Did you have a good weekend? They always go too fast! While I talk a lot about being ready to usher in fall, I’m trying to soak up this last month of summer… and that includes making all of my summertime favorites in the kitchen. Our strawberries in the garden are pretty much finished, but I grabbed a basket from the farmer’s market over the weekend and wanted to put them to good use. I thought about shortcake, pie, ice cream, and frozen margaritas (ha!) but eventually landed on a light and refreshing favorite: pavlova. We just started carrying cookbooks (and design books) in the Tuesday Made shop, and of course I tested them all before offering them. My hands down, favorite cookbook this summer has been The Home Cook by Alex Guarnaschelli (all of the recipes I’ve tried have been instant favorites). It’s packed full of easy, incredibly delicious recipes, and this particular pavlova recipe came from that book. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to share one last summer treat with you. It has been awhile since my last recipe post- blueberry muffins in January, I believe? Click through and save this one! It’s delectable, super fun to make, and is beautiful as it is delicious. If you’re looking for something impressive to take to the last summer soirée, this is it!
I’ll admit- I did modify the recipe slightly, because I wanted to use my vanilla paste and powder I bought in French Polynesia. Tahitian vanilla felt like a no brainer for this recipe! I’ll share Alex Guarnaschelli’s original recipe and note my adjustments. That’s how I am with cookbooks… I like to get creative and put my own spin on things. I think that’s why I find cookbooks so inspiring and fun to use.
Pavlova with Soaked Strawberries & Vanilla Cream
Soaked Berry Topping
- 1 lb fresh strawberries hulled and halved
- 1 tbsp rapsberry or strawberry jam
- 1 large lemon zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, seeds scraped out
- 1 cup heavy cream
- nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- Macerate the fruit. Put the strawberries and the jam in a medium bowl and sprinkle them with a light layer of lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the red wine vinegar. Add the brown sugar, ginger, and vanilla pod and toss gently to combine all the flavors. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 4 hours.
- Position an oven rack as close to the top as you can. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, draw a 12-inch circle onto it, and turn the paper over. Spray it with cooking spray.
- Make the meringue. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the granulated sugar with the cornstrach. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, blend the egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until the whites hold their shape and the whisk leaves lines in the whites. Lower the mixer speed to medium and start adding the sugar mixture, tablespoon by tablespoon, waiting until each spoonful is incorporated. The meringue should be firm and glossy.
- Bake the meringue. Spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out to fill the circle in an even layer. Bake undisturbed for 45 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes. The exterior of the meringue should be crusty when touched, and the interior should be moist. If it isn't crunchy on the outside, bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
- Whip the cream, assemble, and serve the dessert. Combine the cream and the reserved vanilla bean seeds to the mixer and whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks. Top the meringue with the vanilla cream, followed by the strawberries. Serve immediately.
I substituted the raspberry jam in the recipe for strawberry jam- just because that is what I had available in our kitchen. I think the raspberry would taste wonderful, but the strawberry worked!
I also wanted to note, sometimes I struggle with meringue. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re at a high elevation and the altitude plays a factor, but this meringue recipe is my new foolproof go-to. I was able to whip up stiff glossy peaks in record time. If you’ve ever struggled with pavlova or meringue, I’m here to tell you- this recipe works.
You could probably make the pavlova look really beautiful and take the time to spread the meringue in a fun swoopy circular way- or even pipe it into pretty mounds, but I kind of liked the undone, fuss-free look. I dumped it onto my parchment lined baking sheet, and quickly spread it around with a large spoon. Easy!
The soaked berries are divine! I let mine macerate for 2-3 hours while I ran errands. The lemon zest, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, and fresh vanilla create a flavor profile made in heaven. They have a tartness to them that perfectly pairs with the sweet crunch of the pavlova and the light vanilla cream.
I love vanilla, so I scraped a fresh vanilla bean and used my Tahitian vanilla powder for the whipped cream. The vanilla powder is dried vanilla in a powdered sugar. I like that it added some sweetness to the cream and kicked the vanilla flavor up a notch.
Assembly is the easiest (and most fun) part of the process. After the pavlova cools, spread the vanilla whipped cream, and top with the berries.
This dessert was a serious win in our house and we had enough to share with our neighbors. It’s light, equally sweet and tart, and tastes like summertime.
I also really like the textural differences… the silky smooth vanilla creamy paired with the crunch of the pavlova exterior is very nice!
Are you a fan of pavlova? Have you ever made it? I’d love to hear your favorite summertime desserts, as well as your recent favorite cookbooks! You can catch mine in this post.
SallyAugust 9, 2021 at 3:56 am
I love pavlovas in almost any iteration – the perfect summer pudding that can use almost any fruit available! For those who don’t regularly keep cream of tartar in stock, a teaspoon of white wine vinegar also works beautifully. I would also suggest that caster sugar (superfine in the US?) gives a more consistent result with less chance of not dissolving. If you use the unrefined or golden version of the sugar you get a slightly off-white meringue but it really ramps up the flavour!
SarahAugust 9, 2021 at 8:46 am
They really are the perfect summer treat, Sally! Thank you so much for your amazing tips- I’m noting this, so I remember for the future. It sounds like I need to buy some of the golden sugar and do some flavor testing :) Thanks again for the great pointers! Have a good week.
PeggiAugust 9, 2021 at 6:22 am
Happy Yummy Monday! Your pavlova came out beautiful! As much as I bake, I still can find egg whites intimidating! I learned a genius tip while perfecting my Swiss Meringue Buttercream; clean your bowl and beater with vinegar right before use to ensure not a speck of fat lingers. Miracle! I have only made a pavlova once, but what a berry-licious spectacle it was. The bright white with the vivid berries is a win for me. And the satisfying crunchewiness…why don’t I make them more often? I love that you have added cookbooks to the shop. I think they’re a perfect gift for a cook/baker. I need to go check out the selection! Lots of recipe testing over here, as I’ve agreed to make another wedding cake.🤦🏼 Here’s to a deliciously productive week!💜
SarahAugust 9, 2021 at 8:44 am
Thank you! I never had issues with egg whites until we moved to a high elevation, but this recipe gave me back my confidence. Such a great tip for cleaning the bowl with vinegar- thank you! I’ll definitely try that next time :) We’re going to add some more books and cookbooks to the shop- some of the cookbooks already sold out, so apparently I didn’t order great quantities, but I’m excited to test and offer them! I totally agree that they make great gifts. I’m going to put together some holiday gift sets and include them later this year. You’ve agreed to make another wedding cake?! It’s easy to see why your cake making skills are in high demand! They look so lovely and I’m guessing they taste even better. That’s exciting!! Here’s to a delicious week with fun time spent in the kitchen! xo
LaurenAugust 9, 2021 at 9:25 am
I have never tasted, made or heard of pavlova, but this recipe looks divine!! Sweet, tart, creamy and crunchy?!! I’m so there! I noticed the cookbooks in the shop, and I’m delighted that you’re carrying them. I definitely will be purchasing a little bundle for my dad and stepmom this year: they just renovated their kitchen and a few of the items in your shop would be the perfect addition! Thanks for sharing the recipe; I’ll definitely have to try this out. Happy Monday everyone!
SarahAugust 10, 2021 at 10:21 am
It’s super delicious, and is one of my favorite summertime desserts! I just ordered more cookbooks for the shop, and included a few other favorites I’ve been testing! We should have those live at the beginning of September. I’m so excited we’re able to offer books now! From one book lover to another, it’s fun to try new recipes and they look great styled in the kitchen… it’s a win / win. We’re going to put together some fun holiday bundles later this year that include books. SO appreciate you thinking of my shop for future gifts :) You’re the best! Let me know if you give the pavlova a try. xo
Danna FAugust 9, 2021 at 9:40 am
I’ve never heard of Pavlova! Looks yummy! Anything desert has got my attention! Cookbooks are a weakness for me (along with other kitchen items…ha!) I need to peruse yours in the store. Hope your Monday is productive.
Danna FAugust 9, 2021 at 9:41 am
By the way, I was so bummed to miss out on the water color race horse print in your shop. Whoever acquired it is lucky! The dog print looks great in your bath.
SarahAugust 10, 2021 at 10:17 am
All of the art went so quickly! I had no idea people would snap those up so fast. That was one of my favorite prints! Another blog reader snagged it for her daughter’s room, who competes in equestrian events. So sweet! Here’s to hoping I can find some more amazing vintage horse art. I almost kept that one for myself. Haha :)
SarahAugust 10, 2021 at 10:18 am
It’s so delicious! It’s a nice light treat for summertime- and a great use of berries! Cookbooks are also my weakness. I have way too many, but I enjoy using all of them. I hope you’re having a great week so far, Danna! xo
RhondaAugust 15, 2021 at 4:19 pm
Pavlova is a dessert that originated in my country of birth! Both Australia and New Zealand (I’m a New Zealander) like to fight over who came up with the delicious recipe. We both claim it as ours, and no one really knows. It was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Fitting don’t you think? Christmas (summertime downunder), birthdays, weddings, you name it, would without fail have pavlova on the dessert menu. The beauty of the dessert is that if the merengue cracks and sinks after cooking you can always cover it up with cream and fruit and no one would ever know! For the fruit topping you are limited only by your imagine. I love mango and passionfruit. Or a mix of summer berries. Yum! Thanks for trying our dessert, from a homesick kiwi in Washington xx
SarahAugust 16, 2021 at 4:15 pm
I learned something new today, Rhonda! Thank you so much for taking the time to share. I have heard of Anna Pavlova, but had no idea the dessert was named after her. That definitely seems fitting! It really is such a gorgeous, easy (forgiving), and delicious dish. I’ll certainly be making more. Here’s to hoping some recipes from home can help to cure your homesickness. Hang in there! :)