These mini pavlova, topped with ZK’s popular cranberry curd and an assortment of citrus spiked with allspice, are the ideal dessert for the holidays. Elegant and customizable, this crowd-pleasing and individualized dessert is not only easy to make but can also be prepared ahead.
Strikingly beautiful and ethereal, pavlova can seem intimidating to make. But I promise, one look at the recipe and you’ll see how easy it is to whip these up.
If you’re throwing a holiday party for more than a few then this gorgeous and delicious dessert is definitely the way to go. The best part? You can let your guests assemble their own mini pavlova. Offer a few toppings and a variety of sauces for a stunning dessert bar in no time!
Toppings ideas for pavlova.
- Curd (lemon, orange or cranberry)
- Whipped cream
- Tropical fruit (mango, kiwi, passionfruit, coconut flakes)
- Citrus fruit
- Fresh herbs (mint, lemon thyme)
- Chocolate shavings
- Chocolate sauce
- Dash spice
- Pavlovas and their toppings can be fairly simple, so a sprinkling of spices right at the end is a great way to add flavor as well as enhance flavors of the other ingredients.
Can pavlova be made ahead of time?
The beauty of pavlova, whether you’re making one large pavlova or a batch of individual ones, is that the base meringue can be made ahead of time. And when it comes to feeding a crowd it just doesn’t get better than that.
Store baked and completely cooled meringue base in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Meringue does not keep well in humid air (it starts to weep), so be sure your container is sealed well.
Once meringue base is topped, it’s best to enjoy right away or soon thereafter. Do not top meringue base and plan to save for later. The whipped cream or curd and fresh fruit will cause the meringue to weep.
Can pavlova be stored in the refrigerator?
Pavlova should not be stored in the refrigerator. If stored in the refrigerator, pavlova will lose it’s characteristic crisp exterior, because again, it will begin to weep (whipped eggs are finicky).
What is pavlova made of?
Pavlova is a layered dessert made of a crisp meringue base topped with whipped cream (classically), fresh fruit, and often some sort of fruit sauce (curd in the case of this recipe).
The meringue base itself is made mostly of sugar and egg whites with the addition of vinegar and cornstarch—both of which help to create a chewy, marshmallowy texture on the interior.
What should the inside of pavlova be like?
Unlike a crisp meringue cookie, the meringue base of a pavlova should have a crisp exterior—thanks to a high ratio of sugar to egg white—and a chewy, marshmallow-like inside. Don’t let the crisp meringue imposters fool you, in order to qualify as a pavlova, the interior of the meringue must be chewy, that’s why it’s so good!
What does pavlova taste like?
One more reason why I love pavlova. You can flavor the meringue base however you like, and you can top it with whatever tickles your fancy. You never have to have the same pavlova twice—the options are endless.
The base of pavlova is pretty dang simple—I mean it’s egg whites, sugar, cornstarch and vinegar—which means it’s a blank canvas that you get to play with. (My favorite kind of playing!) And since there are no competing flavors you can ensure that whatever you add will have a chance to stand out and make a statement.
For this recipe I wanted to keep it simple yet bold, which meant just a couple of high-quality ingredients. I opted for a hearty splash of pure vanilla extract and a touch of cardamom. I’m a cardamom lover—to say the least—so after a few tests of overly spiced meringues it was determined that I only needed a sprinkling of cardamom.
But here’s the thing.
It all depends on the quality of your ingredients. Any old bottle of ground cardamom that’s been sitting on a store shelf for who-knows-how-long and then in your cupboard for who-knows-how-long will not pack the same kind of punch as a fresh jar of good-quality cardamom.
And if you've ever watched Ina Garten on the Food Network, or read any of her recipes, you may be annoyed at the repetition of “good olive oil” or “good this,” and “good that.” But what’s even more annoying is that she’s 100 percent right.
Using quality ingredients makes a world of difference in home cooking. And if you’re going to go to the trouble of cooking something special, wouldn’t you want it to be as flavorful as it’s meant to be?
That’s why I always seek out high-quality spices like Simply Organic. Aside from fat and salt, they’re most often the flavor powerhouses of any recipe. And for me Simply Organic is one of the only brands that I can always count on for the freshest, most flavorful spices.
Here’s to the season of joy.
A large part of the holidays for me is spent in the kitchen cooking for, or with, loved ones. And it doesn’t go unnoticed, but not in the way you’re thinking. G regularly mentions that when visiting my family, he hardly gets the chance to sit down and catch up with my mom, sister or I. Why? Because all we do is spend time cooking.
I can only speak from experience, and maybe the lack of “hang out” space at my parents has something to do with it, but the kitchen has always been the gathering place for my family. It was always where my friends and I congregated as teenagers, and it’s still where my family prefers to relax and catch up—uncomfortably dining chairs and all.
However, the time my mom, sister and I spend in the kitchen isn’t just about cooking, because if it was, we could be in and out of there in probably an hour. But what’s the fun in that?
For us it’s about pulling up a stool and flipping through one of Mom’s new cookbooks or chatting about my sister’s breakfast quinoa porridge she’s been perfecting for a week. Sure we talk about the big stuff, and the small stuff, but when The Feedfeed and Simply Organic asked me how I cook for joy it became apparent how simple my answer was. I cook because it brings people together.
I’m curious—how do you #CookforJoy during the holidays? Leave a comment below if you’re interested in sharing, I love hearing from you all!
For the meringue:
- 1½ cups sugar (10½ ounces)
- ¾ cup egg whites (6 ounces from 5–7 large eggs)
- 1½ teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
- 1½ teaspoons Simply Organic pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon Simply Organic ground cardamom
For the toppings:
Heat oven to 250° with racks set in upper and lower thirds. Using a 3½-inch cutter or bowl, trace 6–7 rounds on each of two sheets of parchment paper. Transfer parchment paper to baking sheets, traced-side down.
Combine sugar and egg whites in the (metal) bowl of a stand mixer. Set bowl over a saucepan filled with 1 inch of simmering water, making sure water doesn’t touch bottom of bowl. Heat sugar mixture, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture registers 160–165°, about 6 minutes.
Secure bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and whip mixture on high speed until stiff peaks form and meringue bright white, smooth and glossy, about 4 minutes; scrape down side of both.
Whisk together vinegar, cornstarch, vanilla, and cardamom in a small bowl. Add vinegar mixture to whipped meringue and whip on high speed until combined, about 10 seconds.
Using two spoons, scoop meringue into the center of each round. Using a spoon, spread meringue to fill circles then create an indentation in the middle of each circle.
Bake meringues until exteriors are dry and crisp, pale and slightly creamy in color, and cleanly release when gently lifted with a thin spatula, 50–55 minutes.
Turn off oven, prop open door with a wooden spoon, and let meringues cool in oven for 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To serve, gently toss together citrus and allspice. Spoon a heaping tablespoon or two of cranberry curd into center of each meringue then layer about ⅓ cup citrus mixture on top of curd, top with pomegranate arils and sprinkle with just a touch of salt; serve.
- Meringues will keep for up to 3 days stored in an airtight container.
- 2 pounds of citrus should yield about 4 cups (⅓ cup citrus per mini pavlova).
What equipment you’ll need for this recipe:
- Stand mixer
- Baking sheets