This is a bit of a crazy twist on a more traditional pavlova, its a Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Pavlova with Fresh Fruit. Normally pavlova is topped with whipped cream, which I love. Being a real West Country girl fresh cream is part of everyday life. But Michael is not a fan!
He just won’t eat it, he finds it far too rich. So I am always looking for different ways to alter desserts that should be served with cream, like pavlova.
So I topped it with a rich vanilla bean cream cheese frosting instead, for a couple of reasons. Its smooth and creamy like real cream but tangy, so not as rich as fresh cream. My in-laws (who receive mass amounts of my baking so I don’t eat it all myself) love cream cheese frosting, and they would be receiving at least half of this pavlova.
And Michael also likes it! 😀
You can use any fruit to top this, I just happened to have some blueberries, mango and cherries in my fridge. But any fruit you like can be used to top this pavlova.
I know some people are nervous of making meringues and pavlovas, but they are easy to make. They just take a bit of time because they have to be baked low and slow, so make this early in the day when you don’t need the oven anytime soon 😀
You can of course use a shop bought meringue case but give making them from scratch a go. With these foolproof steps you won’t go wrong; you will get a meringue which is crunchy on the outside and soft and marshmallowy in the middle.
The sugar is gently warmed up before adding it to your egg whites, this helps it dissolve into the egg whites so much better and therefore your meringues don’t weep when baked. And the cornflour and white wine vinegar / lemon juice helps to give it a lovely marshmallowy centre.
Follow these steps and you won’t fail.
The vanilla bean cream cheese frosting is my standard recipe for this frosting, its smooth, creamy and just a little bit tangy. If you live in the UK and have had issues making cream cheese frosting in the past check out this post for tips on how to avoid it becoming a gloopy runny mess.
So grab your whisk and get beating, this is a great alternative dessert to make for those who don’t really like cream.
- 380 grams caster sugar (superfine), (2 cups)
- 6 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste - vanilla extract will work here as well
- 1 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (lemon juice will work too)
- 55 grams unsalted butter - softened, (1/4 cup)
- 290 grams Icing sugar (Confectioners sugar) - sieved, (2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 240 grams full fat cream cheese just softened, (8 ounces)
- Fresh fruit of your choice - I used blueberries, mango and cherries.
- Turn your oven on to 200C / 400F / Gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and pour your sugar on to it and pop it in your oven to warm up.
- Add your egg whites to your stand-mixer bowl and slowly at first start to whisk them. Once bubbles start to appear then turn up the speed on your mixer until you have reached stiff peak stage and it is thick and shinny about 5 minutes.
- Turn your oven off and retrieve your sugar, it should be nicely warm at this stage.
- Pour half of it into your beaten egg whites and whisk for a minute or two until the mixture feels smooth between your fingers.
- Add your vanilla bean paste, cornflour (cornstarch) and white wine vinegar / lemon juice, whisk for a few seconds and then add your remaining sugar and whisk for a further 5 to 7 minutes until you have a stiff shinny smooth mixture. You are looking to have all the sugar dissolved into your egg whites. Rub a little of it between your fingers it should feel smooth and not grainy. If it is a little grainy whisk for another minute or two.
- While the meringue is whisking turn your oven back on to 150C / 300F / Gas mark 2.
- Using a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, carefully pour your uncooked meringue into the centre of the baking sheet.
- Using a rubber spatular or large pallet knife very gently spread it out in a circular motion so the pavlova is about the size of a dinner plate and about 1 to 1 and ½ inches thick. Also slightly dip it in the middle so the cream and fruit sit in the dip.
- Pop it on the bottom shelf of your oven and leave it for 1 hour and 15 minutes. After this time check on it, it should be just off white and sound a little hollow if gently tapped and feel firm when touched. Another quick test is to try and lift the pavlova, it should easily come away from the parchment paper. If it doesn't then leave it for another 15 minutes and check again.
- Once fully baked turn off the oven and leave the pavlova inside the oven for a further 30 minutes.
- Once the time is up take it out of the oven and while it is fully cooling down make the frosting.
- Beat your butter till it is very light and fluffy.
- Add in the icing sugar and mix till very well combined. The icing will become very thick but this is fine.
- Mix in the vanilla bean paste.
- If you are using cream cheese bought in the UK it has a lot of water in it and it needs to be drained a little otherwise it will turn your frosting into a gloopy mess. Check out the link above on what to do.
- Add in the cream cheese to the mixer and beat till it is well mixed in and smooth & creamy. About 2 minutes on a low to medium speed.
- Spoon the vanilla cream cheese frosting into the centre of the cooled pavlova and gently spread it out to about an inch from the edge.
- Wash, chop, peel, de-pip your fruit and place it onto the top of your pavlova. Pop in the fridge for 1 hour before serving.
- Like most meringue based desserts if kept away from toppings and filling the meringue will keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Once you have added toppings and filling its best eaten on that day.
- But kept in the fridge in a container it will last for up to three days. But the meringue will soften more and more over time.