First off, thank you so so much to everyone who reached out to me + commented on my previous post. It means a lot, and I can’t tell you how much your kind words, your personal stories, and your support means to me. I appreciate it more than you know <3 Secondly, we’re nearing the end of spring and about to welcome the beginning of summer, so I thought it was fitting to share this bright, zesty, and sunshine-y passionfruit pavlova recipe with you all to welcome in the long days + luscious flavors of the coming season. Passionfruit is one of my absolute *favorite* fruits, and it grows really well in California, where I lived for a time in my twenties. It’s also an absolutely breathtaking vine with positively WILD looking flowers, so if you have a garden and live in a climate warm enough to grow it (USDA zones 9-11), I highly recommend it!
The flavor of the passionfruit is somewhere between a mango and a lemon—slightly tart, but also with a semi-sweet tropical taste and a hint of floral complexity mixed in there. In short—it’s an absolute delight. And this particular flavor lends itself really well to being used in a curd, which combines sugar with butter and egg yolks to create a creamy and fruity spread. Because the passionfruit curd is pretty tangy, it pairs *very* nicely with the hyper-sweet pavlova. On its own or paired with typically sweet fruits, pavlova is usually too sugary for me. But when you add a little whipped cream on top, and then a tangy curd like passionfruit & lemon, the combination of flavors and textures is SO well-balanced and refreshing. Passionfruit pavlova = heaven. I can see why a hot country like Australia invented it!
Now, I’m not going to lie to you, there’s a LOT of nuance when it comes to making pavlova. The texture should be crunchy on the outside, but soft and marshmallow-y on the inside, and ideally it should not form cracks, or start “weeping”, which is when the cracks seep out a sugary syrup mixture. I’ve made a lot of pavlova over the years, some great, some ugly, but they all tasted good. So even if yours end up a bit cracked, don’t beat yourself up about it. But if you want to make a positively perfect-looking pavlova, here are my key tips:
Top Tips for a Perfect Passionfruit Pavlova
- Use superfine sugar. This is a highly refined sugar that’s somewhere between granulated and powdered sugar, and it dissolves faster in the meringue mixture and helps keep the structure of the meringue intact.
- When you’re beating the meringue in the stand mixer, don’t rush it. It’s better to beat starting a low speed speed, gradually increasing to medium-high speed, for a longer time than to beat at a high speed from the get-go for a shorter time. Beating at a lower speed for longer helps develop the teeeeeeny tiny air bubbles that create that signature marshmallow-y texture inside the pavlova, and help keep the structure strong.
- Do NOT remove the pavlova from the oven immediately after baking. The cracks and structural issues develop when the temperature of the pavlova changes quickly, so when the baking time is over, turn off the oven, leave the oven door CLOSED, and let it cool to room temperature over several hours inside the oven before removing it.
Those are the biggest takeaways I’ve found, and if you follow those (and the recipe, of course), you should be alright. And like I said, even if there’s some cracks, it will still taste great, so don’t sweat the small stuff. And if you want to make yours extra fancy-looking, you can whip up some candied lemons to put on top, and I have the recipe for those in this post. Enjoy, my friends!
Passionfruit and Lemon Pavlova
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 egg whites
- 1 2/3 cups superfine sugar aka caster sugar
Passionfruit and Lemon Curd
- 1/2 cup passionfruit pulp with seeds is fine strain out seeds after comes off heat
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into individual tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whipping cream cold
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 4 ripe passionfruit
- 1/4 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.Draw an 11-inch circle on the bottom of a piece of parchment paper, then flip it over so the drawn side is facing down, and place it on a large lipped baking sheet.
- In a small bowl or cup, whisk together the cornstarch, lemon juice, and vanilla extract until combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites at low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium. When the whites start to hold soft peaks, you can begin adding the sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, and wait until that sugar has dissolved before you add next couple tablespoons. Continue beating until glossy, satiny peaks begin to form. This whole process will take about 15 minutes. Do NOT beat the egg whites at too high of a speed.
- Add the cornstarch mixture to meringue mixture and beat for another minute until cornstarch mixture is incorporated.
- Lift up each corner of the parchment paper and dab a small teaspoon-sized blob of meringue on the corner of the large baking sheet, then press the parchment paper back down firmly onto the bit of meringue (doing this on each of the four corners of the baking sheet will keep the parchment paper from sliding around while you spread your pavlova shape).
- Now you have two shaping options:
- Option #1 (easier): Using a rubber spatula, spread the remaining meringue into a 9-inch circle shape using the tracing to guide you. Try to make the edges of the pavlova slightly higher than the center to allow space for the toppings later on. Use an offset spatula to make vertical lines around the edge of the pavlova, starting your offset spatula at the bottom of the pavlova and then lifting straight up, and repeating all the way around the edges of the pavlova (optional).
Option #2 (harder, looks like the photos in this post): Use a pastry bag fitted with a very large circle tip. Starting in the center of the pavlova, pipe one line out to the edge of the circle. Start right next to the other line at the center and do it again. Continue this until you have a starburst pattern and have filled the circle. Now, do it again on top for a second layer, but don't go all the way to the edge of the circle, instead stopping about 1 inch short to allow the 1st layer underneath to show. Use the back of a large spoon to make a small bowl shape that's about 3 or 4 inches in diameter across in the center of the pavlova to allow space for the toppings later on.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 90 minutes. Turn off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool to room temperature over several hours. Pavlovas will deflate and collapse if cooled too quickly. Once COMPLETELY cooled to room temperature, remove the pavlova from the oven.
Passionfruit and Lemon Curd
Place 1 or 2 inches of water in the bottom of a double boiler. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and place the upper pot on top. Add the passionfruit pulp, lemon juice, egg yolks, and sugar and stir with a whisk to combine. Continue gently stirring as the mixture cooks (this will prevent the egg yolks from curdling and keep the nice smooth silky texture of the curd). Eventually the mixture will thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon, (it will take about 10 minutes or so depending on the heat of your stovetop).
- Remove the upper pot of the double boiler from the heat, and add the butter pieces and stir until they're melted. Nestle a metal mesh strainer or very fine strainer over a small bowl, and strain the curd through it to remove the passionfruit seeds (it's okay to use clean hands to press the mixture through the strainer to make sure you don't waste any tasty curd). Then add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and stir until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a clean glass jar and allow to cool to room temperature before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Any extra curd will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 week.
- Place the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start beating at low speed and gradually increase to medium-high speed, mixing until medium peaks form, and any swirl shape you make with the back of a spoon stays put in the cream. Add the lemon zest and mix at low speed *just* until combined.
Place the whipped cream on top of the pavlova in the center, spread it out into a small circle. Add the curd on top of that, a spoonful at a time, until the desired amount of curd is added. Cut all the fresh passionfruit in half, scoop out the pulp of two of the passionfruit and drizzle it over the pavlova. Place the remaining halves cut-side up on top of the pavlova, sprinkle with the blueberries and chopped pistachio, and serve.