I have several pavlova recipes on this site – it is probably my favorite naturally gluten free dessert and the first one I learned to make when I went gluten free many moons ago. I noticed when looking at my own recipes that I vary the technique from time to time, all with good results but I decided to try to nail down what makes a “perfect” pavlova.
First of all, let’s start at the beginning – what is pavlova? A popular dessert in both Australia and New Zealand, this delicious dessert is a texture lover’s dream come true. Made from whipped egg whites baked in a coolish oven, you wind up with crunchy edges and marshmallow-like innards.
Basically, a pavlova consists of an egg white base, whipped cream, and a fruit topping. I also like to add a sprinkling of chopped nuts occasionally for some additional crunch.
To make the base you need five things, the best egg whites (I always use Nature’s Yoke pastured eggs), sugar or a sugar substitute, acid in the form of cream of tartar or vinegar, corn starch, and pure vanilla extract.
This Strawberry Pavlova is a very basic recipe that you can expand on and make your own! Try different fruits, add lemon, lime, or orange curd, throw some chocolate in there or chopped nuts. Do as the Aussies do and add passionfruit over everything.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Beat the eggs and cream of tartar on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to high, until very foamy. Gradually add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and cornstarch and beat for another minute.
Dump the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and, using the back of a large spoon, spread the mixture out into an 8- or 9-inch circle with an indentation in the middle.
Place in the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees. Bake until the pavlova is firm and dry, about 90 minutes. Let cool completely.
Whip the cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Spread into the center of the pavlova. Top with strawberries and serve.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.