I think a pavlova is the perfect holiday dessert. It is beautiful enough to be a centerpiece on your table, so light that it can follow a big holiday meal and its flavors can change with your every whim. This Boozy Cherry Pavlova was inspired by the cherry cordial filling in the chocolates that are a holiday stocking tradition in my house. I cooked the cherries in champagne, cherry juice, and just a touch of sugar until they created a boozy syrup. This can be done with just juice for a virgin cherry variation. The pavlova also has a layer of lemon curd and lots of whipped cream. “Man, this is delicious!” was the response from my always willing (and very opinionated) taster (and husband). You can see how I baked the pavlova in this shape in my “Pavlova” IGTV on Instagram.
So many people asked about baking Mini Pavlovas that can be individual servings, so I created a video for that too. The recipe and directions are below, but to watch me make the mini Boozy Cherry Pavlovas and how I fill them, look for “Cherry Pavlova” in my instagram videos.
If you are looking for the equipment I use in any of my recipes, you can find them all here, on my ZoeBakes Kitchen Essentials page, where you can also find my list of favorite cookbooks and sign up for any updates – I add to it with every post.
Boozy Cherry Pavlova
1 Pavlova recipe, baked as directed for a large pavlova cake or as 8 mini pavlovas, as seen below. The pavlova can be baked the day before and kept in a dry place or in the oven with the light on. If your house is very dry, it can be kept for two days.
4 cups fresh or frozen, pitted sweet and/or sour cherries – (fresh cherries will take much longer to break down and cook, so lower the heat)
2 cups cherry or pomegranate or cranberry juice (anything tart and red) – preferably without added sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cups Bubbles (prosecco, cava, or champagne) (or 1/2 cup brandy)
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (this will depend on how sweet your cherries, juice, and wine are. You want them to be rich and sweet, but not cloyingly so).
1 recipe lemon curd
2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped to soft peak for filling
Fresh Cherries (or fresh figs) for topping
Rosemary or Savory sprigs – savory is a very peppery herb
To make the boozy cherries:
Cook the cherries, juice, lemon, booze, and sugar down until the juices are the thickness of maple syrup. Allow to cool. This can be made days in advance.
To assemble: This can be done several hours before serving. The pavlova actually benefits from some time sitting in the refrigerator. It makes it easier to slice if it is not served immediately.
Fold together 3/4 of the lemon curd with 3/4 of the whipped cream. Pipe the lemon curd/cream filling into the cavity of the pavlova. Don’t come quite to the top. There may be some leftover filling, depending on how deep the cavity of your pavlova. Snack on any remaining filling. 😉
Spread the remaining lemon curd over the filling, then top with the remaining whipped cream. Top with boozy cherries, fresh fruit, and garnish with the herbs.
To make the mini pavlova:
Mix the pavlova as directed in my recipe. Draw eight 3-inch circles and pile the meringue evenly in the circles. Swipe the sides up with a small spatula to create the height of the pavlova. You can watch my Instagram video “pavlova” to see the shaping.
Bake at 275°F for 15 minutes
reduce the temperature to 250°F for 15 minutes
reduce the temperature again to 225°F and bake for 30 minutes
Turn off heat, but don’t open the door. Leave the pavlova in the oven with the light on for a couple of hours or even overnight.
Fill with whatever you desire. You can fill them a few hours before serving.