Your guests will adore this stunning pavlova, piled high with fresh fruit. Skip the flag design and pile it high with berries, if you prefer!
Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, this Berry Pavlova is light and airy, making it the perfect summer dessert!
I used raspberries, blueberries, and Rainier cherries to create a flag design. You could do something similar, or just spoon the berries and cherries over the top. It’s equally as delicious either way!
What’s a pavlova?
A pavlova is a sweet dessert made with egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. The egg whites are whipped together until light and fluffy to create volume, and the mixture is baked in an oven set to a low temperature.
The result is a light and airy dessert that is typically topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
What’s the difference between a pavlova and a meringue?
A pavlova and a meringue have similar ingredients: egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. However, a meringue has a crisp consistency throughout. A pavlova is crisp on the outside and soft on the inside—it’s almost marshmallow-like in the center. Both are fat-free desserts (before you add whipped cream to a pavlova, of course).
- Egg whites form the base of the pavlova.
- Granulated sugar makes it sweet.
- Lemon zest and sea salt enhance the other flavors.
- Cream of tartar helps to stabilize the pavlova while it bakes.
- Whipped cream and a variety of fresh fruit is perfect for topping the pavlova.
How to make a pavlova
Tip before you get started, keep this in mind: no egg yolks are allowed! When you’re separating the eggs, separate them one at a time and be gentle as you crack them. You don’t want a single trace of egg yolk in the egg whites, otherwise the whites won’t whip into a gorgeous cloud-like mixture.
To make a pavlova, first whip the egg whites into a consistency that looks like this:
(Shout out to my grandma’s Kitchenaid from the early 1970s!)
Then, add the sugar and beat until it’s thick and glossy:
Next, stir in the lemon zest, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt. The cream of tartar ensures that the pavlova keeps its shape as it bakes.
While you may be able to create a perfectly circular pavlova, I didn’t want to take my chances. So I turned a pie tin upside down on parchment paper and drew a circle around it. Then I flipped the paper over and used it as a guide for spreading out the pavlova.
You want the pavlova to be higher on the edges than in the middle, which creates the perfect space for mounding up the whipped cream and berries!
Bake the pavlova in a 225°F oven for one hour and 45 minutes. Let it cool completely.
To decorate the pavlova, I used blueberries, raspberries, and pitted and halved Rainier cherries to create a flag design on top of the fresh whipped cream. The lemon zest in the pavlova and in the whipped cream really complements the fruit.
You could do a similar design (golden raspberries would be a gorgeous sub for the cherries) or just pile the fruit on top. Sliced strawberries, kiwi, peaches, or mango would be delicious, too.
I got egg yolk in the egg whites. What can I do?
Throw it out and start over. Sorry! Any trace of egg yolks can cause the egg yolks not to whip properly, and the whole dessert will be ruined.
Can I use different fruit?
Yes! Any fresh fruit would be delicious on top of the cake. A mixture of all red fruits, for example, would be stunning (like raspberries, strawberries, and red cherries).
This Patriotic Pavlova is nice and light, which makes it ideal for a summer dessert, especially after sometimes-heavy cookout food. It’s also gluten-free!
It’s best sliced with a sharp knife, and I recommend slicing it at the table for your guests.
And this Grilled Pound Cake with Berries and Whipped Cream is another dessert that’s perfect for the 4th of July.
For the pavlova:
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Pinch of salt
For the toppings:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 12 Rainier cherries
- ¾ cup fresh blueberries
- 6 oz fresh raspberries
- Preheat oven to 225°F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. Place a 8–9 inch cake pan tin upside down on top of the parchment paper, and draw a circle around the tin. Flip the parchment paper over (the circle should still be visible).
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Add the sugar, ¼ cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Add the lemon zest, cream of tartar, and pinch of salt. Beat gently to combine.
- Pour the egg white mixture onto the parchment paper. Starting in the middle, spread the mixture out toward the edges of the circle. The edges should be slightly higher than the middle.
- Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Place the pavlova and parchment paper on a cooling rack and cool completely. When cool, gently peel the parchment paper away from the pavlova.
- Place the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, Greek yogurt, and lemon zest. Beat until whipped cream holds it shape, being careful not to overmix it.
- Spoon the whipped cream on top of the pavlova. Decorate the top with the fruit, whether in a flag pattern or mixed together. Serve immediately.