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The Perfect Pavlova

pavlova with cream passionfruit

5 from 4 reviews

Make the perfect pavlova every time with this easy pavlova recipe with step-by-step photos. Tips on how to make a pavlova dessert with a crisp meringue shell and soft marshmallow centre.

Ingredients

For the pavlova

For the topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C (without fan).
  2. Using a standmixer or electric beaters, whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until they have tripled in volume and soft peaks form.
  3. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the caster sugar, one spoon at a time until the sugar is well incorporated. As you add the sugar, the mixture will start to become thick and glossy, and stiff peaks will form when you lift the beaters.
  4. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Rub a bit of the mixture between your fingertips to test if the sugar has been fully dissolved; if you don’t feel any grains of sugar, move onto the next step.
  6. Add the cornflour,  white wine vinegar, and vanilla extract. I do this on low speed with the stand mixer for only 2 to 3 turns (about 1 second).
  7. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spoon the pavlova mixture onto the tray into a round shape. I like to dollop the mixture on top of each other into a high pile, and to then shape the pavlova from there – using this method ensures that your pavlova will have some height.
  8. Use a palette knife to shape the sides of the pavlova and to slightly flatten the top. The pavlova will expand and rise once cooked, so shape it to be on the slightly smaller side. Please see my photos above to give you an idea of what an uncooked pavlova should look like just before it goes into the oven.
  9. Place the pavlova in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 300°F/150°C (without fan).
  10. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time.
  11. After 1 hour and 15 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the oven door closed so the pavlova can cool down completely. You should leave the pavlova in the oven for at least 2-3 hours, but overnight (12-18 hours) is best.
  12. The pavlova should be decorated only just before serving. Whip the double cream until it is thick and soft. Spread the cream over the top of the pavlova and drizzle over the pulp of 3-4 passionfruit.
  13. For a quick assembly, you can whip the cream and prepare the passionfruit pulp ahead of time and leave them in fridge until needed.

Kitchen Notes

I recommend making the pavlova the night before serving, or in the morning if you plan on serving it later in the evening. This will give the pavlova plenty of time to cool and dry in the oven for the perfect crisp meringue shell and slightly chewy centre.

When making a meringue or pavlova, using the egg whites of old eggs is preferable to those of really fresh eggs. What works really well are frozen egg whites. Simply freeze 2 or 3 egg whites per freezer bag for quick defrosting and let them come to room temperature before using.

If you’re not sure what soft peaksfirm peaks or stiff peaks mean when it comes to beating egg whites, this guide might help you.

Some people like their pavlova to be crisp on the outside with a slightly chewy centre. Others like their pavlova to be only slightly crisp on the outside, but soft and marshmallowy on the inside. I belong to the first group. If you fall into the latter group, bake your pavlova for only about 45 minutes to 1 hour, and leave it to cool in the oven for only a few hours.

Although a nicely domed pavlova looks lovely when naked and unadorned, it’s not very practical if you plan to cover it with whipped cream as it will simply run down the sides. So make sure the top of the pavlova is somewhat flattened before you put it in the oven.

If your oven has a strong fan, “glue” the baking paper to the baking tray with some pavlova mixture on each corner. Otherwise, during baking, the baking paper may fly up and stick to the pavlova.

It’s normal if the top of your pavlova cracks as it cools. And don’t worry because you will be covering it with whipped cream anyway.

Although I recommend baking the pavlova in advance, you should only decorate the pavlova at the last minute. Once the cream is placed on the pavlova, it will start to soften the pavlova and add weight, and your pavlova might collapse soon after.

If something goes wrong and your pavlova collapses into a flat pancake once cooled, don’t despair – your pavlova will still taste great. Simply crumble the pavlova into a large serving bowl, stir through the whipped cream and passionfruit and you will have something similar to an Eton Mess which is traditionally made with strawberries.

PAVLOVA FOR 4 TO 6 PEOPLE
To make a slightly larger pavlova, I recommend the following recipe:
4 egg whites
240 g (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1 1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

OVEN TEMPERATURES All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

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