A beautiful Pink Pavlova made with perfectly crisp meringue and topped with lightly whipped vanilla cream, blueberries, raspberries and nectarine. Plus tips on how to make perfect meringue.
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Pink Pavlova – A little colour twist on an old favourite
This Pink Pavlova is the perfect dinner party dessert. Naturally gluten free. Easy to make dairy free. Perfectly pretty. Stunningly beautiful.
I love meringue and particularly Pavlova. The heavenly marriage of sumptuous crispy-gooey sugary meringue with dreamy, soft whipped cream… all topped with fruit. It is the most decadent of combinations. Tart + sweet… Crunchy + chewy + soft… It is a dessert which is always an incredible show-stopping end to a meal.
For this particular recipe however, I have added a little pink twist… My PINK Pavlova is a serious head-turner… And not as tricky as you might think. I would go as far as to say that it is the BEST meringue I have ever made… A delicate border of pink raspberry-flavoured meringue swirls, filled with light, vanilla whipped cream and piled high with a fresh raspberries, blueberries and nectarine (with a hint of maple syrup). And if that’s not enough, this pink pavlova is also drizzled with raspberry coulis. Sublime.
Finding the perfect meringue recipe for a crisp Pink Pavlova
Meringue has been around centuries and comes in many forms, each with different techniques. Some are softer and wetter (like the topping to Meringue Pie or the dessert ‘Floating Islands’), others are crisp and dry (like these mini meringue bites). Then of course there’s the chewy on the inside… crisp on the outside variety, more familiar to pavlovas…
When we look at origins… French meringue adds dry sugar to egg whites, Italian meringue uses hot sugar syrup. Swiss meringue ‘cooks’ the egg whites over a bain-marie and Vegan meringue uses chick pea water (aqua faba) instead of egg.
Each have their place. But I have been in search of the perfect meringue recipe for years. It’s not that I have ever had a major problem with making meringue. But sometimes it cracks slightly or weeps syrup when baking and I figure that however good something tastes, there is always a way to make it better. So I searched…
Making the Perfect Meringue – Tips from the Meringue Girls
My hunt for the perfect meringue led me to the Meringue Girls. If you have not heard of them, check out their Instagram profile. They are a fab duo who have meringue-making down to an art… Literally. Some of their creations are beyond eating, they are that clever and beautiful. Best of all, they have been generous enough to share their experience on how to make the perfect meringue. And in my quest to perfect Pink Pavlova, I watched their videos, read their recipes and borrowed their wisdom!
What I’ve learnt about making the perfect meringue
1. Having a really clean, grease-free bowl is super-important for perfect meringue. The easiest way to achieve this is to wipe lemon juice around the inside of the bowl with clean kitchen roll to get it spotless. And give the same treatment to the whisk heads and folding spoon/spatula.
2. Weigh your egg whites. Yep… really! You want a ratio of twice the weight of sugar to egg white. And be absolutely sure that NO egg yolk sneaks into the mix. It will destroy your meringue. Separate your eggs individually in a spare bowl, transferring the whites one by one to avoid yolk contamination from accidental breakages.
3. For a smooth, shiny, stable meringue mixture which doesn’t ooze when baked, heat the dry sugar at 200 C for about 7 minutes, before adding to the egg whites and always use caster sugar.
4. Start by whisking the egg white very slowly, so that it forms small stabilising bubbles and only whack up the speed when the egg white has reached a good frothy stage. You can then increase the speed until the meringue mix reaches stiff peak consistency. Make sure the mixture stays put when the bowl is tipped upside-down! But don’t over-whisk… The egg white shouldn’t be ‘over-dried’.
5. Add the hot dry sugar to the stiff egg white very slowly (1 teaspoon at a time). If you add it too quickly, your meringue will flop. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk at full speed for at least 5 minutes to achieve a smooth, thick, glossy mixture.
6. When the mixture is fully whisked, check it by rubbing a small amount between thumb and finger. If it feels gritty with sugar grains, it is not ready…. whisk some more. The sugar needs to be fully dissolved into the egg white.
7. Take care with your flavourings. Use intense natural flavours, but avoid folding in anything too oily as this will deflate the mixture.
8. For a really crisp perfect meringue, bake long and low. Your oven should be set at about 110 C/225 F/Gas ¼ to carefully and slowly dry out the meringue. Don’t keep opening the oven door. Sudden changes in temperature may cause the meringue to crack. When done, turn off the oven, but leave the meringues in there with the door closed, so that they cool with the oven.
The verdict? This meringue is the stuff of dreams! It is light, dry, crisp, airy, melt-in-the-mouth heaven!
Prefer your meringues chewier?
A chewier meringue may be your preferred option for Pavlova (pink or not). There is no secret to this… Simply cook the meringue for less time so that the edges are crisp and dry, but the inside is still set, but with a chewy nougat-texture.
Making Pavlova bases to use up egg whites
Making Pavlova bases is the ideal way to use up surplus egg whites, particularly if you bake the meringue crisp and dry. When completely dried out, meringue will store for weeks in an airtight container. That also means a ready base when guests arrive at short notice… And when you want to avoid spending too much time in the kitchen.
This particular Pink Pavlova was the result of using up whites after the yolks went into Crème Brûlée.
Pink Pavlova – how to colour meringue
There are a couple of ways to make meringue into pink pavlova :
The easiest is to simply add a couple of drops of pink or red food colour to the meringue mix towards the end of whisking or fold through to get a marbled effect just before transferring to a baking tray. These options have the added advantage of spooning and spreading the meringue, rather than using a piping bag.
If you want a pink pavlova that is totally stunning however, you will need to ‘paint and pipe’ :
- Simply turn the piping bag inside out…
- Brush food colour onto the bag from top to bottom (if you paint lines you will get a more striped effect)…
- Add a nozzle and turn the bag back…
- Fill with white meringue…
- Squeeze out the air and pipe!
For this pavlova, the main base is actually white meringue, with pink piping around the edge.
Essential equipment for making perfect meringues and Pink Pavlova
Getting perfect meringue and beautiful pink pavlova requires a few basics in the kitchen :
- A heavy-duty stand mixer is a bit of a deal-breaker when it comes to making meringue. The amount of whisking required to get the mix stiff is simply too much for hand whisking. There are plenty of stand-mixer options to suit every budget, but getting a Kitchen Aid stand mixer was one of the best decisions I made.
- Don’t take short cuts with baking paper. It needs to be high quality and perfectly non-stick. I won’t use anything other than the Lakeland Baking Paper in my kitchen.
- For spooning and scraping the meringue mixture from the bowl, I use one of my favourite kitchen implements… I honestly wouldn’t know where I’d be without my flexible Zing Silicone Spoon-spatula.
- When it comes to piping bags, I’ll be honest, I prefer the disposable variety. I’ve never had much luck with cleaning reusable ones and you need them to be ultra clean for perfect meringue. For sheer ease of use and non-slippiness, try the Lakeland Get-a-Grip Piping and Icing Bags.
- Pink pavlova needs food colour… preferably the non-watery type. I use the food colouring paste from Wilton.
Other perfect meringue desserts on Gluten Free Alchemist :
- Raspberry Meringue Pie
- Rhubarb & Strawberry Meringue Pie
- Mini Meringue Bites in a Jar
- Orange & Lime Meringue Pie
- Strawberry Meringue Nests
- Zesty Lemon Meringue Roulade
- Cake with Meringue Cream
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Pretty Pink Pavlova with Berries & Nectarine
- large baking tray
- oven-proof dish
- stand mixer
- pastry/large clean paint brush
- small sharp vegetable knife
- 150 g egg white from approx 4 large eggs
- 300 g white caster sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla bean powder/paste/raspberry extract
- red food colouring paste mixed with a little optional raspberry extract
Whipped Vanilla Cream
- 400 ml double cream approx volume – See NOTES for Dairy Free
- 1 tsp vanilla bean powder/paste
- 250 g fresh raspberries
- 125 g fresh blueberries
- 2 nectarine de-stoned and cut into pieces
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- raspberry coulis to drizzle – from this recipe
- ½ tsp icing sugar to dust
- edible glitter
Make the Meringue
- Prepare the baking paper for the Pavlova by drawing a large circle (approx 10 inches/26 cm in diameter) on to baking paper and then turning the paper over (so that you can still see the circle).
- Place on a large baking tray (big enough to take the circle with room to spare). Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400 F/Gas 6 and line a small, deep baking dish with baking paper.
- Weigh the caster sugar into the dish and heat in the oven for 7 minutes (this helps to give the meringue a stable, glossy texture).
- While the sugar is heating, whisk the egg whites (preferably in a stand mixer). Whisk slowly at first (to allow small stabilising bubbles to form) and gradually increase the speed, whisking until the egg white forms stiff peaks.
- Take the hot sugar from the oven and turn the oven down to 110 C/225 F/Gas ¼. Leave the oven door open to enable the oven to cool quicker.
- With the mixer on full speed, add the hot sugar to the egg whites a teaspoon at a time, whisking continually and making sure the mixture has returned to ‘stiff peaks’ before each addition. Continue until all the sugar has been added.
- Once all the sugar has been added, whisk on full speed for at least 5 minutes until truly stiff and glossy. To test whether the mixture is ready, rub a small amount of the mixture between thumb and finger. If it is still gritty with sugar, continue to whisk until smooth.
- Finally add any flavouring to the meringue mix and whisk or fold through.
Shape the Meringue
- Spread a good layer of the meringue on the baking paper to make a thick circle (to the line of the drawn circle).
- Take a piping bag, trim off the end and turn inside out (leaving about an inch inside the turn to grab and turn back).
- Paint three or four stripes of edible food colouring paste from top to bottom of the inside of the piping bag about half the length of the bag.
- Insert your chosen large piping tip and pull the point back through to turn the bag back the right way (the colour should be on the inside).
- Fill the bag with meringue, squeezing and squishing a little to remove any air pockets.
- Pipe swirls around the outside edge of the white meringue circle that you have already spread onto baking paper, to completely encircle it.
- Bake the meringue for approx 1 hour and 30 minutes (until the base comes away for the paper easily and cleanly). Turn the oven off, leaving the meringue inside to cool with the oven.
Filling and fruit
- De-stone and chop the nectarine into pieces and place the flesh in a small bowl.
- Add the maple syrup and stir through. Leave for about 20 minutes to mingle.
- Whisk the double cream with the vanilla powder until it forms soft peaks.
- When the meringue is completely cold, fill the centre with whipped cream and pile the raspberries, blueberries and nectarines on top.
- Drizzle with a little raspberry coulis (if using) and top with a sprinkle of icing sugar and a little edible glitter (optional).
© 2019-2022 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist