Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote

Written by Cheri of Kitchen Simplicity.

Pavlovas are a perfect Easter dessert for so many reasons. 1) The majority of the work can be done a couple of days before serving. 2) You can make individual servings or one large dessert. 3) You can top it with whatever variety of toppings you like – or even serve it buffet style with a variety of toppings and everyone can customize their own.

For these Easter pavlovas I decided to embrace spring head on. I spread the mini pavlovas into egg shapes and topped them with a bright lemon whipped cream and a tart vanilla-rhubarb compote. If you prefer something more traditional you can form these into a round shape to resemble an Easter basket instead.

Pavlovas might look and sound intimidating but they’re really quite simple to make. Follow the tips below for extra assurance of success.

Tips to a Perfect Pavlova

1. Know when it’s done.

A perfect pavlova should be crisp on the outside with a soft marshmallowy interior. A pavlova should not be crisp and dried all the way through so take care not to over-bake it.

Troubleshooting: If little spots form on the crust after cooling it was cooked too long.  If the inside is runny after cooling it hasn’t been baked long enough. The best way to tell is by feel – let it bake until the top is dry to the touch.

2. No browning.

The pavlova should not brown. Although it will turn a slight cream color, there should be no distinct change of color. If you notice that it’s starting to turn color, lower the temperature of the oven.

3. Volume.

When whipped egg whites are the base of a recipe you want to get as much lift and air as possible. To ensure maximum volume, use room temperature egg whites and take care that there are no yolks or grease remnants in any of the utensils, as this can weigh the egg whites down.

5. Add the sugar slowly.

To ensure that the sugar dissolves easily into the pavlova, add it slowly to the whipping egg whites (approximately 1 tablespoon at a time). Superfine sugar is best because it will dissolve more easily – you can even make your own by processing regular sugar in a food processor until fine. To make sure the sugar has dissolved into the egg whites, stop the beater and rub the mixture between your fingers; if there’s any grittiness, keep whisking.

6. Keep it dry.

Store the baked and cooled pavlovas at room temperature in an airtight container for several days (I’ve heard up to five days, but it depends on the humidity). It’s important to keep them away from humidity as this will make them go soft and they will spoil faster. Likewise, it is best to top them just before serving for best presentation and texture.

Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote
5.0 from 3 reviews
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Recipe type: Dessert
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 8
Ingredients
Mini Pavlovas
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Lemon Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon caster (superfine) sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest
Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote
  • 3 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeded
Instructions
For the Pavlova
  1. Preheat oven to 300º F.
  2. Whisk egg whites on medium-high until soft peaks form. With mixer running, slowly add sugar, a little at a time. Whisk until stiff, glossy peaks form (as pictured at the top of the post). Add cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 1/2 cup measuring cup, spoon mounds of the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, smoothing it out and forming it into an egg or other desired shape.
  4. Place in oven and lower heat to 250º F. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the outside is dry to the touch. Shut off heat and allow to cool completely in the oven.
  5. Once cool, store in an airtight container until using.
  6. To serve: Smack the top with a spoon, fill with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote.
For the Lemon Whipped Cream
  1. Whip cream to soft peaks.
  2. Add sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest.
  3. Whip just until stiff peaks form.
  4. Serve immediately.
For the Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote
  1. Place rhubarb and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until sugar has mostly dissolved and rhubarb has started releasing its juices.
  2. Add vanilla bean and seeds. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and keep mixture at a simmer, stirring often, until rhubarb has softened but the mixture is still chunky.
  3. Serve warm or make ahead and serve cold from the refrigerator.

 

Have you ever made a pavlova? What are you favorite toppings? Any extra tips?

About Cheri

Cheri is a mother of two and a Canadian expat living in Norway. With a passion for quick and simple food, Cheri shares recipes, tips and tricks on her food blog, KitchenSimplicity.com.

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Comments

  1. Easter Pavlovas with Lemon Whipped Cream and Vanilla-Rhubarb Compote sounds delish. Thanks for the recipe.

  2. Rossalie says:

    This looks really delicious and I think a lot of people would want to try this at home for easter…

  3. So lovely, Cheri! I made three trays of pavlovas yesterday and plan to top some with lemon curd and fresh berries, and others with whipped cream and Mini Eggs for the kids.

  4. A light and delicious dessert that everyone would like, I’m sure. It’s pretty, too! Great idea!
    CherylK’s last post: Tea Bag Tote Tutorial

  5. I have contemplated on serving pavlova for Easter. I usually make one for Thanksgiving. They are such a beautiful, elegant and light dessert.
    Melissa @ Baking For The Boys’s last post: Wiped Clean (Recipe: Cookies & Cream Layer Cake)

  6. This looks lovely! I have never made pavlova before and will definitely give this a try!

  7. Lesley Kuhn says:

    With a gluten free grandchild in the family, we are always on the look out for treats, especially at times when everyone else gets traditional items. These look like we can start a new tradition for him.

  8. As a child, we used to have these for very special occasions, but we called them Schaum Tortes and they were filled with sweetened fresh strawberries topped with whipped cream. It’s been ages since I have had them, thank you for reviving special memories!

  9. Steph (The Cheapskate Cook) says:

    To my knowledge, I’ve never actually had pavlovas, but they sound fantastic. Are they a traditional Easter dessert? Where did they come from?
    Steph (The Cheapskate Cook)’s last post: Peanut Butter Chicken

  10. Mmm, love pavlovas! I had these on occasion growing up but really grew to love them in New Zealand. They are a traditional Kiwi dessert, topped with whipped cream and kiwifruit. I love them with kiwifruit and strawberries.
    They are super simple, always look elegant and are a great gluten free dessert. =)

    Now, I must try out your toppings! They look delish!
    Breanne’s last post: March Adventures

  11. I just made my first meringue/pavlovas this weekend with strawberries and rhubarb. But I think they were a bit dried out. They turned cream, but didn’t brown – so at least I got that part right! You made them beautifully :)
    Megan {Country Cleaver}’s last post: Meringue with Strawberry and Rhubarb Sauce

  12. So making most of this (no rhubarb here yet) for Easter. I’ll probably serve it with fresh fruit instead of the rhubarb compote.

  13. Oh Yum! What could be better at Easter than pavlova AND rhubarb? Thanks:)

  14. I’ve never made a pavlova but I remember my cousin making them a ton when I was growing up. I always felt like it was a special occasion when she made them!
    Alison’s last post: Tuesday’s Gone

  15. These look beautiful. Can you believe I’ve never heard of pavlova? I want to try them!
    Cindy @ Once Upon a Loaf’s last post: Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook Review (and PB&J Bars)

  16. These look absolutely gorgeous. Pavlova is the perfect Easter dessert.
    Shaina’s last post: Tarragon Deviled Eggs with Capers and Crispy Ham

  17. I MUST challenge myself and make these… your directions are so good, I think I might be able to do it! :)
    Amanda’s last post: Butterscotch Peanut Butter Cake

  18. Thanks! I was planning on making pavlovas for Easter and was searching for a recipe. These look fantastic! I’m planning on making nests with cake baked in eggshells to make dessert even more festive. (http://www.cupcakeproject.com/2011/04/easter-cupcakes-baked-in-real-egg.html)

  19. are these Greek? I assume they are from the name, but I just want to make sure
    Claire’s last post: Kid Quotes

  20. Thank you for the great tutorial!
    Amy’s last post: a lovely spring dip in my favorite stoneware and a giveaway link

  21. Chef Mat (Trovatino Cafe) says:

    Tip! For maximum lift with your egg whites do the following ( gets rid of all germs soap residue or oil left over from previous recipes):

    Wash your bowl and whisk with soap and dry well!!!

    Then add a handfull of salt and water, scrub and rinse. Dry again with a paper towel!!!

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