berries dessert meringue pavlova

Berry Pavlovas with Mascarpone Cream

Several years ago, we were visiting some friends in Switzerland. We’d just had the most amazing day touring Grindelwald and nearby Meiringen, enjoying the fresh air and the beautiful mountains. Unbeknownst to me at the time, even though I’d been to Switzerland before, it is the birthplace of the meringue. The tiny little town, Meiringen, was where they are said to originate and they definitely pride themselves in making the world’s best meringues.

At the end of the day, our friends made us the most amazing dinner. After a little while, they brought out dessert. It was so simple– just meringues and whipped cream. I’m not going to say I was skeptical, but my interest was definitely piqued. I’d never had the combo together before.

They put two meringues on a plate and put whipped cream in the middle, kind of a like a sideways sandwich. Once I took my first bite, I was hooked! Hooked, I tell you. The whipped cream wasn’t even sweetened and it still tasted amazing. To this day, meringues and whipped cream remains one of my all-time favorite combinations. It is the ultimate simple dessert and it’s all about textures.

If you want to try the combo, then making pavlovas is definitely for you. They are fluffy, crispy meringues topped with cream and your choice of toppings, whether it’s fruit, chocolate or even caramel. It’s all up to you! Pretty cool, isn’t it?

If you’ve made french meringue before, you’ll find this process familiar. Whip the whites until they are just to soft peaks, then slowly add the sugar mixture and beat until stiff peaks. After a low and slow bake in the oven, they can be stored for a day or two before you use them.

I decided to add mascarpone cheese to the cream on these because, honestly, it’s mascarpone. And up until this point in my life I’ve always believed that it was a little overrated because all of the sudden it seemed like it was everywhere (maybe it’s because Giada talks about it so much? Only kidding, haha) but it totally lives up to the hype. I love the very subtle tanginess and sturdiness it gives to the cream. I very lightly sweeten the cream mixture because of the sweetness of the berries and the pavlovas.

According to my Instastories poll (which hello, is totally scientific and represents the whole of the world population) many of you probably haven’t tried this tasty little dish. Let’s change this, shall we?

Another bonus! You can make these basically any size that you’d like. Make one nine inch round or make eight little ones (as I did). Honestly, I prefer the mini versions because there is no cutting of the meringue but the large pavlovas can be total show stoppers.

Just a few tips to make sure your pavlovas turn out awesome: first, make sure your bowl and whip are squeaky clean. As annoying as it is, even a little smudge of something greasy can affect the meringue. Also, it may seem like forever until your whites get to stiff peak. But take your time, be patient, and keep checking until you get there. After you add the last bit of sugar, you’ll probably be whipping for up to ten minutes.

And lastly, assemble these right before you eat them. Meringues don’t like moisture and as soon as you start adding the toppings, the pavlovas will start to break down. On the other hand, the cream mixture can be made up to a day before, but the berry mixture should really only be made up to 30 minutes before.

Let’s get on with the recipe, shall we?

Berry Pavlovas with Mascarpone Cream

A light, simple dessert perfect for spring and summer

Keyword berries, dessert, meringue, pavlova, raspberries, strawberries
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8


For the pavlovas:

  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar

For the berry mixture:

  • 2 1/2 cups berries (you can use a combo of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries if you'd like)
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

For the mascarpone cream:

  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2/3 cup mascarpone
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


For the pavlovas:

  1. Place oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat oven to 250 F. On a piece of parchment paper, trace eight circles evenly  (you can use a drinking glass or a pint mason jar). If you're doing one large pavlova, trace one large nine inch circle. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking sheet, then set aside. 

    Mix the granulated sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl and set aside. Mix together the vanilla and vinegar and set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg whites and slowly start whipping. Start at medium low speed and increase to medium when the egg whites start to get foamy. When the whites are soft peak stage and you can see a trail in the whites, slowly start adding the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, waiting a few seconds after each addition and increasing the speed as you go. By the the time you're done adding the sugar, you should be at the highest speed on your mixer. Continue whipping until the whites are at stiff peak.

    Once the whites have reached stiff peak, turn off the mixer and add the vanilla and vinegar mix. Beat for an additional 20 seconds after to make sure it is incorporated.

    Spread the pavlova mixture evenly into the eight circles using an offset spatula, making a little dip in the middle, sort of like a nest. Bake for 50-60 minutes. The pavlovas should be dry to the touch when they are done baking. Turn off the oven, prop open the door, and allow them to dry out in the oven for another hour.

For the berry mixture:

  1. Mix all ingredients together 30 minutes before the pavlovas are done baking to allow the berries to macerate.

For the mascarpone cream:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and mix until just combined, then slowly add the mascarpone in a few additions until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. 

To assemble:

  1. Take one pavlova and top with mascarpone cream, followed by a scoop of the berry mixture. Serve immediately.


pavlova base recipe from the kitchn.


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