Mini Pavlova with Strawberry Curd is a light and fluffy, meringue-based dessert that features fresh strawberries!
If you've never had a Pavlova, it is definitely time to try one!
Don't be intimidated by these seemingly delicate puffs of deliciousness! They're actually easy to make and are the perfect for a special occasion or holiday!
What is Pavlova?
Pavlova is a baked meringue dessert, typically served with a fresh fruit topping. It's a little crispy on the outside, and nice and fluffy on the inside - kind of like a marshmallow on the inside.
This French meringue is named after the Russsian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, and was supposedly developed by Australia during her visit to the country in the 1920's; however, there is controversy about its origin because New Zealand claims that they developed the Pavlova dessert. So while those folks argue over "who created it," I'll just go on record saying it's delicious and surprisingly easy to make!
One of the most popular Pavlova recipes is from British chef Mary Berry, whose Christmas Pavlova Wreath recipe is still a show-stopper today!
Why this recipe works
Pavlova is based on making a French meringue, but here's the deal: you've been making this French merignue all along and probably didn't even know it! All it is is egg whites and sugar, beaten to a stiff peak! In a stand mixer, it takes about 4-7 minutes, so don't freak out or panic at the thought of making a meringue!
- Simple ingredients - nothing fancy or complicated
- Quick and easy - make the strawberry fruit topping ahead of time
- Make one big Pavlova or mini Pavlova's - your call
Note: Do NOT attempt to make Pavlova on a humid or rainy day. The egg whites are fussy in damp conditions and you'll be disappointed. Wait for good weather:)
What you'll need
If you're making the strawberry curd, make it first and reserve the egg whites for the Pavlova
Ingredients for the Pavlova: egg whites, granulated sugar, white vinegar, vanilla extract, cornstarch and a pinch of salt - that's it!
Ingredients for the strawberry curd: a pound of strawberries, unsalted butter, sugar, egg yolks, lemon juice and pink food coloring (optional)
Equipment: You'll need a hand or stand mixer for the Pavlova and a fine-meshed strainer and food processor or immersio blender for the strawberry curd.
Why is there vinegar in a Pavlova?
At first glance, you may wonder "why is there vinegar in it?" First of all, you cannot taste the vinegar. Second, the vinegar is an acid that acts as a stabilizer for the egg whites so they'll puff up in the oven and won't collapse.
Other types of acids that work in the same fashion are cream of tartar, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar.
How to make Pavlova
You can make one big egg white dessert or several mini ones! If you make one big one, use a springfoam pan.
You'll need to place parchment paper in the pan or on the baking sheet, butter the parchment and lightly flour it.
This ensures your Pavlova easily releases.
Scroll down to the recipe card for details and be sure to read the recipe notes
- Beat egg whites on medium setting for a minute or two until frothy
- Gradually add in sugar and salt
- Add vinegar and vanilla extract; continue to beat on medium until stiff peaks form
- Lightly sprinkle cornstarch over mixture; fold in with a spatula
- Place pavlova mixture in prepared springfoam pan or into a piping bag; pipe 3"inch circles; use the back of a spoon to form an indention in the pavlova
- Bake @ 250°F for 30 minutes; do NOT open the oven door during this time
- After 30 minutes, turn overn off and let the Pavlova rest in the oven for 1 hour - Do NOT open the oven door during this time
How to prevent Pavlova from cracking or collapsing
- Do not attempt to make this on a humid or rainy day. If you do, it will be sticky.
- This is a baked meringue dessert, so it inherently will crack a little. Here's how to prevent MAJOR cracking
- Beat the egg whites on medium or medium-high speed but NOT ON HIGH! If you beat them on high speed, that puts too much air into the mixture and it will crack big time.
- Low oven temperature - 250°F is the highest you want your oven; anything over this temperature will cause the pavlova to crack and or collapse
- Do not open the oven door during the baking or resting times. The quick change in temperature will cause the desserts to change shape and texture.
- Store in a cool area, but NOT in the refrigerator. Most refrigerators are 40°F and that's too cold; just cover with plastic wrap and keep in a cool area
How to tell when it's done
If your oven is "iffy" or unreliable, try your best not to open the oven door too many times to check for doneness. If you MUST check the Pavlova, the best way is to gently lift it from the baking pan. If it lifts easily, then it's done.
Storage and make ahead
For best results, make the strawberry topping ahead of time (up to 3-5 days in advance.) Place the fruit topping in a bowl and place plastic wrap directly onto the curd; then cover the bowl with another piece of plastic wrap. This ensures the strawberry curd doesn't form a film on top.
Make the Pavlova 1-2 days in advance. Store in a cool area (not in the refrigerator) lightly covered with plastic wrap.
When ready to serve, let the fruit mixture sit at room temperature for a few minutes
There are a lot of Pavlova recipes out there that feature different fruits and berries! You can top this marshmallow-like dessert with just about any kind of fruit - raspberries, blueberries, sliced kiwi - you name it! Use your imagination and go for it!
- Cream Puffs
- Puff Pastry Hand Pies
- Gelatin-Free Fresh Strawberry Sheetcake
- Easy No-Bake Lemon Icebox Pie
- Orange Creamsicle Icebox Pie
Pavlova with Strawberry Curd
- Stand or hand mixer
- Food processor or immersion blender
- Fine mesh strainer
- Parchment paper and baking sheet
- Piping bag , optional
- 3 large egg whites See recipe notes
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- butter for coating parchment paper
- flour for dusting parchment paper
Strawberry Curd Ingredients
- 12 large strawberries , finely chopped See Recipe Notes
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- pinch of salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 drops light pink food coloring , optional
Make the Pavlova
- Prep:Chill a glass mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 15 minutesPreheat oven to 250°F; place parchment paper on baking sheet; coat with butter then lightly flour; shake off excess flourbutter for coating parchment paper, flour for dusting parchment paper
- Add egg whites to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until they get foamy or frothy See Recipe Notes3 large egg whites
- Continue beating at medium speed and gradually add sugar and salt¾ cup granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon table salt
- Add vinegar and vanilla extract and continue to beat until the egg whites form stiff peaks1 teaspoon white vinegar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sift the cornstarch over the egg white mixture and fold in with a spatula1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Place mixture in piping bag with ¼ - ½"inch tip; pipe onto prepared baking sheet in 3" inch circles; See Recipe Notes
- Take the back of a spoon and make a small indention in the center of each meringue, gently pulling the spoon up to form a little "cup"
- Bake @ 250°F for 30 minutes on the middle rack; do not open the oven door during this time; after 30 minutes, turn oven off and leave the meringue cups in the oven for 1 hour (do not open the oven door during this time)
Make the Strawberry Curd
- Rinse, dry and chop strawberries into small pieces12 large strawberries
- In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt butter; once butter is melted, add chopped strawberries, sugar, salt, egg yolks and lemon; continue to stir about 10 minutes until curd begins to thicken; if you're adding pink food coloring, do it now12 large strawberries, 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, ½ cup granulated sugar, pinch of salt, 5 large egg yolks, ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 2 drops light pink food coloring
- Pour mixture into food processor or use immersion blender to break up the strawberries
- Strain mixture: place fine wire strainer over medium bowl; pour strawberry curd into strainer and press with a spatula
- Place plastic wrap directly on the strawberry curd and refrigerate until thoroughly cooled (if you're going to serve it immediately, place the bowl in an ice bath to expedite the cooling process)
Assemble the Pavlova
- Place mini pavlova on serving plate; drizzle a spoonful of strawberry curd into each meringue cup, top with a fresh strawberry and serve