Simple Berry Pavlova

berry pavlova on a cake stand with fresh mint

If you can whip egg whites you can make a stunning berry pavlova, it’s the perfect summer dessert. The meringue is crisp on the outside, soft and marshmallowy inside, mounded with whipped cream and mixed berries. Doesn’t get any better, or easier.

berry pavlova on a cake stand

a berry pavlova is elegant and rustic at the same time

Imagine the most delicious soft vanilla marshmallow with an ultra- thin crispy crust that shatters when you cut into it. Pavlovas are essentially large meringues made from sweetened beaten egg whites that are baked low and slow until they are crisp on the outside and soft and all plushy inside. Top that with whipped cream and fresh fruit, and you’ve got a pavlova. Yes they’re show stoppers, but they’re not at all difficult or fussy to assemble. There’s no right or wrong way to present one, and in fact they should be perfectly imperfect for best effect.

berry pavlova with forks

what you’ll need for a summer berry pavlova

  • egg whites ~ you’ll want them to be at room temperature for best whipping volume.
  • sugar ~ granulated sugar is traditional, I like to use baker’s or superfine sugar, which dissolves quicker.
  • cornstarch ~ cornstarch will absorb any excess moisture and stabilizes the meringue.
  • lemon juice ~ the acid also helps stabilize the whipped egg whites. You can substitute white vinegar.
  • vanilla extract ~ I use it in the meringue and in the whipped cream
  • heavy cream ~ whipped cream makes a luxurious base for the toppings.
  • mixed berries ~ I used raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and cherries (technically not a berry, but hey.) This pavlova will be just as fantastic if you only use one type of berry ~ the only requirement is that they must be fresh.
assembling a mixed berry pavlova

how to make and assemble a pavlova ~ it’s easy!

Once you realize how easy this elegant dessert is to make, you’ll do it often, trust me.

  1. Whip your sweetened egg whites to stiff peaks and spread into a large flat round on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  2. Form an indentation in the center with a back of a spoon, where your fillings will go later.
  3. Bake for 90 minutes in a 250F oven.
  4. Turn off the oven when the timer sounds, and leave the meringue in the oven with the door closed for another hour.
  5. To the cooled meringue with sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries.
  6. Dust with powdered sugar and/or drizzle with a simple fruit sauce if desired.
  7. Assemble your pavlova just before serving for best texture. You can have all the elements ready in advance. Keep the meringue on the counter, the whipped cream in the fridge, and combine them at the last minute…otherwise the moisture in the cream will start to soften the crisp crust of the pavlova.
fresh fruit on a pavlova meringue

berry pavlova and meringue faqs

What’s the difference between a pavlova and a meringue?

Both are made with sweetened whipped egg whites, but meringues are usually crisp throughout, and a pavlova is crisp on the outside, soft and marshmallow-y on the inside. Pavlovas usually bake at a slightly higher temperature for a shorter time which gives them that lovely contrast in texture.

Do I need a stand mixer to make this?

No, you can use hand held electric beaters, too. I do recommend some sort of electrical assistance because you’ll need to whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.

Stand mixer with whipped egg whites for a pavlova

Is meringue safe to eat?

The meringue for pavlova is made with raw eggs which are safe to eat when cooked to at least 160F. We cook our pavlova for 90 minutes at 250F so the eggs are safe to eat. If you are still concerned you can use powdered eggs whites or pasteurized eggs.

What is the cornstarch and lemon juice for?

Cornstarch serves to absorb any excess moisture in the meringue and keep it from weeping in humid conditions. The acid in lemon juice helps to stabilize the meringue. (Substitute white vinegar too.)

Can I make pavlova ahead of time?

It really depends on how humid your environment is. In a dry climate I have made meringues up to several days ahead, but in a more humid kitchen they will not stay crisp. Keep the pavlova on the counter, do not refrigerate and do not freeze.

Can I make mini pavlovas?

Yes, just spoon out your meringue into small piles and smooth them out into individual circles. The baking time will be a little shorter.

mini pavlovas

How do I make my pavlova crisp?

The longer you bake the meringue, the crisper it will be. Spread it out thinly on your baking sheet for crisper results.

How do I get my pavlova soft and chewy inside?

Shorter baking time and a taller, thicker meringue will yield soft chewy results, just the way I like them, too!

Resist the urge to check on your pavlova while it cooks!

Pavlovas cook at a very low temperature, so opening the door to peek can have a big effect on the interior heat.

How do I know when my meringue is done?

Gently lift the bottom of your meringue off the parchment paper, if it lifts off easily, it’s done. The surface should be dry and matte.

Why did my pavlova crack?

Cracking is a natural feature of meringues, and nothing to stress about. I think rustic cracks make the pavlova all that more appealing. It shows the crisp outer texture and hints at that amazing interior!pavlova topped with whipped cream

Why did my pavlova turn brown?

If your oven heat is too high, or you cook it too long, the surface of the meringue may turn golden. The taste will not be affected, and a little color is to be expected.

How do you serve a pavlova?

I like to slice it just like a pie, although it usually won’t cut super cleanly. Just go with it, it’s part of the pavlova charm!

serving a summer berry pavlova

more recipes for summer berries

berry pavlova on a cake stand with fresh mint
Print
5 from 7 votes

Berry Pavlova

If you can whip egg whites you can make a stunning berry pavlova, it's the perfect summer dessert. The meringue is crisp on the outside, soft and marshmallowy inside, mounded with whipped cream and mixed berries.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 248kcal
Author Sue Moran

Equipment

  • stand mixer or electric beaters

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar Note: I used Baker's sugar which has a finer crystal and dissolves easier, but that's not necessary.
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cornstarch, sifted

topping

  • 1 cup sweetened whipped cream, or more to taste
  • assorted fresh berries
  • confectioner's sugar

easy berry sauce

  • 1/2 cup your favorite berry jam
  • water to thin

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 250F (an oven thermometer is a great tool to have in case your oven is not calibrated correctly) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a balloon whisk attachment and beat until foamy. With the mixer going, add the salt and then slowly add the sugar, very slowly. Add the lemon juice and cornstarch and then let the mixer go on high until the whites are stiff and glossy. This might take anywhere from 3-5 minutes.
    beaten egg whites
  • Pile the meringue onto your parchment lined baking sheet and spread out into a disk, about 2 inches thick. Use the back of a spoon to create a slight depression in the center where we'll pile the whipped cream and berries later. Note: the meringue will not change its shape in the oven, so the way you shape it now will be exactly how it stays.
    egg whites shaped into a disk for pavlova
  • Bake the meringues for 90 minutes, and don't disturb while baking. Then turn the oven off and leave the meringue to cool in the oven, for another hour.
    baked meringue on baking sheet
  • Remove the meringue from the oven and keep at room temperature until ready to assemble and serve your pavlova.
  • To make the fruit sauce, mix jam with enough water to make a thin sauce, then strain.
  • Assemble the pavlova just before serving ~ pile the whipped cream in the center.
    topping meringue with whipped cream
  • Top with your berries.
    meringue topped with berries
  • Drizzle with fruit sauce, if you like, then dust with powdered sugar. A few mint leaves add a nice touch if you have them.
    berry pavlova on a cake stand

Cook’s notes

If you want to go all out and make a fresh fruit sauce for your pavlova, see my raspberry sauce recipe here. Almost any berry can be used in this way.

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 47mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 69IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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10 Comments

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    Please rate this recipe!




  • Reply
    Carolyn Kotler
    July 11, 2021 at 8:49 am

    5 stars
    Made this and followed recipe exactly. It came out great. It was devine and will make for company from now on.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 11, 2021 at 8:59 am

      I’m thrilled Carolyn, you’ll be able to change it up so easily for different seasons.

    • Reply
      Carolyn Kotler
      July 11, 2021 at 10:12 am

      5 stars
      My son loved the Pavlova so much he added mini Pavlovas to the menu at his Manhattan restaurant!

  • Reply
    Mary
    July 9, 2021 at 5:39 am

    5 stars
    I had to make this, as we had just come home with the biggest blueberry haul ever the same day you posted this recipe. I couldn’t believe how easy it was, and impressive looking, too. Blueberry smoothies are our traditional First Treat every year in blueberry season, but now we have pavlovas, too. It did get me wondering how it would turn out with less sugar, and after discussing that with a friend I was excited to get an email from her later with a link about how far down you could take the sugar in it without compromising the beautiful, delicate-crispy outside gooey-soft inside. Next year we will continue our new tradition, but with less sugar to assuage our sugar-guilt! Thanks, Sue, for another intriguing and fun recipe! Yours is the first email I read; you have so many wonderful recipes.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 9, 2021 at 5:49 am

      I’m so happy to hear this, most people don’t realize how crazy easy these are. I’m jealous of your berry haul 🙂

  • Reply
    Linda Teskey
    July 5, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Do you think I could use Stevia instead of sugar….

  • Reply
    Lola
    July 3, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Hi Sue, quick question, I’m thinking about making individual meringues and you had mentioned they would take less time, do you know how long? Since I can’t open the oven to peek just wanted your expert opinion. Love pavlova!! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      July 3, 2021 at 9:58 am

      Actually it’s not that much shorter, depending on how you like them. If you like them marshmallowy inside, then I’d bake for about an hour and 15 minutes.

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