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My blueberry pavlova is a brown sugar pavlova meringue with white chocolate, filled with tropical cream and fresh blueberries. Perfect for making ahead of an event and sure to be an epic show-stopper!
Recipe for the Perfect Brown Sugar Pavlova Base
The meringue base to a pavlova is a super simple two ingredient recipe. All you need to make a good sturdy meringue are egg whites and sugar.
For my brown sugar meringue, I use these two ingredients, but I use two types of sugar. So my three ingredient recipe calls for:
- 3 egg whites - ensure these are separated well and you don't have any egg yolk mixed in! Egg yolk will impact the whisking of the meringue. It may cause discolouration and problems whipping stiff peaks.
- ⅔ cup caster sugar - also known as superfine granulated sugar in the US
- ¼ cup light brown muscovado sugar, tightly packed
The white sugar will help to add glossiness and lightness to the meringue while the brown sugar brings a richness with its light molasses-y flavor.
How to Make Pavlova Base for Blueberry Pavlova
The process for making the pavlova meringue is very straightforward, but the baking does take time. This is because you are essentially drying out the meringue rather than trying to bake it in a conventional sense.
The key to making a crisp meringue is to bake low and slow.
Step 1: All ingredients in a mixing bowl
Start by placing all of your sugars and egg whites into a mixing bowl. This needs to be a heatproof mixing bowl as you will need to fit this over a small saucepan (see the image below for example). Ideally, use the metal bowl of an electric stand mixer.
Step 2: DIY double boiler to dissolve sugar
Create a DIY double boiler with a small saucepan, filled with about an inch of water. The mixing bowl should be able to fit snuggly over this pan, without the base sitting too deeply into the pan. The base of your mixing bowl should not touch the water.
Place your DIY double boiler over a low heat on the stovetop, so that the water simmers. As you bring the water to a simmer, whisk the egg whites and sugars until the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should become a bit frothy, warm and thickened. This takes around 10 minutes.
Step 3: Whisk to stiff peaked meringue
Once ready, remove the mixing bowl from the pan and use the electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or an electric hand mixer) to beat the egg whites and sugar to stiff peaks. The mixture should become glossy and very thick. This takes about 5 minutes on a medium high setting of a stand mixer.
When you have achieved your nice sturdy stiff peaks, it is time to fashion a pavlova base.
Step 4: Spooning out meringue nest
For a single large pavlova, simply spoon the mixture out onto a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet and spread gently to form a circle about 9" (23cm) in diameter.
Form a nest shape by lightly pushing the meringue from the centre towards the edges and allow the edges to be thicker. This will help give you a place for your cream and toppings.
Quick Tip on Preparing a Template for Pavlovas
If you want to make your pavlovas a bit more precise, you can achieve this by drawing a template on your parchment paper prior to spooning out the meringue.
Simply use a dark pencil or marker to trace around a cake pan or cup of the relevant size for your meringues. Draw the circle(s) onto the parchment paper. Flip the piece of parchment over, so that the guidelines are on the bottom and will not directly come in contact with your meringue. This will prevent any contamination if you were not using a food safe pen. If you did use a food safe pen, it is still good to flip the paper over to avoid any unwanted colour mixing with the meringue.
If you are using a silicone sheet, you can find ones with guidelines pre-printed onto the sheets. I have this set which includes useful template mats. Alternatively, you can cut templates out of parchment paper, setting these underneath the silicone mat, use these as guides.
Place your meringue base into a preheated 250°F (120C/100C Fan) oven. The beauty of meringues is that the baking part is a very hands off process. Simply set yourself a timer for three hours and carry on with your day!
Avoid checking the oven too frequently, as you want the temperature to stay as consistent as possible to avoid cracking the meringue.
Once three hours is up, turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside to cool completely. For me this took around 2 hours, but you can leave it in for longer (even overnight).
White Chocolate Layer for the Blueberry Pavlova
This pavlova recipe is partially inspired by an amazing fig pavlova in the Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh cookbook Sweet. One of my favourite parts of their pavlova recipe is a dark chocolate layer on top of the meringue base. For my zesty blueberry pavlova, I felt white chocolate would be the best compliment!
Once your meringue base is cooled melt your white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over top a pan of simmering water. Spread this carefully over the centre of the nest and allow to set. This takes a couple of hours.
Make Ahead Pavlova
Since the meringue takes several hours (albeit of hands off time) to make, this is best made a day before you intend to serve it. I would recommend making the meringue in the morning, allowing it to cool through the afternoon and then coat with the chocolate in the evening, letting it set overnight.
If you are making this for an event and you have a busy schedule, this can easily be made up to three days before you intend to serve it. Wrap the chocolate coated meringue in aluminium foil loosely so as not to crack it. Leave at room temperature to store.
Do not assemble with cream and toppings until ready to serve, to keep this at its freshest!
Tropical Cream Filling
Ingredients for Zesty Cream Filling
For my blueberry pavlova, I've paired fresh blueberries with a tropical cream. This cream is four ingredients:
- Heavy whipping cream or double cream.
- Crème fraîche
- Vanilla extract - I used Tahitian vanilla as this has a lighter more fruity flavour than bourbon vanilla. If you don't have access to Tahitian vanilla though, you can certainly substitute with other vanillas!
- Passionfruit and mango curd. This curd is a lovely tropical flavour, but if you're not able to find the same one, you can also replace with more conventional lemon curd for a similarly zesty lemon blueberry pavlova.
Making Tropical Whipped Cream
To make this whipped cream, add your cream, crème fraîche and vanilla to a mixing bowl and beat or whip until stiff peaks form. Take care to avoid over-beating as this will make your cream lumpy and less glossy.
Add the passionfruit and mango curd (or lemon curd if you are using) to the cream and fold to incorporate. You don't want to remove too much air and you also don't want to over beat. I like seeing a bit of a swirl in mine!
This cream can keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days until needed.
Quick and Easy Blueberry Sauce
Along with the fresh blueberries, a quick blueberry sauce adds a nice touch to the top of this pavlova. Taking about half a cup of the fresh blueberries, cook these over a medium heat with half a tablespoon of sugar. Stir and mash the blueberries with the back of a spoon to help these break down and release their juices. Once the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has been boiling for a few minutes, remove your sauce from the heat and allow to cool.
This can also be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
Assembling Blueberry Pavlova
It is best to assemble pavlova just before it is served. This helps ensure all parts are at their best!
First, spoon the cream into the centre of the nest and spread gently over the set white chocolate.
Next add the fresh blueberries and drizzle the blueberry sauce.
Finish with a sprinkle of flaked almonds.
FAQs for Blueberry Pavlova
Absolutely! To make my blueberry pavlova dairy free, simply substitute the creams for dairy free alternatives. The crème fraîche can be substituted with a dairy free version or with a dairy free yoghurt as the main purpose of this ingredient is to add a touch of tartness.
You will also want to ensure that you are using a dairy free white chocolate. If you struggle to find one, you can also leave this out and you will still have a delicious dairy free blueberry pavlova.
The constituent parts of a pavlova keep individually very well for several days, making this a great make ahead dessert. The meringue base, cream and blueberry sauce can all be stored separately for around 3 days and maintain freshness.
If you are making this ahead, do not assemble until you are ready to serve. The moisture in the cream and toppings, along with storing the assembled pavlova in the refrigerator, will start to make the meringue soggy if assembled too far in advance.
That said, leftovers are fine to keep stored in the fridge for a day or two! My husband is still happily eating a pavlova I assembled two days ago, which is in the refrigerator and still retaining some of its crispness.
You can freeze the meringue base for up to three months in a freezer safe container, but should not freeze the whole dessert assembled. The cream and fruits are best prepared fresh for this dessert.
If you like this dessert, you might also like:
Tropical Blueberry Pavlova
Ingredients for Brown Sugar Meringue Base
- 3 large egg whites
- ⅔ cup caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar
- ¼ cup light brown muscovado sugar, packed
- 2 oz white chocolate, chopped
Ingredients for Tropical Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream or double cream
- ⅓ cup crème fraîche
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon mango and passionfruit curd or use lemon curd
Ingredients for Toppings
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- ½ tablespoon caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar
- ¼ cup flaked almonds
Instructions for Brown Sugar Meringue Base
- Begin by preheating your oven to 250°F (120C/100C Fan) and line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Place the egg whites, caster sugar and brown sugar in a heatproof bowl (ideally, the bowl for an electric mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment).
- Use a small, deep-sided saucepan, that you are able to set the mixing bowl over without it sitting in too deep and touching the bottom. Pour about an inch of water into the pan and bring this to a simmer. Place the mixing bowl on top of the saucepan (it should not touch the water). Keep the water simmering while you whisk the egg whites and sugar by hand continuously until these are frothy and the sugar melted.
- Remove the mixing bowl from the saucepan and fit this back in the electric stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites and sugar on a high speed until these are cool, thick and glossy (about 5-7 minutes).
- When ready, spoon the meringue out onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a circle about 9" or 23cm in diameter. Create a bit of a nest by pushing the meringue to the edges, allowing these to be slightly taller than the centre.
- Place this in the centre of your preheated oven and bake for three hours. At the end of the three hours, turn the oven off and allow to cool completely in the oven (usually around 2 or 3 hours depending on your oven).
- When your meringue is just about ready to be removed from the oven at the end of the cooling, melt your white chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Spread this gently over the central nest of the meringue and set aside to cool at room temperature until set (usually about 2 or leave overnight).
Instructions for the Tropical Whipped Cream
- Place the cream, vanilla and crème fraîche in a large bowl and whip together until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overwhip.
- Add the mango and passionfruit curd (or lemon curd) and fold through gently.
Instructions for Preparing Blueberry Sauce
- Place about ½ cup of your fresh blueberries in a small saucepan with ½ tablespoon of sugar. Cook this over a medium heat, stirring and mashing down the blueberries occasionally until they release their juices and begin to boil (about 8 minutes). Remove from the stovetop and allow to cool.
Instructions for Assembly
- Before serving, assemble your dessert: fill the nest of the meringue with the tropical cream. Spread a layer of fresh blueberries over top of the cream and then drizzle the blueberry sauce over top. Finish with a sprinkle of flaked almonds.