Is Pavlova Base Gluten-Free?

Pavlova is a popular dessert that consists of egg whites, sugar, and whipped cream. It’s usually topped with fruit or berries. But the question is: what are the ingredients in the pavlova base?

Is pavlova base gluten-free? The answer is yes because there is no chance of meringue having any gluten content.

But how can it be gluten-free? And how to make it? We will answer these questions and more in this blog post!

What is Pavlova Base?

berry pavlova
Mix Berry Pavlova. Credit: canva

What is Pavlova?

Typically made in Australia or New Zealand, pavlovas are a meringue-based dessert named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.

The dish consists of an egg-white meringue shell that has been baked at high temperatures to form a crisp exterior while retaining a soft interior.

Once cooled, the Pavlova can be filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh fruits such as strawberries,

What is the Base of Pavlova?

The base of Pavlova is meringue that has been whipped up into stiff peaks. Meringue is egg white cooked in sugar until thickened and then baked at low temperature for about an hour.

Once cooled down, you can add your favorite flavorings such as fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, etc. 

The base of Pavlova should be very light and fluffy so that when combined with the other ingredients, it does not become too heavy.

If the base is too dense, it might not mix well with the rest of the ingredients.

About Gluten-Free

gluten free
Gluten-free. Credit: canva

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat flour. 

Gluten is a protein found in many grains, including wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten helps hold food together and gives bread its elasticity.

It’s common in bread, pasta, pizza, and cereal.

Gluten provides no essential nutrients. The body needs to use digestive enzymes to break down gluten.

If someone has celiac disease, they cannot eat any gluten products because it damages their small intestine.

Why is gluten bad?

When people have celiac disease (the body cannot properly digest gluten), they need to avoid all foods containing gluten. This is because some people are allergic to gluten also.

Celiac disease symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, gas, nausea, weight loss, joint pain, skin rashes, headaches, depression, and more.

If you have celiac disease, you need to avoid all forms of gluten.

What exactly does gluten-free mean?

In general, “gluten-free” means less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten in the product. So, for example, if a label says “100% gluten-free,” it means that the product contains less than 20 ppm of gluten.

However, some companies may choose to call a product “gluten-reduced” instead of “gluten-free.” These products contain between 10 and 19 ppm of gluten.

Some manufacturers say it “contains gluten,” even though they do not expressly state that the product is gluten-free. They may mean that the product contains less gluten than another similar product.

Why is gluten-free important?

Millions of Americans have celiac disease. But, unfortunately, many of them are unaware that they have the disease.

Celiac disease affects 1 percent of the population worldwide.

If you have the disease, you must avoid all foods containing gluten, including bread, pasta, cereals, beer, and wine. You also need to watch what you eat.

You may feel better if you follow a strict diet. For example, a gluten-free diet can help you lose weight, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and prevent certain diseases.

Is Pavlova Base Gluten-Free?

raspberry pavlova
Chocolate Pavlova with Raspberry Topping. Credit: canva

What is the pavlova base made of?

Pavlova is made from meringue, a mixture of beaten egg whites, sugar, and white vinegar. The vinegar changes the texture of the Pavlova because it stops it from becoming wet or soggy on the outside.

The pavlova base is usually served with fresh fruit or berries.

Meringues are typically made by whipping egg whites with sugar until stiff and baking them at high heat for about an hour.

Meringues can be baked in different ways. For example, they can be baked on pies, cakes, cookies, and pastries. Or, they can be used as a filling inside desserts like tarts and pies.

Is pavlova base gluten-free?

Pavlova base, also known as meringue nest, is made using nothing but eggs and sugar.

Both of these are free from gluten. Therefore, the pavlova base is gluten-free because there is no chance of meringue gluten content.

That is why Pavlova is said to be naturally gluten-free.

How to Make Pavlova?

Pavlova is a meringue dessert that’s crunchy on the outside, marshmallowy on the inside, and as stunning as it is delectable!

The most basic pavlova recipe is the strawberry sauce and fresh berries. However, there are so many other recipe variations, with different sizes, different flavors, and different varieties of fillings.

Let’s try to make these delicious, perfect desserts.

Basic Pavlova Recipe

Meringue Base

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 220 g or 1 cup plus 2 tbsp superfine (caster) sugar* (see notes)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice, vinegar, or cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from one vanilla bean

Whipped Cream

  • 480 ml or 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 31 g or ¼ cup powdered sugar or caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from one vanilla bean

Strawberry Sauce and Fresh Berries

  • 300 ml or 1¼ cups water
  • 454 g or 16 ounces frozen strawberries
  • 100 g or ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups fresh berries (I used strawberries and blueberries)

Make the Pavlova Base Meringue:

  1. Preheat the oven to 265° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pour egg whites into the mixing bowl of a stand electric mixer and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment. Begin whisking at medium-low speed, and continue whisking until soft peaks form.
  3. Begin slowly adding the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added. Then, increase the speed at medium-high speed and whisk until stiff peaks form and the sugar has fully dissolved.
  4. Add the lemon juice (or vinegar or cream of tartar) and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  5. Remove the meringue from the mixer, sift the cornstarch over it, and gently fold in.
  6. Place the meringue mixture onto a prepared baking sheet and form into a round that’s about 4-6 inches tall, using a large rubber spatula. Using a smaller angled spatula, make texture along the crater’s edges.
  7. The baking time is 10 minutes at 265° F. Continue to bake at 210° F for 90 minutes more.
  8. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue in there for at least an hour after it’s completely cooled (you may also keep it in there overnight).

Make the Strawberry Sauce

  1. In a small clean bowl, combine 2 tbsp cold water and the gelatin. Allow sitting while you cook the strawberries.
  2. Combine the frozen strawberries (no need to thaw), sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin mixture to the hot berries. Stir until melted completely. Using a hand blender or a regular blender, mix until smooth.
  4. Pour the sauce through a sieve into a bowl. Stir in the hot sauce until it’s completely cool and smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whip the Cream

  1. Using a handheld mixer (or a stand mixer) in a medium mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the Pavlova and Serve

  1. Pavlova must be constructed just before serving, ideally within a few hours. The meringue will soften if the Pavlova is refrigerated, and the cream won’t stay firm.
  2. Serve cut into triangular pieces, just like a layer cake.

 Mini Pavlova Recipe

martha stewart easy mini pavlova
Mini Pavlova. Credit: canva

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) cream of tartar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 g) castor sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a tall, metal bowl, whisk together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and a pinch of salt, until soft peaks form.
  3. With the mixer still running, slowly add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Continue to beat at high speed until stiff peaks form and the sugar has fully dissolved.
  4. Add the cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla to the egg whites, and whisk to incorporate.
  5. For each Pavlova, spoon about 1/2 cup of the egg white mixture. Then, using a spoon, carefully distribute each into a 3-inch (7.5 cm) diameter and a 6-inch (15 cm) crater in the middle on the baking tray. You should have enough for six mini pavlovas.
  6. Bake the pavlova meringues for 25-30 minutes in a preheated oven or until they are light tan and the meringue is firm.
  7. Turn off the oven, open the oven door an inch, and allow the Pavlova to cool completely.
  8. Top with whipped cream and fresh fruit of choice or fruit curd just before serving.
  9. Pavlovas can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and stored in an airtight container.

FAQs

Does Pavlova contain gluten?

No, it does not contain gluten. It is made with gluten-free ingredients.

Do meringue nests contain gluten?

Meringue nests contain only white eggs and sugar. They do not have any flour products.

Is Woolworth’s Pavlova gluten-free?

Yes, Woolworth’s brand pavlova is gluten-free.

Can you buy a pavlova base?

Yes, you can purchase a pavlova base online. I used LettheMeatGFCake’s recipe as my base. They also sell their brand of pavlova base.

Does Pavlova contain dairy?

No, it contains no dairy.