Is it terrible that the 4th of July doesn’t get me all that excited? I’m so grateful for our independence and freedom, but the endless (and ahem, illegal) fireworks in Chicago late into the night don’t make me love the holiday. However, I can get behind the gathering aspect of the 4th of July! I love cookout food, and I love getting together with friends to enjoy the day off. And this year, I especially love the addition of this Patriotic Pavlova to the menu.
I made a version of this Patriotic Pavlova 10 years ago. It was my second year living in Cleveland, Ohio, and I made it for a 4th of July gathering. It was a hit, but I haven’t made a pavlova since! When I was thinking about the 4th of July this year, this popped into my head and I knew I had to make it.
A pavlova is basically a riff on a gigantic meringue topped with whipped cream and fruit. But while 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. I chose to make one large one, but you could create several small ones for an individual dessert, too.
There’s just one thing to keep in mind when making the pavlova: no egg yolks are allowed! When you’re separating the eggs, do 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.
You’ll whip the egg whites into a consistency that looks like this:
(Shout out to my grandma’s Kitchenaid from the early 1970s!)
Then you’ll add the sugar and beat it’s thick and glossy:
Then you 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 it to be higher on the edges than in the middle, which creates the perfect space for mounding up the whipped cream and berries!
I used blueberries, raspberries, and pitted & 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.
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. If you make it, I’d love to hear about it! Tag me on Instagram (@giftofhospitality) or Facebook (Gift of Hospitality) so I can see!
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.