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mixed berry pavlova on white cake stand

Pavlova (A Naturally Gluten Free Dessert)

Pavlova is a meringue dessert that's crunchy on the outside, marshmallow-y on the inside, and as heavenly as it is beautiful!
Print Recipe
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
KeywordGluten Free, meringue, pavlova
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 40 minutes
Servings8 servings
AuthorKim

Ingredients

Meringue

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 220 g or 1 cup plus 2 tbsp superfine (caster) sugar* (see notes)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from one vanilla bean

Whipped Cream

  • 480 ml or 2 cups heavy cream
  • 31 g or ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from one vanilla bean

Strawberry Sauce and Fresh Berries

  • 300 ml or 1¼ cups water
  • 454 g or 16 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 100 g or ½ cup granulated sugar
  • tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups fresh berries (I used strawberries and blueberries)

Instructions

Make the Meringue:

  • Preheat the oven to 265° F. Clean your utensils and bowl with a paper towel dipped in lemon juice or vinegar to remove any greasy residue.
  • Pour egg whites into the mixing bowl of a stand mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Begin whisking on medium low speed, just to break them up. Continue whisking until soft peaks form.
  • Begin slowly adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added. Allow about 20-30 seconds between each addition of the sugar before adding the next. Increased the speed and whisk until stiff peaks form, and you can no longer feel sugar crystals when you rub a little bit of the meringue between your fingers. Add the lemon juice (or vinegar or cream of tartar) and whisk to combine.
  • Remove from the mixer and sift the cornstarch over the meringue and fold throughout. Dump onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and shape into a round that's about 4-6 inches high, using a large spatula. Create a crater in the middle and then use a smaller angled spatula to create texture along the sides.
  • Bake the pavlova for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 210° F and continue to bake for 90 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven until the oven is fully cooled, at least one hour (you can also leave it in the oven overnight).

Make the Strawberry Sauce

  • In a small bowl, add 2 tbsp cold water. Sprinkle gelatin over the cold water and let sit while you simmer the strawberries.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the frozen strawberries (no need to thaw), sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook until strawberries are soft and broken down somewhat, 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and add the gelatin mixture to the hot berries. Stir to melt completely. Blend, using a hand blender or a regular blender, until smooth. Strain sauce through sieve into another bowl. Pour the still hot sauce into the berries and stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whip the Cream

  • In a medium bowl with a handheld mixer (or in a stand mixer), whisk the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until firm peaks are achieved (when the cream holds its shape and creates "peaks" when the beaters are lifted).

Assemble the Pavlova and Serve

  • Pavlova needs to be assembled right before serving, within a maximum of only a couple of hours. My suggestion is to bake the meringue the night before, or at least early in the morning of serving. The fruit and sauce can be combined and stored in the fridge for up to one day. Whip the cream right before assembling. Assembled pavlova cannot be refrigerated because the meringue will soften and the cream will not hold up.
  • Serve by cutting into triangular slices like you would a layer cake.

Notes

*you can make your own caster (superfine) sugar by whirling regular granulated sugar in a food processor for about 30 seconds.