How to make Hummingbird’s strawberry pavlova

Chef Coleen Speaks of Hummingbird shares her recipe for strawberry pavlova, an impressive dessert that’s simple to make.

Pavlova with berries at Hummingbird.

You can enjoy Hummingbird’s pavlova at home.

Photo by Jamie Robbins

The origins of the classic, time-honored pavlova are unclear. Australians and New Zealanders have argued for generations about who invented the meringue-like dessert with a pillowy interior and crisp exterior. No matter where it originated from, we’re glad the sweet dessert ended up in Raleigh.

Pavlova can be made ahead of time and tweaked for any season. “We serve it in the summer with macerated berries and stone fruit, and in the winter with chocolate mousse,” Hummingbird chef Coleen Speaks told RALtoday.

Currently, the bright white treat is being topped with strawberries and cream at the Dock 1053 restaurant. “We make individual pavlovas for the ease of service, but for a dinner party, a large one could be a real showstopper,” Coleen said. But be careful. They are very fragile.

Keep reading to learn how to make chef Coleen’s impressive strawberry pavlova at home.

Strawberry Pavlova

Serves six

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar (you can grind it in a blender)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • Vanilla, to taste

For the topping:

  • 1 quart strawberries, halved or quartered
  • 1 tsp vanilla (divided)
  • 1 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp, 2 tsp sugar (divided)
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped


First, make the meringue.
1. Preheat your oven to 350°.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw circles on the paper using a three-inch round biscuit cutter and pencil.
3. In a bowl with an electric mixer, combine the egg whites and salt on low, slowly increasing speed.
4. When the mixture becomes shiny, start adding sugar, one tablespoon at a time until the meringue is stiff and very shiny.
5. Gently fold in the cornstarch, white wine vinegar, and a few drops of vanilla.
6. Using a large ice cream scoop, mound the stiff whites in the circles.
7. Place in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 300°.
8. Bake for one hour and 15 minutes.
9. Turn off the oven with the meringues inside until the oven completely cools.

Next, make the topping.
1. Mix the strawberries, 1/2 tsp vanilla, white balsamic vinegar, and 2 tsp sugar in a bowl.
2. Allow the mixture to sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the strawberries to become syrupy.
3. Whip the heavy cream with vanilla and 1 tbsp sugar until you have soft peaks.

Note: You can modify the topping by swapping the whipped cream for any citrus curd, like lemon or lime.

Finally, serve.
1. Carefully peel meringue off of the parchment paper and cut away the top inch to make a shallow hole.
3. Fill with whipped cream, strawberries, and strawberry juices.

Pro tip: This dish can be made ahead of time; add the fruit just before serving.

Want to show off your hard work? Send us a photo of your pavlova for a chance to be featured.

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