Pavlova is my all-time favorite gluten-free dessert. It’s the perfect thing to make when you want a dessert but don’t want to feel weighed down by something rich and heavy. It’s simply egg white, powdered sugar, and lemon juice whipped into peaks and slow baked until crisp and golden brown. The interior has a soft, marshmallow-y texture, and makes the perfect basket for fresh berries and a lemon glaze. Pavlova is often served with whipped cream, but not in my dairy-free version.
Beginner tips for baking a successful pavlova:
Make pavlova ahead of time, but not too far ahead of time. It takes an hour to bake, plus time for cool down in the oven. If you’re planning to serve it after dinner be sure to have the egg portion done and dusted before the dinner goes on. It’s unlikely that any of your other dishes will require such a low oven temperature, and the pavlova easily takes on the scent of whatever else is cooking at the same time.
Do not refrigerate. Just leave the meringues on the counter with a veil of plastic wrap or a linen cloth loosely placed on top. Do not cover them if they are still warm.
Use a cold metal mixing bowl and an electric beater. Avoid anything warm! I once made the mistake of beating my eggs while the dishwasher was on, and the heat that permeated through the counter was enough to flop the whole dessert.
In my experience, I have had much fluffier and bountiful meringue when using a free-range organic egg, as opposed to a regular commercial egg. Anecdotally, I notice that the whites in commercial eggs are more watery, whereas in an organic free range egg they are thicker (the yolks are also a way brighter and more saturated yellow, not that it matters for this dessert). Either type of egg will work, I just prefer free range organic.
Leave yourself a lot of time and avoid checking on the meringues constantly. Although it’s tempting, don’t open the oven to peek! Pavlova is a very temperamental dessert. Just trust it to do its thing.
Free from: peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy, wheat, fish, shellfish. Gluten-free, vegetarian.
5 egg whites
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup raspberries or blueberries
1 hour at 300F, half hour - 45 minutes with oven off