Mango Smashed Pavlova with Mango Curd and Passion Fruit. The best dessert you will make this summer. Or any summer.
I LOVE Pavlova. It just might be my absolute favorite Australian dessert recipe. Crunchy, creamy, marshmallowy, sweet and the options for toppings are endless. And it is super easy to make too.
I want to thank the amazing people of Australia and New Zealand for the invention of the Pavlova and the ballerina whom it was named after.
I have made pavlovas many times, mostly in the traditional form, where it is piled into a circle and formed into a tall cake like structure. This time I wanted to go a bit more easy to make with a smashed pavlova.
After being baked and cooled the middle is filled with sweetened whipped cream, curd, fresh fruit etc. Curd is a must with pavlova. The tart offsets the sweetness of the meringue and cream really well.
For this smashed pavlova I went with a somewhat freeform oval of scoops of meringue. I went with approximately a little smaller than the size of the platter I wanted to use for the finished pavlova. Make yours in whatever size you want, round or oval. I use a large batter scoop, a #12 size, for the meringue scoops.
It is larger in surface area than a traditional round pavlova so make it according to whatever platter or plate size you have. You can even serve it on a baking tray if you like. Easier clean up when using less plates and dishes!
The pavlova bakes and cools completely in the oven. This way the meringue sets and the middle stays soft and marshmallow like. That marshmallow center is the key to an amazing pavlova.
Once cooled and dried and ready to serve I smash the pavlova slightly with the back of a large spoon. Just enough to crack it, but not smash into smithereens. Smashed a little more than what is seen above.
Then comes the fun part. Spooning on giant blobs of sweetened whipped cream, spoonfuls of tangy mango curd, some tart, fresh passion fruit. Thin slices of mango ribbons, some sliced strawberries and fresh mint.
For the mango I cut off the sides close to the seed, cut off the peel then thinly sliced. If you have pretty firm mangoes you could use a vegetable peeler to make the slices or ribbons. My mangoes were pretty ripe and the vegetable peeler just mushed the mango. Not nearly as pretty.
Pavlova are always topped with sweetened whipped cream and a curd. I used my mango curd for this pavlova. You can make my mango curd recipe for the pavlova, make it the day before the pavlova since it needs time to chill and set up.
What ingredients are in a Pavlova?
- EGG WHITES - you want a cup of egg whites, I use large eggs. Separate when cold, much easier to keep yolk out of the whites. The whites need to be room temperature. Save the yolks for ice cream or curd. You can separate the eggs a day ahead of time if making the curd on day one and the pavlova on day two. The curd takes only a few egg yolks so you will have some yolks leftover from the pavlova.
- CASTER SUGAR - This is a must since the finer grained sugar melts into the egg whites while whipping. This finer grain sugar helps keep the egg whites from deflating since it doesn't weight them down. You can find caster sugar at any grocery store baking section - it usually comes in a carton similar to a half gallon milk carton. You can also find it online. I use C&H brand.
- VANILLA EXTRACT - just a little bit to enhance the meringue flavor. Too much and it will change the meringue color. You want the pavlova as white as possible.
- CREAM OF TARTAR - Just a little bit of cream of tartar to help stabilize the egg whites. This is added in with the egg whites with a little bit of salt at the beginning of whipping. Before the sugar is added. I use both a little cream of tartar and vinegar for stabilizing the egg whites.
- KOSHER SALT - just a pinch. Salt balances out sweetness in any baked good. I used Diamond brand.
- WHITE VINEGAR - white distilled vinegar. Not champagne or white wine. A little acid is needed to keep the egg whites from deflating. I add this in at the end of whipping. It gets gently folded into the fully whipped meringue. Vinegar along with cream of tartar helps keep the air in the egg whites so the pavlova stays nice and light.
What toppings go on Pavlova?
If you go for a more winter themed pavlova berries and chocolate work well too. A cranberry curd would be excellent. So would winter citrus with a lemon curd.
Another summertime version would be great with a variety of blueberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries and some jam swirled into the cream.
I would love to make a summertime stone fruit version with peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries. That is if we don't eat all the fruit first.
A few more notes about this Mango Smashed Pavlova with Mango Curd and Passion Fruit recipe first:
- The pavlova can be made ahead of time in parts. The meringue can be made up to two days ahead, kept in an air tight container. Any moisture in the container the meringue will get soggy fast.
- Traditional pavlova is cooled in the oven with the door close so it won't get any cracks in the shell. I crack the door for this smashed pavlova since we are going to be cracking or smashing it on purpose and it cools faster this way.
- I have experimented with different oven temps, starting at a higher temp then lowering, super low around 190-200 Deg f and I finally settled on 250 Deg F. I find this temp bakes the pavlova evenly without browning and too much cracking.
- Make the mango curd the day before. Save the whites to use for the pavlova. I suggest weighing out the egg whites with a food scale. Same with the sugar. Using a food scale is way more accurate than the scoop method of measuring.
- Bring the egg whites to room temp before making the pavlova
- Check to make sure the pavlova isn't browning before the hour is up. If it is changing color too quickly lower the oven temp immediately. 250 deg C should be just fine to cook the meringue in around an hour and still remain pretty white.
- Serve the same day you assemble the pavlova. You can keep in an airtight container in the fridge if you have leftovers, but the meringue will be soft.
Mango Smashed Pavlova with Mango Curd and Passion Fruit
For the Pavlova:
- 1 cup egg whites room temperature (6-7 large egg whites/225ml)
- ⅛ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 ½ cups caster sugar super fine sugar/330g
- 1 Tablespoom cornstarch 10g
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream 350ml
- ¼-1/3 cup confectioners sugar powdered sugar/icing sugar/ 25g-45g
- 1 teaspoon vanila extract
- 1 cup mango curd 225 ml
- 1-2 mangoes peeled and thinly sliced (around 2 cups of slices)
- ½ cup fresh passion fruit 6 or so fresh passion fruit
- Strawberries (as many as you like thinly sliced
- Mint - for garnish
- Heat oven to 250 Deg F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar for 3 minutes on medium high speed until starting to form soft peaks. Lower the speed, then slowly add in the sugar until completely mixed in. Raise the speed and whip until stiff peaks and the egg whites are very glossy, about 6-7 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape off the meringue form the whisk. Sprinkle the cornstarch, vanilla and vinegar over the top and fold in with a spatula.
- Take a little of the meringue and place it under the 4 corners of the parchment to stick it to the baking sheet. Take a large scoop or spoon and scoop large rounds of meringue in an oval onto the baking sheet.
- Bake for one hour until dry and set and just barely starting to turn from white. Turn the oven off, crack the door a little with a towel and leave the pavlova in the oven until completely cool, around three hours.
- While the pavlova is cooling whip the heavy cream and a fourth a cup of the confectioners sugar and the vanilla extract together until soft peaks. Taste and add more sugar if a sweeter cream is desired. Whip again until almost soft peaks. Keep chilled until ready to use.
- When ready to serve slide the pavlova onto a serving plate, carefully removing the parchment. You can slide a thin spatula between the pavlova and paper to gently separate. Gently smash the meringue mounds with the back of a large spoon.
- Scoop the sweetened cream on top of the pavlova in any way you like, followed by spoonfuls of the curd, don’t cover the meringue completely, just spoon it over randomly.
- Decorate with the mango slices, spoonfuls of the passion fruit, sliced strawberries and sprigs of mint. Serve immediately. Best served same day it is made. The pavlova won’t be crunchy if refrigerated overnight or even for a few hours. It will still taste good, but won’t have any more crunch.