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Stunning Strawberry Pavlova

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Pavlova may seem like a super fancy dessert, but it’s actually very easy to make. It’s basically just a giant meringue. You can make pavlova in any shape, but a heart-shaped strawberry pavlova like this one is so perfect for Valentine’s day!

Pavlova

I learned everything that I know about pavlova from pastry chef Sarah Osborn of the Niche Food Group. I reached out to Sarah to share one of her best Valentine’s Day dessert suggestions that people could easily make at home. When she suggested a strawberry pavlova, I got really excited. I had never made one and I wanted to learn her secrets.

 

What Is a Pavlova?

Sarah and Stef

A pavlova is giant meringue with a little twist.

The difference between a pavlova and a meringue cookie is that just the outside of a pavlova is crispy while the inside is fluffy and marshmallowy; a meringue cookie is crispy throughout.

Because the only ingredients in pavlovas are egg whites, sugar, cornstarch, and vinegar, pavlovas are also gluten-free!

How to Make a Strawberry Pavlova

Whip egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer until stuff peaks form.

You know you have stiff peaks when you lift the whisk up and the egg whites hold their shape. You should see peaks (point) that don’t flop over.

stiff egg white peaks in a stand mixer

Mix together cornstarch and white vinegar until it forms a slurry and then whisk it into the egg whites until you have stiff peaks again.

The addition of vinegar to the meringue gives the pavlova its distinctive texture.

You can shape a pavlova however you like. It’s just a matter of swirling or piping the meringue on a parchment-lined cookie sheet until you are happy with the shape.

To make a heart-shaped pavlova, first divide your meringue into three even dollops on a cookie sheet.

three dollops of pavlova on a cookie sheet

Then, use a spatula to spread together to form a heart.

pavlova getting ready for the oven

Bake until the outside and bottom are solid – about one hour at 200 F.

Once the pavlova cools, it’s time to decorate. When decorating with strawberries, macerated strawberries are always the way to go.

Macerating strawberries is a method of bringing out the natural juices in the berries and making them sweeter and glossy.

Toss strawberries in a bowl with a little bit of sugar. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Strawberries in a bowl with sugar

When you take the strawberries out of the fridge, you’ll see that they are glossy and that they are sitting in some liquid. (You’ll want to strain the liquid from the berries in this case because adding it will hurt the structure of the pavlova.)

a bowl of glossy macerated strawberries

Top the cooled pavlova with the macerated berries, regular or chocolate whipped cream, and some sprinkles!

Best Tips for Making Strawberry Pavlova

  • Make sure that the egg whites reach stiff peaks. If they aren’t holding their shape, keep on whisking.
  • Experiment with different shapes. I love the the look of the heart, but you can make circles, squares, or stars… whatever you can dream up!
  • Add as many berries as you like. While there aren’t that many berries on my pavlova heart, you can load the pavlova up with as many berries as you like and even serve some on the side!
  • If needed, you can bake the pavlova a day in advance and decorate the next day.

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Pavlova
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5 from 1 vote

Strawberry Pavlova

This strawberry pavlova is crispy on the outside and marshmallowy soft on the inside. Shape it into a heart for a beautiful presentation.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword chocolate whipped cream, pavlova, strawberry pavlova
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 266kcal

Ingredients

Pavlova Ingredients

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

Macerated Strawberries Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries

Chocolate Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Instructions

Pavlova Instructions

  • Combine egg whites and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  • Whip on high until stiff peaks form.
  • In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and white distilled vinegar together to make a slurry.
  • With the mixer on low, drizzle the slurry into the whipped egg whites.
  • Mix on high to return whites to stiff peaks.
  • Transfer onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and shape into a heart or any shape you desire.
  • Bake at 200 F until the outside and the bottom have a solid shell, about 1 hour.
  • Let cool and place on desired serving tray.

Macerated Strawberries Instructions

  • Combine the sugar and the strawberries.
  • Cover and keep in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  • Whip until medium peaks form (it should hold a peak well enough to be piped).
  • Dollop or pipe onto pavlova as desired and continue decorating using the macerated strawberries.

Video

Notes

  • Make sure that the egg whites reach stiff peaks. If they aren't holding their shape, keep on whisking. 
  • Experiment with different shapes. I love the the look of the heart, but you can make circles, squares, or stars... whatever you can dream up!
  • Add as many berries as you like. While there aren't that many berries on my pavlova heart, you can load the pavlova up with as many berries as you like and even serve some on the side!
  • If needed, you can bake the pavlova a day in advance and decorate the next day. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Strawberry Pavlova
Amount Per Serving
Calories 266 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 22%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 32mg 1%
Potassium 132mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 33g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 30g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 11.7%
Vitamin C 34.5%
Calcium 3.3%
Iron 1.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Sarah Osborn

Sarah Osborn Blue is the Executive Pastry Chef of Niche Food Group. A St. Louis native, she has been working in kitchens for 12 years. She has been with the Niche Food Group for the last 5 years. She was previously with Boka in Chicago, Illinois, and attended the Culinary Institute of America.

Looking for a heart dessert for your special someone? Try this Pavlova recipe! Pavlova may seem like a fancy dessert, but it is incredibly simple. This giant meringue is so versatile, you can decorate it however you want to!
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