This pavlova recipe is all about achieving that perfect range of textures, where velvety dollops of whipped cream top a crisp, delicate meringue shell made extra crunchy by the addition of nuts of poppyseeds before baking. Technique is key here: Heating the sugar before beating it into the egg whites creates an extra-glossy, stable meringue and using a wooden spoon to prop the oven door open just a smidge while the meringues cool helps ensure they won’t collapse. A few cracks are common, simply cover them with the whipped cream and berries—or, passion fruit and mango, if you prefer tropical fruit flavors instead. Yielding 12 individual meringues, this recipe is ideal for those of us who are tired of loved ones trying to hog our dessert: everyone gets their own.
Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published on June 23, 2015.
Makes about 12 Servings
large egg whites
Pinch of cream of tartar
teaspoon kosher salt
vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
cup chopped almonds, walnuts, or pistachios, and/or 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
ounces raspberries and/or blackberries (about 6 cups), divided
cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350°. Scatter sugar in a shallow baking dish and bake 10 minutes. After 8 minutes, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl until foamy.
Remove sugar from oven and decrease temperature to 200°. With the mixer running, gradually stream sugar into egg whites. Add salt and beat until stiff peaks form and bowl is barely warm to the touch. (Heads up: This can take as much as 10 minutes with a stand mixer and up to 20 minutes with a handheld mixer.) Scrape in vanilla seeds, reserve pod for another use, and beat just to combine.
Scoop large spoonfuls of meringue onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets to make 12 mounds. Make a slight indentation in the center of each mound with the back of the spoon, pushing out to create 3″-diameter rounds. Top the border of meringues with nuts and/or poppy seeds, as desired.
Bake meringues until dry and firm, about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Turn off oven and use a wooden spoon to prop door ajar. Let meringues cool completely in oven.
Do Ahead: Meringues can be made 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Combine sugar and 2 cups berries in a medium bowl and mash together with a fork until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bright in color and pourable.
Whisk cream in a medium bowl to medium peaks. Spoon whipped cream into centers of meringues, top with remaining berries, then drizzle with sauce.
Do Ahead: Berry sauce can be made 4 hours ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature.