Saturday, October 15, 2011

The only pavlova recipe that works every time.

Years ago my husband and I went through a furious pavlova production phase.  We tried all different methods of cooking pavlova (based on no particular evidence, just feeling sure that we would hit upon the perfect pav sooner or later).  Pav after pav cracked with only a tiny bit of meringue in the middle.  Years later I hit upon a recipe that combined ingredients and method perfectly.  I've spent the last ten minutes trying to find the owner online to no avail.  This comes from my personal recipe book: a battered blue hardcover 2B5!

The only pavlova recipe that works every time

3 egg whites (at room temperature - place in a bowl of warm water for ten minutes otherwise)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsps cornflour
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp malt or white vinegar (I've use balsamic in a pinch)!

Preheat oven to 120C.    Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Place the egg whites into a large, very clean (you can rub half a lemon over the surface to ensure it is oil free) china, metal or glass bowl (NOT PLASTIC - the egg whites will not get as stiff).  Beat until the egg whites are thick and stiff.  Gradually, one teaspoon at a time, add the caster sugar and beat well after each addition.  The mixture slowly gets glossy, thick and shiny.  Don't rush adding the sugar - it should take about ten minutes.  Beat in the vanilla, vinegar and cornflour.  Spoon the mixture on to the tray and spread out in a circle about the size of a bread plate (18cm) - then heap on top.  If you try to smooth it to have a perfectly flat top you will end up with cracks so I don't bother.  Bake for ninety minutes (don't open the oven door at all during this time) until the pavlova is crisp and dry and easily lifts off the paper.  Cool completely on a wire cake rack before covering with cream and fruit.

My favourite variation: Orange Saffron Pavlova

I saw this on Food TV once years ago and wrote it down later after the deliciousness of the ingredients wouldn't leave my head alone!  Again, it is uncredited I'm afraid.  Searching by the ingredients has failed to find the cook.

Use white vinegar for the recipe and prior to use heat gently.  Add 1/2 tsp saffron fronds and allow to infuse (try to do this for a good hour or two).  Then use the infused vinegar and fronds in the pavlova at the normal point in the recipe. This gives a slight golden colour to the final pav, with a few saffron fronds mixed through.  To decorate use half a teaspoon of cardamon seeds and 1/2 tsp of saffron fronds mixed through whipped cream and then put segmented or sliced oranges on top with  a couple of cardamon pods as decoration.


  1. Thanks for the recipe, will have to try it sometime. My aunt used to make really good pavlovas and we had them every Christmas and other occasions too. Sadly she passed away in 2004 and I haven't had a good slice of pavlova since! One thing: we never had kiwifruit on ours because she was allergic and would have gone into anaphylactic (sp) shock - likewise my nephew (4) has the same issue with eggs. My guess is it will be off the Christmas dinner table for some time now!

  2. Thanks Penny! It is a good recipe and doubles well for family occasions. The egg replacement powder that I have has a recipe for meringues on the back, I haven't tried it but confess to being curious! The Sweetheart's best friend has an egg allergy; they compromise by letting the guests have pavlova after their daughter has gone to bed. It is a once a year treat though, as they have to clean so thoroughly afterwards.

  3. A bit late after your posting of 2011...I've been making pav.'s for years. And they never turn out exactly like I want - always yummy, but I prefer a more chewy meringue in the middle. I'm going to try your recipe; I've read that if u take the pav. out of the oven immediately when cooking time is up, you will get a chewy centre?? What do u think. I'll let u know how I go. I aslo for a topping make an almond toffee - very very thin with slightly toasted almond slivers. I guess you would call it a praline, and is a good alternative to fruit. Gabrielle

  4. Love this recipe! Works everytime. Thanks so much

  5. just tried this tonight - my most successful meringue to date!

  6. The chewiness occurs when you don’t beat enough after adding the sugar...I always make a point of this as enjoy mine chewy as well.