Make the perfect pavlova every time with this easy pavlova recipe with step-by-step photos, served with cream and passionfruit. Tips on how to make a pavlova dessert with a crisp meringue shell and soft marshmallow centre.
For the pavlova
For the topping
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 peaks, firm 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.