Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberries

I had been obsessed with pavlova for a long time when I started playing around with them and created this recipe for a pistachio pavlova with strawberries. It seemed as though every time I turned around Nigella Lawson was making a different flavored pavlova, each one more beautiful than the next.

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Although pavlovas have been around since the 1920’s and supposedly originated in either New Zealand or Australia (big debate topic if you live in one of those two countries!), they always make me think of Nigella. I think a pavlova suits Nigella’s style just perfectly – a beautiful dessert that seems to just happen so easily.

What is a Pavlova

A “pav” is a baked meringue that is crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy in the center like a marshmallow. It’s usually decorated with cream and fruit (especially passion fruit, kiwi or strawberries), but sometimes you’ll see them stacked on top of each other with cream in the center and on top, just like a layer cake. It’s very odd that I love pavlovas because I am not a lover of the marshmallow. I think the crispy exterior makes all the difference.

Undeocrated pistachio pavlova on a piece of parchment paper

To me, pavlovas are a mix of science and art. They are beautiful in their whimsical casual way and as such are very forgiving to the cook. There’s no need to make them a perfect circle, no tears if they crack a little before they get to the table, and they are versatile enough to accommodate lots of variations with no wrong or right flavors. I think they are the perfect dinner party dessert since they can be made in the afternoon (in fact, they do need time to properly cool) and just decorated at the last minute, again, in their whimsical casual way.

Pistachio Pavlova

In this recipe, finely ground pistachios very gently flavor the meringue and chunks of pistachio garnish the top of the pav for a pretty garnish. The strawberries can be sliced any way you like and add a burst of color that will bring everyone to the table.

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Whole Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberries with a stack of side plates and denim napkin.

Leftover Pavlova

In the very rare case that there are any leftovers, you can put the pavlova in the fridge, but it will lose all it’s crisp and simply be chewy the next day – not a bad thing, just different.

Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberries - Oven Method

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 1 h 30 m
  • Total Time: 1 h 45 m
  • Servings:
    6

Ingredients

  • ½ cup roasted salted and shelled pistachios
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Put the pistachios in a mini chopper, food processor or clean spice grinder. Pulse the nuts until you have some larger chunks as well as some fine crumbs. Set this aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until fluffy. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue to beat the egg whites until they are glossy and stiff. Pour the pistachios into a coarse strainer over the bowl of beaten egg whites, letting the fine crumbs fall through into the whites. Set the more coarse chunks aside for later. Gently fold the fine crumbs into the egg whites along with the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla.
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the egg white mixture on top in a circle about 10-inches in diameter. Transfer the pan to the oven and lower the heat to 275ºF for 1 hour. When the pavlova has finished baking, let it sit in a turned off oven for at least an hour. Then remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. When you are ready to serve, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Spread the cream on top of the pavlova and then scatter the strawberries on top randomly. Sprinkle the large chunks of pistachio on top and slice into wedges at the table.

Pistachio Pavlova with Strawberries - Air Fryer Method

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 30 m
  • Total Time: 45 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup roasted salted and shelled pistachios
  • 2 egg whites
  • ½ cup sugar
  • teaspoons cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

Instructions

  1. Put the pistachios in a mini chopper, food processor or clean spice grinder. Pulse the nuts until you have some larger chunks as well as some fine crumbs. Set this aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until fluffy. Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue to beat the egg whites until they are glossy and stiff. Pour the pistachios into a coarse strainer over the bowl of beaten egg whites, letting the fine crumbs fall through into the whites. Set the more coarse chunks aside for later. Gently fold the fine crumbs into the egg whites along with the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla. Pre-heat the air fryer to 350ºF.
  3. Cut a circle of parchment paper that is roughly 8-inches in diameter. Spread half the egg white mixture onto the parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the paper circle. Lower the parchment paper into the basket of the air fryer. (You can use an aluminum foil sling to help with this by taking a long piece of aluminum foil, folding it in half lengthwise twice until it looks like it is about 26-inches by 3-inches. Place this under the raw pavlova and hold the ends of the foil to move the parchment circle into and out of the air fryer.)
  4. Air-fry at 250ºF for 30 minutes. When the pavlova has finished baking, let it sit in the turned off air fryer for another 30 minutes. Then remove it from the air fryer basket and let it cool on a wire rack.
  5. Repeat with the remaining pavlova batter.
  6. When you are ready to serve, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Spread the cream on top of the two pavlova circles and the scatter the strawberries on top randomly or in a decorative manner. Sprinkle the large chunks of pistachio on top.
  7. You can choose to serve two smaller pavlovas or, you can make a double decker pavlova by stacking one circle on top of the other and pressing down gently. Slice into wedges to serve.
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Comments (3)Post a Reply

  1. 5 stars
    They turned out very nicely in my 5.8-qt GoWise. I did the foil sling and that really helped. Next time, I will try using my grill pan and not using the sling. They will have to be slightly smaller, and I might even get a small third one.

    I have some natural pistachio flavor, and might use that instead of vanilla next time. I just didn’t think of it in time for this first batch. I haven’t made a Pavlova in at least 20-years, so I stuck to the recipe, and it was easy.

    They also stayed put in the air fryer-I was worried about them flying around and getting the heating element covered in meringue..

    This will be a nice, light, summertime dessert, especially in the air fryer. I don’t have A/C, and cooking really heats up my kitchen unless I use the air fryer. It’ll be a nice dessert year-round, too. Thanks, Meredith! It couldn’t have come at a better time. I had been wondering if you could do a Pavlova in an air fryer, and up popped your recipe. 8)

    1. Hi Lynette. I’m not a high-altitude expert, so I might suggest “Pie in the Sky” by Susan Purdy. Her recommendation is to whip the egg whites to less than stiff peak. You also may need to leave the pavlova in the oven for a little longer at 275ºF. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

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