Made with fresh strawberries and topped with cream (or coconut cream), this Mini Strawberry Pavlova recipe is the perfect gluten free dessert for spring! Make it ahead of time for celebrations, holidays, and more. Dairy-free option included.
Keeping up with Spring Produce month – strawberries! We’re adding this delicious fresh fruit to the mix in the form of mini Strawberry Pavlova(s). Typically made in Australia or New Zealand, pavlovas are a meringue-based dessert named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. They’re made with a base of egg whites and caster sugar (ultra fine sugar). Known for its crisp crust with a light and fluffy inside, traditionally topped with fruit and whipped cream, this is the perfect dessert for every occasion and is naturally gluten-free! 🙌
This recipe was first taught to me by an Aussie! Then, I learned it again from my father-in-law who is from New Zealand. So, after all this training from those who know the dessert best, I decided to make my own version. Typically, kiwis (New Zealanders) add corn flour or nothing at all to the meringue batter. I opted to add corn starch (similar to corn flour) and reduced the sugar to lighten the dessert. Also, I made mini pavlovas for a single-serving version.
What turned out was even better than I expected! Perfectly light, fluffy, and completely adorable. These mini pavlovas are full of strawberry flavor for an irresistible dessert you’re going to want to make. If you’re looking for even more spring dessert recipes, be sure to take a look at these Two Bite Brownies with Strawberries, Vegan White Chocolate Raspberry Crispy Treats, or this Vegan Fruit Crumble. They’re all equally delicious, but for me, the pavlova takes the cake!
How to Make Strawberry Mini Pavlova
A quick note: to make this Strawberry Pavlova recipe, I added starch to help it stay firm at a higher altitude. Traditional recipes do not have this, but I highly recommend including it to ensure the recipe withstands the air pressure in the states!
Start by preheating the oven to 300°F (or 150°C). Next, add room-temperature egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer or an electric mixer. Whisk at a medium to high speed until stiff peaks form. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
Once you have the peaks, gradually add the sugar to the egg whites 1 tablespoon at a time. After every tablespoon, let the batter whisk together with the sugar for 20 seconds. Then, add 1 tablespoon of sugar, and repeat the steps until all of the sugar has been added. It takes 7-8 minutes to fully incorporate all of the sugar into the egg whites, they should look stiff and glossy by the end (below left).
Next, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the vinegar, corn starch, and vanilla. Use your mixer set on medium to high speed to mix the ingredients for another 2 minutes or until it is glossy and well-combined (above right).
Then, spoon 6-7 rounds of meringue batter (about 3 to 4 inches round) onto a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper or a silicone mat. Then use the back of a spoon to make a crevice in the center of each meringue.
Add the pavlovas to the oven and immediately reduce the oven temperature to 250°F (or 125°C). Bake the meringues for 45 minutes to 1 hour. They should look slightly golden when done and have formed a bit of a crust on the outside. To finish, turn off the oven and let the meringue cool in the oven for 1 hour up to overnight. Whatever you do, do not open the oven until that hour is up! A slow cool will prevent collapsing of your pavlova.
Good to know info: Baking times vary depending on the size of the meringue. Since we are baking mini pavlovas the meringue batter should bake quicker. Even then, do not open the oven until that hour is up. You want to avoid the mini pavlovas from collapsing.
Basic Pavlova Baking Tips
I know Strawberry Pavlova can look super intimidating, but it’s actually pretty simple to make! Even better, it’s sure to impress your guests. Some important tips to create the perfect mini pavlova include taking your time, avoiding over whipping your meringue, and using room temperature egg whites. If you’re looking for even more tips, this article from Donna Hays (my idol) has incredible scientifically-backed tricks to help ease your nerves about this recipe.
Pro Prep Tip: Be sure to measure the liquid of the 6 large egg whites (to 250 ml) to ensure the perfect light meringue whip!
Questions to consider – What’s the trick for baking pavlova or mini pavlovas?
Can Strawberry Pavlova be made dairy-free?
Yes, I made a dairy-free option of this Strawberry Pavlova by swapping out the whipped cream with my coconut whip recipe! Super easy. Note: Coconut whip is a bit heavier than regular whipped cream, so be mindful of how much you put on each pavlova. You don’t want them to collapse after baking.
Where can I find caster sugar for this Strawberry Pavlova recipe?
Caster sugar (also known as castor sugar) can be difficult to find in the states unless you order it. For a DIY method, I like to grind granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until ultra fine in texture. However, you can also look for Baker’s sugar like this one in your local grocery store.
Can mini pavlovas be made sugar-free?
Unfortunately, while I’ve tried time and time again (and will likely keep testing recipes), I have not been able to nail the fluffy texture of a traditional Strawberry Pavlova. It just isn’t the same.
Can Strawberry Pavlova be made ahead of time?
Yes and no. The meringue portion of this Strawberry Pavlova can be made 1-2 days ahead of time, but the pavlova itself should be made the day it is served. If you want to make the meringue ahead of time, be sure to carefully place it in an airtight container or wrap it with clingfilm. Just be warned that a shift in humidity may cause your meringue to flatten or deflate a bit.
A Strawberry Pavlova is the perfect gluten free dessert! A light baked meringue cake topped with whipped cream and seasonal produce. Dairy free cream topping choices included.
For the Pavlovas
- 6 large egg whites (225 milliliters) at room temperature.*
- 1 cup superfine sugar (caster sugar). Adjust to preferred sweetness (220–250 grams).**
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (see notes)***
- 1–1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
For the Toppings:
- 1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream or 13 ounces canned chilled coconut cream (for coconut cream whip)
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar or sugar substitute
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sliced strawberries and any additional fruit of choice
- Optional honey or maple syrup to drizzle
- Optional mint leaves to garnish
For the Pavlovas:
- Preheat the oven to 300F (150°C ). Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking sheets or use a silicone mat. Set aside.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer or electric mixer, add the egg whites and whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form. About 2-3 minutes.
- Gradually add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, letting the batter whisk together with the sugar for 20 seconds before adding more. Repeat until all the sugar has been added. It takes 7-8 minutes to fully incorporate all of your sugar into the egg whites, and they should look stiff and glossy by the end.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the vinegar, cornstarch, and vanilla. Place back on medium to medium-high speed for 2 minutes or until glossy and combined.
- Spoon six to seven 3-4 inch rounds of meringue onto the large baking tray. Use the back of a spoon to make a small crevice in the center of each meringue.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F (120 C) and place the meringues in the oven to bake for 45 minutes up to an hour (or until slightly golden). Baking times vary depending on the size of the meringue. Since we are baking mini pavlovas, the meringue batter should bake quicker.
- Turn off the oven and let the meringues cool in the oven for 1 hour. Do not open the door until 1 hour is up. End result should create a dry and crisp crust for each meringue. While the pavlovas are cooling, make your whip topping.
For the Topping:
- Place chilled heavy whipping cream in a cold bowl of a stand mixer or electric mixer.
- Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, then whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 -3 minutes. Coconut whip frosting may be substituted, but note that it is heavier than whipped cream and could cause pavlovas to crack a bit.
- Once the cream is spreadable, gently spread the whipped cream on top of each pavlova.
- Top with sliced strawberries and any additional fruit of choice. Optional honey to drizzle.
- Store extra whip cream covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
As much as I would love it to, and I keep trying, this recipe will not work with a sugar-free fine sugar.
*Due to various egg sizes, it’s best to measure the liquid of the egg whites.
**To make your own caster sugar, grind granulated sugar in a blender or food processor until ultra fine.
***High Altitude Tip: While traditionally a pavlova would include cornflour or no starch at all, because I’m baking at a high altitude the cornstarch will help the egg whites to stay firm. I also reduced the sugar by 1/4 cup.
Make-ahead tip – The meringue batter can be made beforehand and stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Do not bake until ready to serve.
- Category: dessert
- Method: oven
Keywords: pavlova, egg whites, dessert, desserts for one, gluten free dessert, meringue
So, there you have it, a super simple mini pavlova to satisfy all your fancy spring dessert needs.
Let me know if you make this recipe and what you’d like to see next!