A Berry Pavlova Wreath is an Australian Classic! Popular year round, but specifically at Christmastime, or during the holidays. Nothing says Australian Christmas to me like a fresh baked Pavlova, topped with fresh fruit.
What is Pavlova Dessert?
Pavlova is a baked meringue desert usually topped with whipped cream and fruit. Lovingly called a Pav in Australia. It's crispy on the outside with a soft, airy and chewy marshmallow inside.
Beaten egg whites, added sugar, cornstarch and vinegar form your pavlova base, then baked at a low temperature. The end result is a meringue dessert recipe that's ready to be topped with your favorite cream and fruits.
Where is Pavlova From?
It’s still hotly debated if this is an Australian dessert or a New Zealand invention. I'm not wading into that territory. Both nations love this delicious dessert. They say Pavlova was created in honour of the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, when she toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920's.
- Egg Whites
- Superfine Sugar (Berry Sugar or Caster Sugar)
- White Vinegar
- Whipped Cream
- Pavlova toppings
Honestly, you can place any fruit that you love on a Pavlova. Traditionally, you will see it topped with fresh tropical fruits, although there are many variations. Pavlova with Berries is the perfect dessert to make for Australia Day (red white and blue flag). Here are some Pavlova topping ideas;
- Traditional - Strawberries, Mango, Kiwi and Passionfruit
- Add Banana - although they change color when exposed to air, but I love the flavor it brings
- Forest Berries - Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries
- Curds - Drizzle Passionfruit Curd or Lemon Curd over the cream for a nice tang
- Chocolate - Try topping with your favorite pieces of chocolate (like Crunchie honeycomb chocolate pieces)
- Saucy - drizzle with Caramel sauce, Chocolate sauce and mini marshmallows
- Black Forest Pavlova - canned cherries topped with shaved chocolate
- Make it Festive - substitute raspberries with Sugared Cranberries and fresh mint leaves
How to Make a Pavlova Wreath
Pavlova is the perfect festive treat. It's like a Christmas Pavlova, and the icing sugar looks like freshly fallen snow.
You can use this recipe to make a regular shaped Pavlova, that is not a wreath. However, it's more festive to make it in the shape of a holiday wreath.
- Trace the shape of a wreath on the baking paper.
- Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed, and it's glossy and thick before adding the vinegar and cornstarch.
- Spoon the Pavlova meringue within the wreath lines of the baking paper.
- Bake in a low heat oven, 210°F/100°C (fan forced oven).
- After about 1½ hours, allow to cool in oven with the door open a tiny crack. (I usually pop a spoon in the oven door)
- Make Whipping Cream by whipping cream and icing sugar.
- Decorate with fruit of your choice and dust with powdered icing sugar.
How to Shape a Pavlova
Once your meringue is whipped and placed on your baking paper, you can impact your design of your dessert. What I mean by that is you can make pretty swirls and peaks that will bake that way to look nice when serving. Using a spatula, you can make swirls on the sides in any design you like.
Alternatively, you can create a small wide groove in the centre of the wreath. This allows for your cream and fruit to sit nicely in the groove on top of the Pavlova Wreath. However you design your Pavlova, you have creative license to make it your own!
Tips for Fail Proof Pavlova and FAQs
- Use the correct sugar! using white sugar makes your Pavlova grainy as it doesn't dissolve quickly and may cause it to weep
- Room temperature eggs only! They will whip better for better result.
- Non-Greasy - Make sure your bowl and egg beaters are clean and non-greasy (this makes a difference). Avoid plastic bowls, use metal or glass bowl when beating the egg whites (plastic bowls can still be greasy from previous foods)
- Don't Over Whisk - the egg whites should form soft peaks, but shouldn't be dry or grainy
- Go SLOWLY - Add the sugar slowly - don't rush it, so it totally dissolves. Check with your fingers, do you feel any sugar grains in your egg whites? If so, keep going! There can be sugar on top of your mixing bowl, so use a spatula often to mix the sides of the bowl. Undissolved sugar is not your friend.
- Plan Ahead - Bake the Pavlova the night before and leave in the oven to cool overnight for best result. Low and slow!
Can I Use This Recipe as a Regular Pavlova?
Yes, you don't need make this Pavlova recipe into the shape of a wreath. Here's how you make a traditional round Pavlova. Allowing it to slowly cool inside the oven minimizes cracking.
- Draw an 8"/20cm circle on your parchment paper.
- Spoon the meringue on the baking paper and smooth it out evenly, and make pretty swirl patterns.
- Bake at 210°F/100°C (fan forced oven) for 90 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN for a peak!
- Allow to cool overnight inside the oven or for at least 6 hours.
Can I Use Frozen Fruit on a Pavlova?
I don't recommend using frozen berries or frozen mangoes. The result will be a messy, soggy Pav that looks terrible. Luckily you don't need many fresh berries to make this awesome dessert. If fresh berries aren't in season, use your favorite fresh fruits that are in season.
Can You Make This in Advance?
The holidays are busy, so you can bake the Pavlova Wreath meringue the day before you are serving (just don't decorate it). Keep it in an airtight container until you're ready to top with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Serve no later than 20 minutes after adding fruit and cream as your Pavlova will start to get soft.
How Long Does Pavlova Last?
Store Leftover Pavlova in the fridge. Best eaten within 24 hours of making. The fruit and cream soften the meringue and release the sugars. It becomes unpleasant to eat if you wait too long.
Holiday Desserts You'll Love
- Pavlova Trifle - ready in 20 minutes with store bought meringue nests
- White Christmas - an Aussie holiday treat made with Rice Bubble (Krispies)
- Sticky Date Pudding - sweet date cakes drenched in butterscotch
- Peppermint Crisp Tart - a favorite South African holiday dessert
- Sugared Cranberries - popular Russian treat, sweet and festive
Berry Pavlova is the perfect festive treat. It's like a Christmas Pavlova, with the berries covered in icing sugar - looks like freshly fallen snow. Enjoyed year round like Australia Day, Easter or at summer bbqs. However, everyone especially loves this during the holidays. Merry Christmas and Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
Pavlova Wreath Base
- 6 egg whites
- 1½ cup sugar use Superfine sugar, Berry sugar or Caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract optional
- 1 fresh raspberries
- 1 fresh blueberries
- icing sugar for dusting
Pavlova Wreath Base
- Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C to start. We will lower this temperature when baking.
- Place a layer of baking paper on a baking tray. Using a pencil and a dinner plate as a guide (around 10"/25cm), make circle. Make a second smaller circle inside (around 6"/15cm) resembling the shape of a round wreath.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Slowly add one tablespoon of sugar at a time, while beating the mixture until it's thick and glossy. Add cornstarch and vinegar and beat until mixed throughout.
- Using a tablespoon, scoop the meringue within the traced lines on the baking sheet, forming a wreath shape.
- Using the back of your spoon, gently smooth out the top of the meringue, where your cream will sit. On the visible sides of the meringue, create a small wave, or peak of meringue, which looks nice when it's baked.
- Reduce oven to 225°F/110°C (traditional oven) or 210°F/100°C (fan forced oven), and place the pavlova wreath in the oven. Bake for 1.5 hours, or until the pavlova is ivory, not brown.
- Turn off the oven, and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven. If you remove the pavlova before it's completely cool, it will crack.
Dressing the Pavlova
- Using a mixer, beat the whipping cream, clear vanilla and 1 teaspoon of icing sugar together until soft an fluffy, with soft peaks formed.
- Spoon on top of the pavlova. Decorate with fresh berries or fruit of your choice. Dust with icing sugar before serving. Enjoy.