Saturday, September 18, 2010

Love a Pavlova

Pavlovas are an Australian thing. They never really excited me. Basically, a pavlova consists of fruits and cream served over a piece of meringue, like a meringue fruit trifle, or an Eton Mess. Before I made this, I had never had pavlova before. I decided to make it only because I had leftover egg whites in the fridge, and I figured if it didn't turn out well, at least it was only egg whites and sugar that went into it.

Well....I have to say, seriously, that these pavlovas are GOOD. Perhaps it's because this was my first time eating it, so there was an element of surprise when I took a bite of the fruit, cream and meringue combo. I was expecting it to be an overly sweet dessert. However, the freshness and tartness of the fruits balanced perfectly with sweetness of the crisp and gooey meringue, rounded off with the smooth whipped cream that seemed to blend everything together in one mouthful. It was a harmonious combination of textures and flavours. The meringue was delicate, light and crisp on the outside, and the inside was soft and gooey, just like marshmallow. This dessert has done justice to its name, being aptly named after Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova, very delicate and very light.

I made mini pavlovas as we wouldn't be able to finish a whole pavlova in one go. They can be stored undecorated in an airtight container for 2-3 days. So it's a real handy dessert that you can make in advance (for parties and guests) and assemble them quickly when needed. Dear H loved eating this so much that she took over my share (after I had only one bite) and started digging at the meringue and cream covered fruits, turning it into her own "Eaten Mess".

The recipe I used was adapted from Good Taste Magazine.

Preparation Time

20 minutes

Cooking Time

45 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

For the meringue:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
For the topping:
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbs icing sugar (optional)
  • 2 tbs frozen raspberries/blueberries
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled, halved lengthways, thinly sliced crossways
  • 4 strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced (optional: macerate with a little caster sugar to soften the strawberries )



  1. Preheat oven to 120°C. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Use an electric beater to whisk egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the sugar and whisk until dissolved. Rub a little between fingers to make sure there is no graininess from the sugar. Add cornflour, vinegar/lemon juice and vanilla and whisk until thick and glossy.
  3. Spoon onto baking sheet to form four 10cm-diameter meringues. Make a slight dip in the centre of the meringue so that the outside edge is slightly higher. Bake on lowest shelf of oven for 45 minutes or until hard to the touch on the outside and marshmallow-like in the centre. Turn oven off and leave pavlovas in oven, with door ajar, for 30 minutes to dry. Remove from oven and carefully lift off baking paper. Store in airtight container for up to 3 days.
  4. For the topping, whip cream to stiff peaks, adding sugar towards the end if used.
  5. For the coulis, place frozen berries in a saucepan with caster sugar, lemon juice and water, simmer for 5 minutes and adjust to taste accordingly.
  6. Just before serving, spread cream over the top of the Pavlova and pile the coulis and fruit decoratively on top.