Berry Pavlova Roulade

published Feb 22, 2021
4th of july
Berry Pavlova Roulade

This berry-studded dessert is light, airy, and impressive.

Serves8

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Credit: Angela Chung
Credit: Kitchn

Welcome to the fourth and final recipe of Weekend Baking Adventure. For each week in February, we’re publishing a new recipe on Monday. Then, that Wednesday, our guest baker will meet you on Instagram Live at 12 p.m. EST to demo the recipe. For Week 3, we’re very excited about this Berry Pavlova Roulade from Zoë François‘s newest book, Zoë Bakes Cakes.

The pavlova is the ballerina of the baking world. Literally. It was named for a Russian dancer who was visiting Australia. (Or was it New Zealand? Both countries claim the dessert’s origin.) Over the years, I have played with the shape. Oftentimes, I pile and shape the meringue to give it a more elegant look, reminiscent of the tutus that Pavlova, the dancer, would have worn. In this version, I spread out the meringue, bake it, and roll it up like a jelly roll.

This recipe is simple to make, but it creates a huge impression when served. It is both rustic and elegant and is always met with amazed glee. The meringue bakes up crisp on the outside and delicately soft on the inside. I like to pair it with barely sweetened cream and fresh fruit. When it is all rolled up, the textures, flavors, and beauty of this gluten-free cake make it a total winner.

A pavlova is a great opportunity for improvisation. Use fresh berries, citrusy curd, or passion fruit — or use all of them! The options are limitless. Plus, because there’s zero flour in the meringue, pavlovas are naturally a gluten-free dessert if you need something spectacular that fits that bill. Besides, who doesn’t want to dig into a crackling, sweet cloud?

There are a few parts of this method that will set you up for success. If possible, use really fresh egg whites. They’ll make a stronger egg foam that will be less likely to crack while it bakes. The water in the mix helps to thin out the egg white protein, creating a more ethereal pavlova that will melt in your mouth. If you make your own superfine sugar, sift it first to make sure it is truly fine so it will dissolve into the eggs more easily, giving the pavlova a smoother surface. The low oven temperature is key to keeping the meringue from cracking or browning too much. An oven thermometer is a great tool to determine your oven’s temperature for sure.

Buy the book: Zoë Bakes Cakes

Tester’s Note

This meringue roulade, which is made by rolling baked marshmallowy meringue around lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh berries, is equal parts elegant and easy. When mixing the egg whites and sugar, be sure to whip them until they’re pure white, thick, and glossy — the tip of the egg white peak should stand tall when you lift the whisk attachment from the bowl without falling back onto itself.

You can bake the meringue a day in advance, and focus on assembly the next day. As it bakes, the meringue will puff outward, filling the rimmed baking sheet, and brown lightly. If you’ve made pavlova or meringue cookies with a crisp exterior and chewy inside, you may be surprised (as I was!) that this version bakes up flexible enough to be rolled. Layer whipped cream and berries over the meringue then roll into a tight spiral. When you’re ready to serve, finish with a few dollops of whipped cream and more berries on top, leaving the crackly tanned meringue roll visible. — Patty Catalano, Kitchn contributor

Berry Pavlova Roulade

This berry-studded dessert is light, airy, and impressive.

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the pavlova:

  • 5

    egg whites, at room temperature

  • 1

    pinch kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon

    cream of tartar (optional, but adds some strength if using older eggs)

  • 3 tablespoons

    cold water

  • 1 1/4 cups

    superfine sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    vinegar (white wine, cider, or distilled)

  • 4 cups

    fresh berries for filling and topping, such as raspberries, blueberries, or sliced strawberries

  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

For the whipped cream:

  • 2 cups

    cold heavy whipping cream

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons

    confectioners’ sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the pavlova:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 15 by 11-inch (jelly roll) sheet pan or rimmed baking sheet, then line it with greased parchment paper.

  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar (if using) and beat on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes.

  3. Turn the mixer speed to medium-low and drizzle in the water. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar a little at a time; this may take a minute or so. Turn the speed to high and whip until very stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes.

  4. Using the whisk attachment or a rubber spatula, gently fold the cornstarch, vanilla, and vinegar into the egg whites.

  5. Evenly spread the pavlova batter in the prepared pan.

  6. Bake until the pavlova starts to turn a light caramel color, about 25 minutes. It will puff considerably while it bakes but will settle once it is out of the oven. Let the pavlova cool completely. (Just leave it in the pan, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and cover with a clean kitchen towel for up to 1 day.)

Make the whipped cream:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla and beat on medium speed (you read that right) until just thick—it will start to leave marks from the whisk in the cream.

  2. Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using the whisk attachment, continue whipping by hand for several seconds until the cream reaches the desired consistency; this way, you can ensure the mixer won’t take it too far. Whipped cream is best used right away.

Assemble the pavlova:

  1. Dust a clean kitchen towel with confectioners’ sugar. Invert the pavlova onto the prepared towel and carefully peel off the parchment paper.

  2. Cover the pavlova with half of the whipped cream, then top with 3 cups of the berries.

  3. Using the towel to get started, roll the cake, starting at the short end, into as tight a log as you can manage. Transfer the log to a serving platter. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  4. Remove the log from the refrigerator, then top with the remaining whipped cream and remaining 1 cup berries. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted from Zoë Bakes Cakes. Copyright © 2021 by Zoë François. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House.

Credit: Kitchn