Pumpkin Pavlova with Pecan Brittle

November 13, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

If your Thanksgiving is going to be decidedly pie-free but you're having a hard time giving up pumpkin altogether, this is about to blow your mind. Spiced meringue layered with pumpkin-maple whipped cream and topped with pecan brittle is the stacked, subtle, light finale you never knew your T-Giv was missing. Bonus points if you put out the extra brittle pieces in a bowl for wayward snackers. —Kendra Vaculin

What You'll Need
  • For the spiced meringue and pumpkin whipped cream:
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (homemade or canned)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • For pecan brittle:
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds (unsalted)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • big pinch flaky sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  2. On a piece of parchment paper cut to fit your baking sheet, trace two 8-inch circles in a dark marker (I use a cake pan or dinner plate). Flip the paper and place it marker-side down on your baking sheet—you'll want to be able to see the circle through to the other side.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon into the sugar until combined.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer of with a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they just start to stiffen. Add spiced sugar a spoonful at a time, and then the vanilla. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
  5. Spoon the meringue into the two circles on the baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to spread them into flat disks, about 1 1/2 inches tall (edges can be craggy). Place the baking sheet into oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 250° F.
  6. After 90 minutes, turn the oven off but do not remove the baking sheet until meringues are cooled completely and have crisped up (about 1 hour). Don't open the oven door even to peek!
  7. While the meringue rounds are baking and cooling, assemble the cream filling. With an electric mixer or a whisk and some elbow grease, whip the cream, pumpkin purée, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and maple syrup together in a large bowl until thick and slightly thickened. Refrigerate until ready to use; you may need to give it another quick whip right before assembly.
  8. To make the brittle, line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and vanilla. Set aside.
  9. Pour the sugar into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high, swirling the pan around occasionally, until entirely melted into a caramelly liquid (take care not to burn it). Reduce heat to low and add the pecans, sunflower seeds, and butter. Stir until the nuts and seeds are combined and the butter is melted and incorporated.
  10. Add the vanilla slurry, stirring again to combine; look alive, the mixture will froth.
  11. Pour brittle mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into as thin a layer as possible, and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool completely.
  12. Once cool, peel the foil from the back of the brittle and break into pieces. Roughly chop large pieces into even smaller bits, about 1/4 inch or smaller.
  13. To assemble the pavlova, set one meringue round on a serving dish. Cover with a thick layer of pumpkin filling, extending to the very edges of the meringue disk. Top with second meringue layer, and then another thick spread of filling. Sprinkle with brittle bits and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Sarah Jampel
A fan of female driven comedies, a good beat, your hair today, and making foods for friends.

19 Reviews

CPVaughan November 25, 2021
I made this today, the meringue whipped up perfectly in the kitchen aid. The meringue also baked perfectly. I had a big issue with the whipped cream-- mine simply would not whip up with the pumpkin and maple syrup addition. Should I make again, I would whip the cream with cinnamon first and then fold in the pumpkin and maple. I did not make the brittle.
Marcy November 7, 2021
I have made pavlovas for years and have always used caster sugar (fine sugar) and cream of tartar. This is the first time I’ve had a flat pav, and wonder if it is the lack of cream of tartar or the sugar that did it?
Natalie November 27, 2020
First time making pavlova and it came out perfectly with these instructions! The spices made it absolutely lovely as well. Didn’t have pumpkin on hand so I made a pumpkin spice latter whipped cream (😂) topped with persimmons and marigolds. Will be coming back to this pavlova recipe again!
Amy November 11, 2017
I like the idea/flavors of this recipe, but if I am to make it again I will use a better written recipe (Ina/Nigella) and incorporate the spices from this recipe. I saw the comment about difficulty with the brittle, so I found another recipe on Epicurious and followed that. Again, the recipe was more detailed and the brittle came out great. I assemble the pavlova today and will be adding pumpkin after I whipped the cream. Thanks to the other commenters for that tip!
Selina October 8, 2017
Big hit at my Canadian Thanksgiving family party! Thanks for giving a gluten-free alternative to this pumpkin lover. I also folded in the pumpkin after the cream was whipped and it worked perfectly.
Chef D. November 27, 2015
cool pavlova
Redbrenda November 25, 2015
OK so I've made all the components of this to assemble tomorrow - each one is delicious so together it should be awesome! Cannot wait!
John November 25, 2015
What a great recipe. It is an absolutely winner.
Debby R. November 20, 2015
can this be made a day ahead and refrigerated?
Sarah J. November 22, 2015
I wouldn't recommend that. Pavlova is typically best the day that it's made because the meringue gets soggy. You could make the components the day before (just leave the meringues out overnight) and assemble immediately prior to serving, however!
dharma C. November 18, 2015
Do you fold the pumpkin into the whipped cream or add it to unwhipped cream and whip?
Sarah J. November 22, 2015
Add it to the unwhipped cream, then whip.
Stephen M. November 26, 2015
Help! I've made all the components but can't seem to get it to whip. I'm about ready to just make a bowl of whipped cream and fold it in. Any tips?
Jaclyn D. November 26, 2015
I whipped the cream first, with the cinnamon and syrup, also added vanilla, until just before it was finished and then whipped in the pumpkin.
But when do I take the meringue out of the oven? Lol
hf November 28, 2015
I also couldn't get the pumpkin to whip! I combined all the ingredients Wednesday night and left them in the fridge. Thursday morning, I whipped for 20 minutes with an electric mixer and no dice! Ended up using plain whipped cream so all was not lost. Any idea why it wouldn't whip?
Christine O. October 24, 2016
The meringue turned out perfectly: this is the best temperature and timing instruction set I've found. (I've tried to make pavlovas in the past and failed.)
The cream, however, never really whipped due to the weight of the puree, I think, so when I make it next time, I think I'll whip the cream, then fold in about half the puree. Also, the brittle didn't work, although I may have caved too early for fear of burning the caramel: is there a missing ingredient? When I see folks on "Chopped" make brittle, there's water and sugar in the pan.
Thelma November 18, 2015
How would it be sliced to serve?
Thank you.
Redbrenda November 18, 2015
Looks delicious! I'll be making this. You might want to revise the spelling of Pavlova however!
Kendra V. November 18, 2015
solid catch! haha thank you!