugar
Add the powdered sugar to the mixer ¼ cup at a time, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. The stiff peaks will remain standing up when you pull the beater out. Add cornstarch to a strainer and dust it over the egg whites. Stir the cornstarch in gently. Then add a few drops of vanilla extract and the vinegar.
- Fill the Baking Pan
Take the ring from a springform pan and place it on the baking sheet. Then transfer the meringue into the springform ring. Gently lift the ring off of the pan. The meringue should stay in a circle. Then you can use a rubber spatula to smooth the sides and gently flatten the top. Flattening the top slightly makes it easier to add the whipped cream topping later.
- Baking Process
Put the baking sheet in the oven, and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees. That way, the temperature is slowly decreasing as the Pavlova bakes. Bake for 75 minutes, then turn off the oven completely. Let the Pavlova continue to cool in the oven. Removing it from the heat immediately causes it to crack.
- Prepare Balsamic Strawberry Sauce
While the Pavlova is baking, slice the fresh strawberries into quarters. Then add the strawberries to a large mixing bowl with powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and balsamic vinegar. Let the Strawberry mixture sit while the Pavlova cools.
- Beat the Whipped Cream
Add heavy whipping cream to your stand mixer. Start at the lowest speed, and move to a higher speed. Add the powdered sugar when the cream is almost firm. Then keep beating until the whipped cream is firmer.
- Assemble and Serve
Once the Pavlova is cooled, gently lift it from the baking sheet and put it on a serving platter. Be very careful as you transfer it so as not to crack it. Using the back of a spoon, gently press down on the center of the Pavlova to make a well. Add the whipped cream to the top, then finish with the strawberry topping. Cut the Strawberry Pavlova into wedges to serve.
Can Pavlova be made ahead of time?
You can make the meringue base up to 2 days in advance. Once the pavlova has cooled, you can put it in an airtight container to store in your pantry until you’re ready to top and serve it. Just don’t add the whipped cream and other toppings until you’re ready to serve the airy meringue dessert.
Baking Pavlova Tips
Prevent Cracked Pavlova
A little cracking is perfectly normal, but you don’t want it to completely fall apart or split. The most common reason for your Pavlova cracking is if you try to cool it too quickly. If the meringue cools too fast, the center shrinks, causing it to collapse in on itself and crack over the surface. To prevent this, leave the Pavlova in the oven as it cools, rather than taking it out to cool at room temperature.
Change up the Toppings
We’ve added an amazing strawberry topping, but the simple, creamy base goes with all kinds of flavors. Try it with Easy Pineapple Topping for a different fruit topping or add Hot Fudge Sauce to add a bit of chocolate. You could also add different varieties of fresh berries, fruit compotes like Blueberry Jam or chocolate shavings over the whipped cream.
How to Store
Serve: You don’t want to leave your Strawberry Pavlova out for more than 2 hours. If you made the Pavlova ahead and are hoping to store it, wait to add the whipped topping and strawberries until you serve it. Let the Pavlova slowly cool as usual. Transfer it to an airtight container with the lid carefully sealed. Keep it in a dry, cool place in your pantry for up to 2 days. Do not put your pavlova in the fridge.
Freeze: You can also seal your Pavlova and freeze it for up to 3 months. Keep in mind it’s pretty delicate, so you don’t want to stack anything on top of it. Also, it’s best to freeze just the baked meringue and then top with fresh fruit and whipped cream when you serve it.
While pavlova is made with a crisp meringue base, it is different from a regular meringue. The pavlova base is crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Basic baked meringue on the other hand is crispy all the way through and dry.
A pavlova meringue base tastes like a crispy marshmallow that is lightly sweet with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. This recipe also has a tangy, fruity strawberry topping and creamy sweet whipped cream.
- 1 pound strawberries , cut into quarters
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the egg whites and salt to a stand mixer.
- Start on the lowest speed setting, as it thickens raise the speed higher.
- Beat until soft peaks form (when you lift the beater attachment it should pull up the egg whites, to be a soft peak, the top of the peak will fall over).
- Add in the powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time and keep beating until it forms stiff peaks (this means when the beater is lifted the egg in the bowl will stand straight up).
- Dust in the cornstarch using a small strainer all over the egg whites.
- Stir in gently, then add in the vanilla and vinegar.
- Add the ring from a springform pan to the baking sheet (if you don’t have a springform pan using a pencil draw an 8″ circle with a pencil and turn the parchment paper over so the pencil doesn’t transfer onto your pavlova).
- Add the meringue to the springform ring then lift the ring out gently and smooth gently with a spatula, flattening the top a bit too (this makes it easier to top with whipped cream if the middle of the pavlova is flattened).
- Put the pavlova in the oven, then reduce heat to 300 degrees.
- Cook for 75 minutes, then turn off the oven.
- Do not remove the pavlova or it may break, let cool completely in the oven.
- When the pavlova goes in the oven, make the balsamic berries.
- When the pavlova is cooled gently lift and put the pavlova on a serving platter.
- To a large bowl add the strawberries, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and balsamic vinegar.
- Let sit while pavlova cooks and cools.
- Add the heavy cream to a stand mixer, starting with low speed and moving to higher speed.
- When the cream is almost firm add the powdered sugar, then keep beating until whipped cream is firmer.
- Using a spoon, gently press down in the center of the pavlova to make a well.
- Add the whipped cream to the top of the pavlova, then top with the strawberries.
- Spoon strawberry liquid over the berries.
- Serve in wedges.
Lemon Pavlova: If you want to make a tartly flavored Lemon Pavlova, you can start by adding a few drops of lemon juice into the Pavlova mixture. You can also add a bit of lemon zest if desired. Instead of strawberries, top the whipped cream off with a dollop of Lemon Curd.
Mini Pavlovas: Instead of making a large Pavlova that you have to cut into wedges, you can make delicate mini meringues. You can pipe the meringue onto the parchment paper into circles about 3 ½ inches wide. Make sure to leave some space between each mini pavlova.