Elegant, rich in flavor and texture, and will wow the harshest of critics.
Pavlovas are one of my favorite desserts. With their crisp edges, chewy marshmallow-like insides, they’re a true treat. On their own, they’re quite sweet, so the fresh whipped cream, and slight acidic nature of the mango help to nicely balance out the sugar. The rose water adds a slight floral scent and flavor, again, helping to really balance out that sugar and make the dessert feel even lighter. It’s an absolute feast for the senses, with the beautiful colors, smells, textures, and flavors.
It’s most commonly a summer dessert, given the lightness of it and that it travels well without refrigeration, but with modern science, any time is a good pavlova time.
I wouldn’t call this the easiest dessert in the world to make, but well worth the sweat and tears. The reason you heat the sugar before adding it into your meringue is because it helps to make it firmer and have a glossier texture. The main pit falls of meringue is not beating it enough and having it be flat and grainy, or the opposite of over beating your eggs resulting in hard and dry pavlova. It’s important to not lose patience when making this dessert. It has to be light, airy, with stiff peaks. Also, don’t stray away from the basic ingredients of the recipe, but feel free to use any fruit instead of mango. For example on my cardamom pavlovas, I love using raspberries and cherries. In my recipe, I’ve suggested slightly larger sized pavlovas but you can make mini pavlovas or one huge one, for a cake like serving, if you’d prefer – just keep an eye on the bake, as it’ll alter the timing. Like there weren’t enough pitfalls listed here, make sure to not be overly generous with the rose water, you don’t want dessert to taste like soap or grandma…you know because grandmas tend to wear floral perfume…no? maybe it’s just mine.
Fun fact #999: Pavlovas are said to be named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, in honor of the dancer during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Though there’s some heated debate over the nationality of the creator of this dessert. Research initially suggested the dessert was created in Australian or New Zealand, but later research shows it was created in the US on the basis of an Austrian dessert. Either way – it’s fabulous!
Rose Water PavlovaDifficulty: Medium
- For Pavlovas:
1¼ cups sugar
6 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp rose water
¾ cup chopped almonds
- For Syrup:
¼ cup sugar
24 ounces (about 3 cups) mango, sliced
- For Serving:
1¼ cups heavy cream
Mangoes for decorating, or any fruit you prefer
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Spread sugar in a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.
- After 7 minutes of the sugar being in the oven, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites, rose water, and cream of tartar in a large bowl until frothy. You can use a hand held mixer, but I really suggest a stand mixer, if you’ve got it.
- Remove sugar from oven and decrease temperature to 200°.
- Gradually pour the sugar while continuing to beat the egg whites. Leave mixer on high.
- Add salt and beat until stiff peaks form. I’ve done this with a hand mixer and it took nearly an hour. With a stand mixer it took about 20 minutes.
- Place large spoonfuls of meringue onto baking sheets to make 12 mounds.
- Make a slight dip in the center of each mound with the back of the spoon, making a nest-like shape. The mounds should be about 3-3 1/2” in diameter.
- Top the border of meringues with almonds.
- Bake meringues until dry and firm, approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes.
- Turn off oven and prop door ajar.
- Let meringues cool completely in oven.
- If you’re making them in advance, store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Combine mangoes and sugar in a medium bowl and mash together with until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bright in color and thin enough to pour.
- This takes a little effort, so you can also puree the mango to make it easier to mix with the sugar. Unlike the berry syrup, this doesn’t benefit by being chunky.
- Whipped Cream:
- Whisk cream in a medium bowl to medium peaks.
- Spoon whipped cream into centers of meringues, top with mangoes and any other fruit you’d like, then drizzle with sauce.
Make it ahead. As long as the weather is humid, make the meringues and store loosely covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. The raspberry sauce can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days. You want to make the whipped cream daily
- Make it sugar free. Try Swerve sugar substitute to make a fluffy sugar free meringue.
- Make it dairy free. Use whipped coconut cream instead of the dairy cream.