Pavlova is a baked meringue dessert that is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. This Pavlova makes for an elegant dessert with chocolate ganache, soft whipped cream, and fresh raspberries!
The shell is baked at a low temperature so that the outside of the shell sets and gets crisp, while the center stays soft and marshmallowy.
It is traditional the smooth the meringue in a pavlova shell out somewhat thin- usually 1-2″ in height. However, I really love the look of a tall pavlova. Zoe of Zoe Bakes popularized this style and I think it looks so classy!
How to Make a Pavlova
The style of meringue traditionally used for large baked shells is French meringue. This style makes a shell that is very melt in your mouth. And it is also the easiest style to make!
Step 1: Whip the Egg Whites to Soft Peaks
Start with only the egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla, and salt into the mixing bowl. Whip at medium speed until the whites are starting to hold some air and are at soft peaks. It is important to do this without the sugar at first so that the foam will be as stable as possible.
Note: The cream of tartar will help to stabilize the meringue, but can be substituted for lemon juice or white vinegar.
Step 2: Gradually Add the Sugar
Once the egg whites are holding soft peaks, you can start very gradually adding the sugar while continuing to whip on medium speed. Add the sugar about 1 tbsp at a time, waiting for a few seconds between each addition to add the next.
Once the sugar has all been added, you can continue whipping the meringue to stiff peaks. It should stand up tall on the whisk.
Step 3: Shape the Meringue Shell & Bake
Spread all of the meringue out on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Then use a rubber spatula to make a smooth dome.
Now take an offset spatula and hold it vertically and pull it up all around the sides of the meringue, creating a tall shell. Create an small well in the center of the top for your fillings.
Once your shell is shaped, you will bake it at a low temperature until it is set and crisp.
Step 4: Top Your Shell
I topped my pavlova with a soft whipped cream and a rich chocolate ganache. I also added some fresh raspberries on top to add some tartness to cut the sweetness.
- Can I make pavlova ahead?: Yes! You can make it 1-2 days before serving and keep it in an airtight container after completely cooled. If you live somewhere very humid, it isn’t ideal to make it ahead.
- Why do you add vinegar or cream of tartar to meringue?: Acidic ingredients help stabilize the meringue so that it doesn’t start weeping.
- Why did my pavlova shell crack?: This can sometimes happen if they shell cools too quickly. It is very common and not a sign of a bad pavlova. The texture will still be great, don’t stress about it!
For the Pavlova Shell
- 4 egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (200 gr) sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp powdered Sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
For the Ganache
- 2 oz semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- pinch of salt
For the Pavlova
- Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla extract on medium speed until you have soft peaks.
- Continue mixing on medium speed and begin adding the sugar 1 TBSP at a time, waiting about 15 seconds before the next addition. Once all the sugar is added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the meringue is holding stiff peaks.
- Lightly spoon the cornstarch over the top of the meringue and fold it in with a rubber spatula.
- Gently pile the meringue onto the parchment paper in one large mound. Use an offset spatula to smooth over the meringue into an ant hill shape making an indent in the center to hold the toppings. It does not need to be perfect, some swirling looks quite nice.
- Using your offset spatula, gently swipe from the bottom up around all sides of the meringue. This will give your shell some height.
- Bake for 90 minutes. The outside should feel dry and firm but the inside will be soft and moist. Turn the oven off, leave the door shut, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven for at least 2 hours. It can also stay in the oven for longer- up to overnight until you are ready to assemble.
- Just before serving gently place the meringue on your serving plate. Top with whipped cream, ganache, fresh raspberries and mint.
For the Ganache
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering and almost boiling. Meanwhile, put the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl.
- Pour the cream over the chocolate chips and let it sit for about 2 minutes.
- Put your whisk into the center of the bowl and begin whisking from the center working your way out until the ganache becomes smooth.
- Add a pinch of salt and whisk in.
For the Whip Cream
- Combine the cream, vanilla extract, salt and powdered sugar into a bowl. Whisk gently until combined. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, turn the mixer on to full speed and whip the cream to medium to stiff peaks. I like to go a little softer than stiff peaks as it pairs nicely with the meringue if it's a little softer.