Thursday, March 15, 2012


My oldest son turned 14 today.  We aren't really a cake family, birthdays are usually the only time we do indulge in it.  Good cakes are really hard to come by.  I am a fan of Tres Leches myself.  Hubs likes a good chocolate cake.  Finn a strawberry cake.  The rest of the clan don't really have a preference.  So as birthdays approach I start asking what type of cake/dessert they would like me to make.  Last year for his 13th Owen chose a pavlova so I wasn't expecting him to want it again.  He surprised me by requesting it!  I certainly don't mind, it is one of the most scrumptious desserts out there.  I'm not kidding.  You must try Pavlova sometime.  It is not difficult to make and is always a crowd pleaser! 

We usually go out for lunch on family member birthdays, so I was sure to get the pav in the oven well before it was time to leave.  It takes 80 minutes in the oven and then needs to cool entirely in there as well.  So I got busy and it was done cooking before we left to go out.  I just left it in the cooling oven while we were out.  It worked out perfectly.

 First of all you do this (you can see it was already after noon before I got it in the oven, that bacon and egg breakfast took longer than I thought :) )

Then you separate your egg whites from the yolks.  You need 150 ml of egg whites, which is generally about 4 large eggs.  However this time the eggs must have been a touch smaller because it took 5 to get 150ml. So make sure to measure!

Whip them with the whisk attachment until stiff.

and then slowly add the castor (bakers) sugar until smooth and glossy.

After it's smooth and glossy and all of the sugar is dissolved, (rub some of the meringue between your fingers to feel for any sugar that hasn't dissolved), add the corn starch and vinegar and mix until combined.

Then empty contents of mixing bowl onto cookie sheet/jelly roll pan that is lined with parchment paper.  It doesn't look pretty, but it will.  Trust me!

Take an offset spatula, or whatever you have that will work.  I find it easier with the offset spatula but I made Pavlova for many years without one!  Shape it in a circular shape and flatten the top a little.  It also works to concave the top a little to make it easier to pile the fruit and cream on top later.

  Once you are happy with how it looks adjust your oven temperature.  You want the oven to start at 300F but lower it when you put the pavlova in and bake it at 250F for the entire baking time.  I set my timer so that the oven turns off when it is done cooking, that way I can pop it in and forget about it.  Easy!

Here is how it looks at the end of the cooking time

After it has cooled I remove it from the oven and place on the serving plate.

The next step is the whipped cream.  Now don't go buying cool whip or cream in a can.  It's not the same and this dessert is worthy of the real thing.  I like to add a touch of caster sugar and a splash of vanilla to good old whipping cream.  Whip it up with your whisk attachment and slather it over the top of the Pavlova.  Some people put it down the sides as well, I personally think it doesn't need that much whipped cream but I hold no judgement of those who do! 

Then take some fresh berries (we used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries).  Blueberries are also really good on Pavlova, as is Kiwi Fruit.  Have fun with it and use what you like, it is very versatile! 

However if you can, get your hands on the following ingredient.  It makes all the difference, but here in the states it can be difficult to come by.  The magical ingredient is Passionfruit.  You can occasionally buy it at natural grocery stores or asian markets.  Trust me when I tell you that it is almost a required ingredient.  Sure the pav will taste good with the berries, kiwi, whipped cream and whatever other fruit you choose to add but it won't be phenomenal.  The passionfruit magically transforms this dessert from really good to phenomenal.  Seriously!  Now in Australia you can buy your passionfruit like this

So I keep some of this on hand for Aussie desserts, it keeps me sane and my family well fed :)

Isn't this beautiful?

I think so.

By the time I cut into the Pavlova I was losing my natural light so the picture isn't great.  Pavlova has a lovely pillowy centre, that melts in your mouth, with a lightly crunchy outer crust.  It is such a delicate dessert and so lovely to eat.  If you plan to serve it be sure to add the cream and fruit right before you serve it, it can get soggy if you leave it too long.  It doesn't keep well either so plan on finishing it off.  That is no problem in our house, but if there were less of us I would need to adjust the amounts to make it more manageable.

I hope you try it soon, you won't be sorry you did!
Here is the recipe just in case :)

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, whisking well, until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Add the cornstarch and vinegar and whisk until just combined. Shape the mixture into a circle on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

3. Reduce oven to 250°F and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven.

4. Decorate with fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit.



  1. I came over to look at this week's TWD assignment, but then got sidetracked when I saw your pavlova - it is gorgeous!! I'm a sucker for anything meringue-like, and this is no exception. Definitely want to try your recipe out.

    1. Jen, I really love Pavlova and haven't met anyone that doesn't like it! Though I am sure that person does exist ;) I hope you do try it, let me know how it turns out if you do!

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