Pavlova Dessert Charcuterie Board
If you haven’t gathered by now, we LOVE Pavlovas in this house.
This is actually the 6th Pavlova recipe I’ve posted in the last month or so. 5 of them - including this recipe - resulted from an incredibly productive night of nocturnal recipe development.
I tend to problem solve in my sleep, and woke up one morning with 5 fully conceptualized pavlova recipes in my head, ready to go.
The 6th was the most recent Pavlova - my Halloween Pavlova recipe. There are fruit “bloody eyeballs” involve, it’s... something! 🙂
Anyway, lots to discuss with this one, so I’ll keep the commentary to a minimum! I’m guessing this one was the natural result of seeing a lot of dessert charcuterie boards on my Pinterest recently.
Most of them tend to be arrangements of candy, but I’ve seen some for cookies and pancakes as well (We’re DEFINITELY going to have to make a pancake breakfast board some day!).
... but I’d never seen one for Pavlova. Given our obsession with them, that seemed kinda... sad. Obviously we would have to do the thing! So many possibilities for toppings.
This Pavlova “Charcuterie” board would be great for smallish get togethers, and can easily be scaled up for larger ones, when that’s a thing again.
Of course, after we did up our board and started getting this post ready to go, I Googled the idea - it already existed. Ah well. It was original to me at the time, and the fact that others have done it already doesn’t make it any less awesome, I figure.
Anyway, let’s talk about all the options for your Pavlova Grazing Board!
Rather than making one big Pavlova, you’ll be making a bunch of smaller ones. I increased my usual base recipe by 50%, and made 12 mini pavlovas from it.
So, this board - as is - would be good for 8 people as the only dessert, or 16 people as part of a spread of other desserts. (The nutritional info listed in the recipe block is assuming 8, though - without the sauces, or fruits.)
As I mention in the recipe itself, I split the batch of meringue in half, and added cocoa to one half. This allowed me to make 6 vanilla mini Pavlovas, and 6 chocolate flavoured mini Pavlovas.
The beauty of a grazing board IS variety, after all!
How to Make Mini Pavlovas
All of the usually advice for making Pavlovas applies to Mini Pavlovas:
- Make sure not to get any egg yolk in the egg whites, or it won’t whip up.
- Make sure your mixer and whisk are very clean, because any oil in there will also prevent it from whipping up. Also: Make sure not to use an oil based flavouring, for that same reason!
- Add the sugar slowly, so you don’t overwhelm the structure as it’s building.
- Don’t open the oven til a few hours after you turn it off.
- Keep the Pavlovas in an airtight container until you set up your Pavlova dessert board, or they may get soggy from ambient humidity in the air.
Whipped cream isn’t optional when it comes to Pavlovas, so it’s a must for your Pavlova Charcuterie board!
No matter what you do with it in the end, please do yourself a favour and start with heavy whipping cream, rather than an oil-based convenience product!
Whipped cream is easiest to make when your whipping cream is very cold. Some people like to chill their mixing bowl and whisk attachments also, but I don’t bother.
Once your whipped cream is ready, there are a few ways you can go with it, if you don’t want to stick with plain whipped cream. (And really, this is a dessert board - you can divide it up and flavour it a few different ways!)
Sweetened Whipped Cream
I like to add a Tbsp or two of sugar to the whipped cream, as it’s being whipped. If you’re dividing your batch up, you’d want to cut the amount of sugar being added.
Chocolate Whipped Cream
Chocolate whipped cream can be accomplished in a couple of different ways. The method you use will help you determine whether or not you’ll want to sweeten it - and how MUCH you want to sweeten it - so I recommend doing chocolate first, before sweetening it.
You can add a little cocoa powder - as much as you’d like - to your whipped cream after whipping it. Sprinkle or sift it on, and be sure it’s fully incorporated when you finish beating it.
You can melt some chocolate - baking squares, chocolate chips, your favourite chocolate bar, etc - and add that to the whipped cream.
Just put a small amount in a glass bowl and microwave it on low for short amounts of time, until it’s about ⅔ melted. Stir until it’s fully melted, allow to cool slightly before mixing into the whipped cream.
Flavoured Whipped Cream
Flavoured whipped cream can be a fun addition to your dessert charcuterie board. Personally, I like to pick the fruit first, and use that to determine which flavour(s) I’ll go with for the flavoured whipped cream.
Vanilla extract is traditional, but have some fun with it. Rum extract is particularly nice if you’ve got a fair amount of tropical fruit involved with the dessert board.
Whichever you use, just add a bit to taste - again, the amount is going to depend on how much whipped cream you’re flavouring!
A bit of lemon zest and juice goes a long way in flavouring whipped cream, and you can do the same with lemons and/or limes.
Alternatively, you can puree a bit of your favourite berries, and fold that into your whipped cream. Strawberry whipped cream, blueberry whipped cream, etc.
Pavlova Fruit Ideas
I’ll be honest, you can use pretty much any fruit on a Pavlova, so this is really more a matter of narrowing down what’s in season / available to you, and deciding what you’d like.
Maybe you’ll go with a theme. As a few ideas:
Christmas Pavlova Board
Green and red fruits! Kiwi, green grapes, honeydew melon, guava for the greens, strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, etc for the reds
Tropical Pavlova Board
Pineapple, mango, star fruit, guava, kiwi, passionfruit, papaya, etc.
Canada Day Pavlova Board
Reds and whites! Strawberries, Raspberries, Red pears, apples, banana slices, lychee, white dragonfruit, etc. Apples and bananas should be tossed with a bit of lemon to preventing browning.
Valentine’s Day Pavlova Board
Pink and red fruits, obviously. Strawberries, raspberries, pomegranate, pink guava, pink dragonfruit, etc
4th of July Pavlova Board
Basically the Canadian board, but with blueberries and blackberries added.
Pavlova Grazing Board Sauce Ideas
How many sauces you have will depend on how much space you have for everything, what you’re into, and how much time, money, and effort you’d like to put into your Pavlova dessert charcuterie board.
For any of the sauce ideas mentioned, you can either purchase it ready made, or make a from-scratch version. Again, it’s all about choosing the amount of effort you’re willing to put in!
The nice thing is that sauces can usually be made several days in advance, if you’re going that route.
Anyway, some ideas to consider:
- Chocolate Sauce
- Caramel Sauce
- Salted Caramel Sauce
- Lemon Curd (or lime curd!)
- Strawberry Sauce, Raspberry Sauce, or Blueberry Sauce
- Canned mango pulp
- Balsamic Vinegar
Pavlova Dessert Board Garnish Ideas
While you can definitely keep it to just mini Pavlovas, whipped cream, fruit, and sauce... garnishes and toppings can be a lot of fun also. A few ideas:
- Fresh mint leaves
- Coconut flakes (the big, showy kind)
- Toasted coconut flakes
- Citrus twists or spirals*
- Nuts: Almond slices, chopped nuts, etc
- Chocolate shavings / curls
- Mini chocolate chips
- Cake sprinkles / jimmies / etc
* Use a citrus zester/channel knife to make easy work of this!
Pavlova Dessert Charcuterie Board Equipment
The Charcuterie Board
Commercially Available Grazing Boards
You’ve got a few options for buying a ready made board.
On the cheapest end - which we used for this! - Dollar stores tend to have disposable party platters, and sometimes they’re actually pretty decent. We needed something on short notice, that wasn’t really going to show anyway. So, we literally just bought a $1 plastic tray.
If you’re actually serving to guests, rather than photographing for a blog, you might want to go a step up from that.
Most home goods stores and specialty cooking stores will sell “charcuterie boards”, but you can also buy any large cutting board. I find that you’ll pay a bit more for something specifically labeled “charcuterie”, but your mileage may vary.
Artisinal Charcuterie Boards
Our Facebook marketplace is always full of people selling gorgeous homemade charcuterie boards, and we also see them at farmers markets, etc. I’m sure it’ll be the same in most areas. If not, there’s always Etsy!
These are usually slabs of a gorgeous variety of wood - usually a black walnut, around here - that’s been cut, sanded, and finished with a food grade oil.
Easy to make, but the base wood is usually quite expensive, so expect to pay more for these, than commercially available boards. Worth it, for a thing of beauty!
DIY Charcuterie Board
Of course, if you have the time and inclination, you can always custom make your own charcuterie board! I have a big “Cutting boards 101" post that gives a ton of overview information, as well as two tutorials: One for a fancy “Log Cabin” Style board, the other for a more basic “Colourful squares” style board.
You can use whatever kind of sauce container you like, just keep your over all space in mind.
The more sauces you’re offering, the smaller the sauce bowls / sauce cups you can use.
We used cute little plastic demitasse spoons that we bought at the dollar store, as I didn’t really have time or inclination to go searching for other options.
Demitasse spoons can definitely be ordered online, as well.
More Pavlova Recipes
Do you love Pavlovas like we do? Awesome! I have several more super tasty Pavlova recipes for you...
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Anyway, on to that Pavlova Dessert Charcuterie Board recipe!