I LOVE Pavlovas and this Vanilla Pavlova with vanilla bean whip, passion fruit curd and pineapple boba is my most favorite version that I have made to date. Light, marshmallowy and not too sweet, it’s a perfect dessert for any time of year.
Pavlovas have an interesting history. Apparently it is quite the controversy down under on where it was originated; New Zealand or Australia. According to the Oxford English Dictionary: The Pavlova -a dessert made of meringue with fruit and cream – was named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited both countries in the 1920s. (Source:BBC)
Professor Helen Leach, a culinary anthropologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand, has compiled a library of cookbooks containing 667 pavlova recipes from more than 300 sources. Her book, The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History, states that the first Australian pavlova recipe was created in 1935 while an earlier version was penned in 1929 in a rural magazine. (Source:Wikipedia)
The Australian website “Australian Flavour” gives the earlier date of 1926 for its creation, suggesting that Home Cookery for New Zealand, by Australian writer Emily Futter, contained a recipe for “Meringue with Fruit Filling”. This recipe was similar to today’s version of the dessert. Personally I am just glad it was invented. By far one of my favorite desserts to make and eat, no matter what the origin.
My favorite Australian cookbook author, Donna Hay, not only has gorgeous recipes on her website and magazines, but they are some of my biggest inspiration for my food photography and food styling. I love her bright and airy look to her photos and her pavlovas are my absolute favorite. She makes them look like a cloud like pillow you could just sleep on. Or slice and eat.
Pavlova’s are pretty simply flavored. Usually as is or add in some vanilla or even cocoa powder to make chocolate flavored. I love vanilla pavlova so I added in vanilla extract to the meringue and a large amount of vanilla bean paste into the whipped cream. I love seeing the little flecks of vanilla bean in the whipped cream.
Cracks in the sides of the pavlova are ok, probably means I either beat the egg whites too long or over-baked a little. My oven stays really hot once it’s turned off and I forgot to crack the door open for it to cool down faster. I noticed more cracks appeared an hour after the oven was turned off than right when I turned it off. The cracks don’t bother me but if you want a pavlova free of cracks make sure the meringue isn’t over beaten and that it doesn’t over bake.
I love to top my vanilla pavlova with a generous amount of whipped cream. You can see here there is almost an equal ratio of cream to pavlova filling. The passion fruit curd I made for the topping comes from my friend Sam’s blog. Drizzle and Dip. She is a blogger from South Africa and has amazing recipes and photos as well as stunning photos of her culinary travels. The vanilla pavlova calls for 6 egg whites and often with meringue dishes that use all egg whites you have leftover egg yolks. Sam’s passion fruit curd calls for 6 yolks so there is no wasting of the yolks in this recipe. Her recipe also makes 2 cups of this incredible curd and it freezes well if you don’t use it up all at once.
The one fun topping for this vanilla pavlova is pineapple boba pearls. Little boba pearls filled with pineapple juice that pop when you bite them. You can often find them at frozen yogurt or shaved ice cream shops. Bubble tea shops too, but those use tapioca pearls more than these popping boba pearls. I figured I could add them to this dessert from down under in honor of the Australian Open since they look like little tennis balls. You can find them on Amazon.
- For the Pavlova
- 6 large egg whites, room temperature. Reserve yolks for passion fruit curd.
- 1 1/2 C sugar ( super fine granulated is preferred)
- 2 Tbsp corn flour
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the whipped cream
- 1 1/2 C Heavy Cream
- 1 Tbsp vanilla paste
- 1/4 C powdered sugar ( or more if a sweeter cream is desired)
- Passion Fruit Curd**
- 3-4 Kiwi, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 C fresh Raspberries
- 1/2 C Pineapple Boba, drained
- Powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 300 Deg F.
- Draw an 8” circle in the middle of parchment paper and place on a baking sheet
- In a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes. Add in the sugar in a slow stream, one quarter of a cup at a time. Once added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides then whip on high for 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides and add in the vanilla and vinegar and whip on high for another 2 minutes. Sift the cornflower over the top and fold in until completely combined
- Take a tiny bit of meringue and smear it under the corners of the parchment to stick it to the baking sheet. Using a large cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop out the meringue into the middle of the circle on the parchment paper. Spread the meringue to about a half an inch away from the edges of the circle then using an upwards motion with the spatula, build up the meringue to about 5- 6 inches high on the sides, edges can be slightly higher than the middle.
- Place in oven and immediately lower heat to 250 Deg F. Bake for 1 hr 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and crack the oven door slightly, using a towel to keep it open. Let cool completely before removing from oven.
- While the pavlova is baking make the whipped cream and passion fruit curd.
- **Recipe for Passion Fruit Curd is on Drizzle and Dip.
- For the whipped cream pour the cream into a bowl and whip to almost stiff peaks. Add in the vanilla bean paste and 1/4 c of powdered sugar. Taste and add more powdered sugar if desired, keep chilled until ready to use.
- Once the pavlova is cooled carefully remove from the parchment paper and place on a serving plate or cake stand. Top with the whipped cream. Spoon about 2/3 of a cup of the passion fruit curd over the top of the whipped cream then place the slices of kiwi all over the top in any pattern you would like. Place the raspberries around then sprinkle with the boba and a light dusting of powdered sugar. Serve immediately
- Best eaten the same day, you can keep it chilled up to two days tightly wrapped with plastic wrap. The meringue will start to soften but not too much.
If you have any troubles with your pavlova you can check out this Complete guide to Pavlovas for troubleshooting before you start so you don’t waste any ingredients. Like I
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