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Aug 6, 2021

Pavlovas with Whipped Cream and Berry Compote

Pavlova, with its rustic yet gorgeous appearance, is quite the showstopper dessert. These individual Pavlovas, topped with sweet whipped cream, mixed berries, and a raspberry sauce, are the perfect way to show off the beauty of summer berries. 

Pavlovas with whipped cream.

Pavlova is supposedly named after the Russian ballerina and originated in either New Zealand or Australia. Pavlovas look like meringues, but inside the crisp outer shell is a soft marshmallowy interior.  

They begin with the French meringue technique of combining whipped egg whites and sugar and are baked in a low oven until the outside is crisp. Then the Pavlovas sit in a turned off oven to let the moist interior continue to dry but still stay soft. 

Pavlovas often have a rustic look because the fluffy mixture is dropped onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread with a spoon into a circle with a well in the middle for filling with whipped cream and fresh summer fruit. Even a few cracks here and there are okay. 

Pavlovas with whipped cream.

I've wanted to tackle Pavlovas for a long time, and having a bounty of raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries inspired me to dive in. 

These are actually deceptively easy to make.

Tips for making Pavlovas:

First, don't try to cut back on the sugar or use a sugar substitute. The sugar not only adds sweetness, but it also adds crispness to the shells and is essential for the texture. Sometimes baking really is chemistry. 

Try not to make these on a very humid day. Just like macarons, they prefer a drier climate in order to get crispy. I was able to make these in the middle of summer, but our climate in California is not really humid. Plus, we are blessed to have air conditioning. 

You will need to add both an acid and a starch to the mixture. Both of these ingredients are to help create the soft, marshmallow-like interior. For the acid, you can use cream of tartar, vinegar, or lemon juice. For the starch, most recipes call for cornstarch. 

Use superfine sugar to ensure it dissolves when whipping the egg whites. If you don't have superfine sugar, just measure granulated sugar and then process it in the food processor. 

Make sure the egg whites are room temperature (save the egg yolks for making ice cream or custard). Whisk the egg whites on medium low at first to get them frothy before switching to high speed. 

If for some reason, your Pavlovas fall apart, you can always use them to make Eton mess. Just crumble them up and layer them with the whipped cream and berries in a stemmed glass. Rustic yet elegant. 

Pavlova shells.

Rather than one large Pavlova, I made six individual ones. I used a piping tip, but you definitely can just use a spoon to shape them into disks with a slight indentation in the middle. 

I make a few little meringues with the leftover mixture, which I promptly ate when these came out of the oven. 

For the berry sauce, I used the same raspberry sauce recipe that I used to top panna cottas, but substituted seedless plum jam for the raspberry jam, mostly because I found it in the back of my refrigerator. Actually, any seedless jam will work to make this sauce. 

Pavlovas with mixed berries.

You can make the Pavlovas a couple of days in advance and store them in an air tight container once they have cooled completely. 

Assemble the dessert right before serving by gently laying each individual Pavlova on a plate, topping each with sweetened whipped cream and lots of mixed berries, and then drizzling on the raspberry sauce. 

Then dig in!

Pavlovas smashed.

Welcome to Farmer's Market Week, hosted by Family Around the Table. We are posting recipes featuring fresh produce and other ingredients you might find at a Farmer's Market. 

Farmer’s Market Week is always the first week in August. Whether you have a great local farm stand or market, are a member of a CSA or purchase your fruits and vegetables at the supermarket, follow our Pinterest board, for great recipes including those for appetizers, drinks, breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert and more.

Be sure to check out everyone's Farmers Market Week recipes! There are so many ideas for using fresh produce. 

Here’s more Farmer’s Market Week Recipes

Starters and Sauce Recipes

Side Dishes Recipes

Main Dish Recipes

Dessert Recipes

Pavlovas with Whipped Cream and Berry Compote

Pavlovas with Whipped Cream and Berry Compote

Pavlovas with Whipped Cream and Berry Compote
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 2 HourInactive time: 1 HourTotal time: 3 H & 30 M
Pavlova, with its rustic yet gorgeous appearance, is quite the showstopper dessert.


  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 200 grams (1 cup) superfine sugar (or granulated sugar processed in the food processor)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Sweetened whipped cream
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
  • 1 cup raspberry sauce
Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
Raspberry Sauce
  • 3 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup seedless berry or plum jam
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons orange liqueur


To Make the Pavlovas
  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with nonstick parchment paper. 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on medium low until frothy. Switch to medium high and beat until you have soft peaks. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, and beat for 30 seconds between additions. 
  3. On high speed, beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. The mixture should be thick, bright white, and very shiny. Add the vanilla and beat for one more minute. 
  4. Fold in the cream of tartar and cornstarch. 
  5. Divide the mixture into 6 mini pavlovas, either by spooning it or piping it into 4 to 5 inch circles on the baking sheet. Be sure to leave an indentation in the middle for the toppings. 
  6. Place the baking sheet on the center rack of the oven and IMMEDIATELY turn the oven temperature down to 200 degrees F. Bake for 40 minutes, and then turn off the oven. Let cool in the oven for an hour before removing the pan. Let cool completely. 
  7. Gently peel the cooled meringues from the parchment and place them on a plate. Top with the sweetened whipped cream, a generous handful of berries, and two heaping tablespoons of the raspberry sauce. 
To Make the Sweetened Whipped Cream
  1. Whip the cream until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the vanilla, and while continuously whipping, slowly pour in the sugar. 
  2. Beat until you have soft peaks. 
To Make the Raspberry Sauce
  1. In a small sauce pan, bring the raspberries, sugar, and water to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for four minutes.
  2. Add the simmered raspberries, the jam, and the orange liqueur to a food processor or blender and process until everything is blended.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for up to a week. 


Both the Pavlovas and the sauce can be made 2 to 3 days in advance. Assemble the dessert right before serving.

You will have leftover sauce, for which you will be very happy. It's delicious on toast, a bowl of berries, ice cream, cheesecake, and swirled into yogurt.

New Zealand, Australia
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Would you like to comment?

  1. On my "must make soon" list! Like really soon, maybe tomorrow! Gorgeous and I love that they are naturally gluten free!

  2. Every year I make a list of "culinary resolutions" or things I want to master in the new year. This was on it last year and I chickened out. Your directions are so good, I'm going to have to put it back on the list!

  3. Oh my, these look absolutely perfect. Great photos too Karen, you are ready to go pro.

  4. Pavlova's are great because you can fill them with any fruit! Yum!

  5. They are absolutely adorable! Mini-pavlovas will always make me a bit nostalgic - I had planned them as one of the desserts for the showstopper FINAL in the tent. Of course, that was not to be, but everybody had to prepare for it anyway. I never made them again, it's time to re-visit and exorcize those little demons... ;-)

    1. Oooh. I need your recipe! Seriously... I'm going to try the Swiss meringue version next. I've got the bug!

  6. Pavlovas are always such an impressive dish. These look gorgeous and would be perfect for a special occasion.

  7. I love your idea of making the pavlovas couple of days in advance. They are absolutely beautiful!

  8. These are gorgeous, Karen! The berries are so lovely on top of these.

  9. I love love love this dessert. I love all the fresh berries this time of year. Great tip to make them in advance!

  10. These are a picture of perfection Karen!

  11. Pavlova is such a fantastic dessert and you have done such a beautiful job with it! I love the raspberry sauce with these!


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