My Basic Pavlova Recipe
Originally published Aug 3, 2008, Updated on 10/2/20
Pavlovas are my absolute favorite dessert of all time! They're basically a type of large meringue - one which is crispy on the outside, and like a marshmallow on the inside! - heaped with whipped cream, then topped with fruit.
Does it get any better?
No. No, it doesn't!
Nice light texture, and a wonderful way to enjoy fresh fruit. Perfect summer dessert for entertaining, and this is a really easy recipe for anyone.
Despite this being such a basic recipe, with very few ingredients, Pavlovas are almost endlessly customizable.
You can flavour the meringue, the whipped cream, or both, and you can put almost any kind of fruit on it. A few ideas:
– Rum flavoring in the meringue and whipped cream. Top with sliced bananas, mango, and toasted coconut.
– Almond flavoring in meringue and whipped cream. Top with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, garnishing with fresh mint leaves if available.
One caveat, however: You cannot use oil-based flavoring in your pavlova meringue. Its presence will cause the meringue structure to break down.
Having Fun with Pavlova
While we usually just do a basic round shape and don’t get too wild with our Pavlova recipe, sometimes an occasion calls for getting a little weird with it. Here are a few of the themed Pavlovas we’ ve made over the years:
A Note On The Sugar
Super fine / castor sugar is granulated sugar with a much finer grain size than regular granulated sugar. It is NOT powdered / icing sugar!
Super fine sugar is usually sold near the sugar in the baking aisle, in small boxes – sometimes resembling milk cartons.
If you aren’t able to find actual super fine sugar, you can process regular granulated sugar in your food processor until fine. Measure AFTER you process!
- Eggs are easiest to crack when cold, and easiest to whip at room temperature. Plan around these facts :)!
- Be VERY careful to not get any egg yolk into the whites at all - not even a speck of it - or the eggs will not whip up. For that matter, be very careful to use a very clean bowl and mixer - any kind of oil / fat / etc is your enemy here.
- Add your sugar SLOWLY, as you’re beating the egg whites. You don’t want to overwhelm the building structure of the egg whites.
- Once your Pavlova is in the oven, don’t open the door until several hours after you turn the oven off. Patience is required!
- Wait until JUST before you plan to serve the Pavlova to whip the cream and dress up the meringue - once you put the whipped cream on, you’ll want to serve it immediately.
Related: Pavlova doesn’t keep well as leftovers, so be sure to eat all of it. It won’t be difficult!
- A quick head's up: if your meringue is not cracked by the time you remove it from the oven, it will likely crack at some other point, and will almost certainly crack when you start garnishing. Don't worry! Totally normal for a Pavlova, no one will notice or care!
As an aside, if you're interested in gluten-free cooking and baking, you should definitely check out my gluten-free cookbooks: Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten Free Cooking & Baking, and the sequel... Beyond Flour 2. You can order them right here on my website, through Amazon, or through any major bookseller.
More Pavlova Recipes
Do you love Pavlovas like we do? Awesome! I have several more super tasty Pavlova recipes for you...
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Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Now, on to that Pavlova Recipe!
Basic Pavlova Recipe
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup super fine / castor sugar *
- Pinch Salt
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract **
- 2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
- 1 ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½-1 Vanilla extract**
- 1-2 tbsp Granulated Sugar optional
- Fresh Fruits & Berries **
- Get ready: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove eggs from fridge and allow to warm to room temp (about 5 minutes). Line a baking (cookie) sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Fit your electric mixer with the whisk attachment.
- In your mixer bowl, beat egg whites together with salt until glossy peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Turn off mixer, remove bowl.
- Sprinkle vanilla**, vinegar, and cornstarch over meringue, gently fold in till combined.
- Heap meringue onto the center of your baking sheet. Use a spatula to spread the meringue out to approximately an 8-9″ circle. I like to have my meringue a fairly even depth throughout – some like a mound, some like it to be a little concave. If you want to get really fancy, put the meringue into a pastry bag and pipe it out as a mass of swirls that form your 8″ circle! It’s really up to you!
- Put the baking sheet into your oven, and turn the temperature down to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Once your timer goes off, turn the oven off and let the meringue cool in the oven for several hours. The baking of the meringue can be done the day before, if needed!
- Just before serving, whip the heavy cream. I like my pavlovas a little sweeter, so I add about 2 Tbsp of sugar – add as much or as little as you want. Purists may not want to sweeten the cream at all! I also like to add a little flavoring, again – optional
- Mound the whipped cream on your pavlova, and top with fresh fruits. Serve immediately!