Ecuadorian Vanilla Bean Pavlova
Vanilla Bean Pavlova with Berries and Vanilla Whipped Cream
If you’ve never made pavlovas, say “hello” to your new favorite dessert.
Essentially a meringue (a composition of eggs and sugar that has been heavily aerated), pavlovas are sweet discs that can be baked and assembled like a layer cake or served in smaller, individual portions. You can top them with whipped cream, ice cream, sorbet, or yogurt, and garnish with anything you like – berries, nuts, coconut flakes, or citrus curd.
These pavlovas are the individual variety, ramped up with a fresh-scraped vanilla bean – which lends an unmistakable flavor and the charm of those black specks scattered throughout.
We’ve topped them with freshly whipped cream – flavored with pure vanilla extract – and a handful of blueberries and raspberries.
This is truly a dessert that is way easier than its impressive looks would suggest. The meringues can be made several days ahead and the whipped cream early in the day. Simply assemble prior to serving or have guests create their own!
And don’t fret about making meringues – the process is actually very simple. We’ve included all the tips you’ll need below, and guarantee you’ll be turning them out on the regular!
Vanilla Bean Pavlovas
For the Pavlova:
1 cup granulated sugar, divided in half
1 vanilla bean
4 large egg whites, at room temperature (cold egg whites do not whip up as well)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
For the Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees; line two baking sheets with parchment paper
Place 1 cup sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise, and scrape out the seeds by running the back of a paring knife along the length of the opening. Add the seeds to the sugar, and pulse a few times to evenly distribute (alternatively, you can place the seeds and sugar in a bowl and use your fingers to rub the seeds in).
Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until the surface of the whites is completely covered in tiny bubbles, with no “hole” in the center. Add the cream of tartar and raise the speed to medium. When tracks begin to form, add the vanilla sugar – one tablespoon at a time. When all of the sugar has been added, raise the speed to high and beat until the whites are glossy, and hold firm peaks when the whisk is lifted.
Use a large spoon to dollop the meringue onto your prepared baking sheets, creating discs that are about 5” in diameter. Bake for 2 hours, then turn off the oven and cool the meringues in the oven with the door ajar for 1 hour.
Whip the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla extract, untill soft peaks form.
Place one pavlova on each plate and press the center gently with the back of a spoon. Dollop some whipped cream into the depression, and top with the berries. Pavlova also goes great with any seasonal fruits and berries and other sweet treats. Try one today and let us know what you think.