Holiday Pavlova Wreath Recipe
This festive holiday Pavlova Wreath is such a lovely dessert and makes the perfect addition to any special occasion. Pavlova is a meringue dessert with a delicate, crispy crunchy shell that hides a soft light, marshmallowy, almost custard-like inside and is traditionally served topped with whipped cream and fruit.
In the culinary world, there are those dishes that just beg for a little more looking into, or research, as it were. Sometimes a little background is needed other than how to mix certain ingredients. Like Turkey Tettrazinni, Bubble and Squeak, or Pavlova. Cheese Puffs … not so much. The majority of recipes I share here are ones I’ve made multiple times, every once in a while I share something that is brand new to me, but I make sure to do a little reading/research first, because I’m curious, and of course I don’t want to pass along bad information. But mainly, it’s because I’m curious. So when I began planning on my first endeavor with a Pavlova, I did some digging around before whipping up this delicious and gorgeous dessert.
Did you know that the Pavlova is believed to be created for the Russian dancer, Anna Pavlova in the late 1920s as she toured Australia and New Zealand? I wonder if she was crispy and delicate too? And even though there has been debate over the years as to whether the Pavlova originated in Australia or New Zealand, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, via BBC News and cited again via Wikipedia, New Zealand is where the Pavlova was first created. Wherever it was invented, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m just thankful for whoever created it. I’m a big fan.
This Pavlova Wreath is so perfect for any holiday occasion. It was decorated with sugared cranberries and fresh mint leaves is fantastic for the holiday table. Other berries can be substituted to make it a seasonally appropriate wreath for any time of the year.
A few Pavlova recipe notes:
- Pavlova can be made ahead a few days. Humidity is not a friend of meringue, so if making ahead it’s best to be prepared with an airtight container large enough to store the Pavlova.
- Add the whipped cream and fruit right before serving as the moisture from both as well as weight will begin to break down the Pavlova.
- Don’t be in a hurry. This recipe is really not difficult. As with most things in life, take your time at each step. Once the meringue has finished cooking, follow the instructions and leave it in the oven (that has been turned off) to completely cool. Completely. Cool. This means planning ahead. Reserve that oven space! As I mentioned above, this can be made ahead by a day or so and kept stored in airtight container.
- The wreath I made barely fit on a 13×18-inch baking sheet. If you don’t have a baking sheet that large, make an oval wreath OR make two smaller wreaths.
- Egg whites are easier to separate from yolk when cold.
- As far as the granulated sugar goes, I have found that certain brands are finer than others. The finer the sugar grain the quicker it will dissolve into the egg whites. If you own a food processor you can quickly pulse granulated sugar to a finer texture if you’d like.
Holiday Pavlova Wreath Recipe
Pavlova is a meringue dessert with a delicate, crispy crunchy shell that hides a soft light, marshmallowy, almost custard-like inside and is traditionally served topped with whipped cream and fruit.
8 large egg whites, room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (the finer the texture the better)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or better yet, vanilla bean paste)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
garnish: sugared cranberries and fresh mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Line a large baking sheet (at least 13×18-inches) with parchment paper.
- Using an electric mixer whisk egg whites on high until stiff. Continuing to beat, gradually add sugar and beat until dissolved. Add lemon juice and extract, then sprinkle/sift in cornstarch; beat on high until very stiff and glossy peaks form, about 3-5 more minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently shape meringue into a ring. Reduce oven temperature to 200-degrees F. Bake meringue for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn off oven and leave meringue in oven until totally cooled (about 4 hours).* Store in airtight container until ready to serve. Before decorating, gently transfer the meringue to a cake plate.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
- Gently spread whipped cream evenly over top of meringue wreath, or using a frosting bag with wide tip, pipe whipped cream as desired on top of meringue.
- Decorate the top with sugared cranberries and fresh mint leaves.
*Pavlova can be made ahead a few days and stored in an airtight container or wrap gently (but completely) with plastic wrap. Add the whipped cream and fruit right before serving as the moisture from both (as well as weight) will begin to break down the Pavlova.
Recipe adapted from Saveur.
Originally published December 22, 2014.