Pavlova - A delicate Meringue Shell with Fresh Berries

Pavlova – A Delicate Meringue Shell with Fresh Berries!

Pavlova is one of my husbands favorite desserts! In fact, I usually make this for him on his birthday instead of cake! Just a word of advice…Before making this delicious dessert for your family, I encourage you to teach them about table manners. (I mean, how NOT to lick their plates at the table!) Pavlova is really easy to make and will impress your guests if you serve it at a dinner party. The shells can be made ahead of time (even the day before) so the only thing you will need to do before serving is to spoon some fresh, sweetened berries over the top. (If you want to, you could add a dollop of fresh whipped cream!)

This recipe will make six – 4″ circles (or 6 servings.)

Start by preparing a piece of parchment paper as shown. I draw the circles, around a large drinking glass with a pencil, then put the parchment (pencil lines down) onto the baking sheet – you will still be able to see the circle through the parchment, but the pencil lines will not come into contact with the meringue.)

Parchment paper for Pavlova

Here’s what you’ll need:

3 egg whites (at room temperature)

pinch of cream of tartar

dash of salt

3/4 c. granulated sugar

Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar on medium speed until frothy. Turn the speed to high and slowly sprinkle in the sugar. Continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. This may take several minutes. (See in the photo below how the peak stands up by itself.  This means it is stiff enough…)

Stiff Meringue for Pavlova

Divide the stiff meringue into 6 equal portions and spread into circles on the parchment using the pencil lines as your guide (remember, the pencil lines are face down.) They should be about 1/2″ thick in the middle. I like to create a thicker ridge around the outer edge.

Meringue Shells - ready to bake

Bake in a preheated 200° oven for 2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave them in the oven for 4 hours or more. (I usually just leave them in overnight with out disturbing them.)

Baked Meringue Shell

When they are finished, they will be crispy on the outside. Keep in an airtight container until serving time.

To serve, top with your choice of sweetened fresh berries and whipped cream!

My brother and sister in law make a large version of this recipe (they call “Cardenal” – which is a Salvadorian dessert.) They spread a large amount of the stiff meringue onto 2 separate, parchment lined baking sheets and bake them. Then, at serving time, they add berries onto the first big rectangle of the crispy meringue and place the second big meringue on top. Add more berries and finally, whipped cream on top.  It creates an impressive, giant layered dessert. Then it’s cut into squares and served. (They use 2 dozen egg whites – 12 egg whites per baking sheet.) Baking directions are the same.