Crispy on the outside and marshmallow-soft on the inside, this blackberry, lime, and cardamom pavlova recipe is summer dessert at its most delicious.
Because you know how I feel about cardamom! Want it, need it, can’t get enough.
I was first introduced to the blackberry, lime, and cardamom combo a few years ago when I came across this recipe on 101cookbooks.
I was planning my Fourth of July dinner at the time and immediately added blackberry limeade to the menu. We had some super-picky friends coming over and I was pretty sure they wouldn’t like it, it would be too “different,” and there’d be plenty for me.
But no. As so often happens, I was busy with food prep and only got a teeny-tiny glass before everyone else gulped it down. My fellow cooks out there can relate, right?
I’ve never, ever forgotten how much the hint of cardamom made the blackberry and lime just pop. So unexpected, so perfect.
When I started thinking about the gazillions of ways I could incorporate blackberries into a dessert this summer, I knew I needed to incorporate lime and cardamom too.
It was necessary to make up for that wee little taste from years ago.
A pavlova is pretty much a blank (but delicious!) slate in terms of flavor. It’s like a meringue with an almost gooey center and because it’s mostly just egg whites and sugar you can fill it with just about any type of fruit and it will taste good.
If you don’t like cardamom (or if you’re baking for people who don’t like things that are “different”) just leave it out. You could also use another type of fruit curd or another berry. I’m thinking marionberries would be KILLER here, but I don’t know where to find them in AZ.
Think of egg whites as the diva of the kitchen. They can be temperamental, but if you treat them properly you’ll end up with a show-stopping pavlova. These are a few of my tips for working with them:
Separate your eggs when they’re cold but be sure your egg whites are at room temperature before you begin your pavlova—cold egg whites will not whip properly.
Also, be sure you don’t get any yolk in your whites—or again, they will not whip properly. To separate eggs perfectly every time the only tools I ever use are my hands. I crack an egg into my palm, then wiggle my hand a little over a small bowl. The egg white slides right off, leaving the yolk intact.
Use a glass or metal mixing bowl, not plastic, and be sure it’s free of grease or other residue.
Many people say to avoid making pavlovas when it’s humid, but I haven’t actually had trouble whipping my egg whites on humid days. If it’s humid where you live and you’re craving a blackberry, lime, and cardamom pavlova, I say it’s worth a shot.
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- finely grated zest of 3 limes
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice*
- 4 egg yolks (use the whites in the pavlova)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- 3 or 4 cardamom pods, shelled and finely ground (optional)
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 recipe lime curd (recipe above)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
- Set a fine mesh sieve over a medium mixing bowl next to the stove.
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Set pan over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and reaches 175 to 180 degrees on a candy thermometer and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not let mixture boil.
- Pour mixture through the sieve into the mixing bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least an hour before proceeding with the recipe. (Curd can be made up to three days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.)
- Place an oven rack in the lower third of your oven, then preheat oven to 250 degrees. Draw a 9-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper (I traced around a 9-inch cake pan). Flip the paper over and place on a large baking sheet—you should be able to see the circle. If you can’t, retrace with a bolder pen.
- Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl. Combine the vanilla, vinegar, and cardamom in another small mixing bowl.
- Place the egg whites and salt in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to low. Gradually increase the speed to medium. Whisk on medium until the whites hold soft peaks, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Begin adding the sugar-cornstarch mixture a few tablespoons at a time, while increasing the mixer’s speed to high. Continue beating until the whites hold stiff peaks, several minutes more.
- Pour the vinegar, vanilla, and cardamom over the meringue, then beat for another 20 seconds to combine.
- Mound the meringue in the center of the circle on your prepared parchment. Use a rubber spatula to smooth it out to the edges of the circle, making an even round.
- Bake until the pavlova is firm to the touch, about 60 to 70 minutes. Avoid opening the oven during baking, except at the end to test for doneness. Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.
- Just before serving, place the heavy cream and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until it just holds stiff peaks. Fold about 1/4 cup of the whipped cream into half of lime curd, then spoon the mixture onto the pavlova. Pile the berries on top and top with a big dollop of whipped cream. Use the remaining whipped cream and lime curd to garnish individual slices. Serve and enjoy.
*Be sure to zest your limes before you juice them; juicing a zested lime is almost impossible.
Pavlova adapted from The Kitchn
Lime curd adapted from How to Bake Everything