A fruit pavlova is born of contradicting truths. The juicy crush of summer berries and crispy chew of meringue were made for each other, but summer is also a tricky time of year to coax egg whites into this crispy, cloudy form. Here’s how to stick the landing on this dessert.
Check the humidex
If there were ever an indoor recipe that required a weather check, a pavlova would be it. Try to avoid making it on sticky days; humid air forces moisture into a meringue, making it prone to collapse.
Give yourself plenty of time
The key to a meringue’s crisp, airy texture is dryness. You can encourage this by leaving your baked pavlova in the turned-off oven with the door slightly open as it cools down and dries out completely.
Keep it fat-free
Cleanly separated eggs and a thoroughly washed and dried bowl are crucial to helping a meringue whip up nicely. Any residual fat molecules from a broken yolk or a previous baking project can burst a meringue’s bubble.
Separate your eggs while they’re cold
Crack and separate eggs straight out of the fridge, when the yolks are firmer and less likely to break, then let the whites get up to room temperature before whipping. Room-temperature egg whites beat up faster than cold ones, while a broken yolk will introduce deflating fat into the mix.
Use a glass or metal bowl
The best way to guarantee a grease-free bowl is to use a glass or metal one. Plastic is porous and can retain trace amounts of oil.
Cut down on your whipping time by adding sugar slowly, bit by bit or in a thin, steady stream.
Use superfine sugar
Superfine sugar— which is softer than granulated but not quite as powdery as icing sugar—will give your meringue a smooth, glossy sheen. Don’t have any on hand? Take your regular white sugar for a very quick spin in the blender.