Pumpkin Pavlova with Pecan Brittle

November 13, 2015

Test Kitchen-Approved

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

Serves: 6


For spiced meringue and pumpkin whipped cream:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (homemade or canned)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 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
In This Recipe


  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. 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 cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg 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 baking sheet into oven and immediately turn 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. While meringue rounds are baking and cooling, assemble brittle and cream filling.
  7. To make the brittle, line a large baking sheet with tin foil. Set aside.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together baking soda and vanilla. Set aside.
  9. Pour 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 pecans, sunflower seeds, and butter. Stir to combine nuts and seeds and melt and incorporate the butter. Add vanilla slurry, stirring again to combine. Mixture will froth.
  10. 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.
  11. Once cool, peel foil from the back of the brittle and break into pieces. Roughly chop brittle pieces into even smaller bits, about 1/4 inch or smaller. Set bits aside.
  12. To make the pumpkin cream filling, whip cream, pumpkin purée, cinnamon, and maple syrup together in a large bowl until thick.
  13. To assemble 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.

More Great Recipes:
Clove|Maple Syrup|Milk/Cream|Nutmeg|Pecan|Pumpkin|Christmas|Fall|Thanksgiving|Gluten-Free|Dessert

Reviews (16) Questions (2)

16 Reviews

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. <br />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.)<br />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?<br />Thank you.
Redbrenda November 18, 2015
Looks delicious! I'll be making this. You might want to revise the spelling of Pavlova however!
Author Comment
Kendra V. November 18, 2015
solid catch! haha thank you!