mixed berry pavlova

I think it pretty much goes without saying that I wasn’t going to be allowed to show up to my parent’s seder tonight without one of these, but when my mother came down at the end of last week with both bronchitis and conjunctivitis in both eyes, did not consider this, perhaps, a sign from above that she would be given a pass on the thirteen-guest dinner tonight and insisted upon foraging ahead, she asked if I could attack the second dessert we’d decided upon–the mighty pavlova–as she wanted to wait until she was no longer contagious to start cooking. I thought that was mighty considerate of her, and of course, had been chomping at the bit to make it anyhow, so I didn’t mind.

plumes of shiny egg whites

Pavlovas are one of those things that I’d never heard of three months ago but have heard about almost weekly since. There was Nigella’s with passion fruit on her new show, Ina Garten’s mixed berry version and her subsequent mention that it would be included in her last meal on earth, no small feat for a woman known for starting every recipe with “beat a pound of butter in a mixer.” But the clincher was Shuna’s gorgeous guest-post on Simply Recipes a couple weeks back, and its step-by-step photos. What better to counterbalance the riches of thick swaths of whipped cream between layers of dead-serious chocolate cake but a giant meringue piled with fresh fruit? And why had I not thought to make this for Passover before?

I’ll spare you the history as you can read about the ballerina or was it the Aussies or New Zealand that devised this perfect dinner party dessert at countless other URLs, but I won’t shield you from yet another story of what a dolt I am, as what would this site be without a little self-mockery? In a classic case of not RTFM-ing, I emailed Shuna last week, begging our favorite eggbeater to let me know if that pavlova could be made with potato starch instead of cornstarch because the latter is not Kosher for Passover for reasons I cannot bear to get into? Shuna was terrifically patient with me, and did not once point out that it had already been mentioned in the comments that potato starch was a more than adequate replacement. What I should have asked the pastry chef, however, was for how long and at what temperature one should bake a full-sized round? Because that, that might have actually shaved several hours–and possibly even a temper tantrum, though I won’t admit to this–off my Sunday.

but not so much this

Ina Garten suggests a 4 extra-large egg white pavlova baked into a 9-inch round for one and half hours at 180, and a one-hour cool-down in the oven. Don’t learn this the hard way: it ain’t enough heat. The Joy of Baking, which after pleading emails to pastry chefs is my absolutely favorite online baking resource, suggests a four large egg white 7-inch circle at 250 for one and a quarter hours, and a full cool-down with the door ajar. I was still convinced mine wasn’t baked and popped it back for another 15 last night. It picked up a tiny bit of color early on in the baking, so I dialed it back 25 degrees, but in the end–this morning, mind you–I am mostly, fairly certain it is the proper texture inside, though I won’t really know until much later this evening. That proper texture, by the way, would be marshmallow and I dare you not to love it.

best, favoritest dessert sauce

Despite the fact that her baking directions failing me, I’m still going with the Ina Garten inspiration of mixed berries and a raspberry sauce, but I use my own creation, which I consider just the perfect, best and easiest dessert sauce, especially if you’re the kind of person (ahem) who bakes a lot of flourless chocolate cakes. I can’t tell you how grateful we were that I’d set aside a couple miniature pavlovas for Alex and I to indulge upon, as it was pretty much my only reprieve in yesterday’s bake-athon. The tiny ones were perfectly cooked, of course, bloop-ed with whipped cream, a heaping spoonful of fruit sauce and some strawberries. It was perfect–light, crisp, the sweetness of the meringue balanced by the tartness of the sauce and the whipped cream softened the whole dish. If the full-sized one is half this good, I think I see dessert for my next ten dinner parties already lined up.

truly awesome

Mixed Berry Pavlova
Inspiration from Ina Garten, meringue directions adapted from Joy of Baking and Shuna, and raspberry sauce of my own creation

Meringue Cake
4 large (120 grams) egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (200 grams) superfine (castor) or granulated (regular) sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 250°F (130°C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper.

Pour the vanilla and vinegar into a small cup. Stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl.

In a large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt, starting on low, increasing incrementally to medium speed until soft peaks/trails start to become visible, and the egg white bubbles are very small and uniform, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Increase speed to medium-high, slowly and gradually sprinkling in the sugar-cornstarch mixture. A few minutes after these dry ingredients are added, slowly pour in the vanilla and vinegar (if you didn’t use cream of tartar.) Increase speed a bit and whip until meringue is glossy, and stiff peaks form when the whisk is lifted, 4 to 5 minutes.

Gently spread the meringue inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper, smoothing the edges, making sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the center. (You want a slight well in the center of the meringue to place the whipped cream and fruit.)

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Check on meringues at least once during the baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven. (The outside of the meringue will feel firm to the touch, if gently pressed, but as it cools you will get a little cracking and you will see that the inside is soft and marshmallowy.)

Jaworski notes: You can make the meringue cake several days in advance. Just store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container. However, once the whipped cream and fruit are placed on the meringue, the dessert should be eaten immediately as the meringue will start to soften and break down from the moisture of the cream and fruit.

Raspberry Sauce
This is as good for desserts as it is over plain yogurt. Keep it refrigerated.

1 10-ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed
3 tablespoons sugar

Puree the raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with three tablespoons of sugar, until it is heated through and the sugar is dissolved.

99 percent of the time, I find the consistency of this sauce to be perfect, as is. If you like your thicker, add between one-half and one full teaspoon of cornstarch, potato starch or arrowroot powder to thicken it, stirring to make sure it’s fully dissolved.

Cool the sauce.

Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whip the cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. When it starts to thicken, add the sugar gradually and then the vanilla, beating the cream until firm. Be careful not to over-do it, or might end up with a bowl of homemade butter.

Mixed Berry Topping
1/2 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 pint fresh raspberries

Mix these with 1/2 cup of the raspberry sauce (recipe above).

Pavlova Assembly
When the meringue disk is cooled, put it on a plate. Spread the top completely with the sweetened whipped cream. Add the mixed berries and sauce mixture, spooning them carefully into the middle of the pavlova, leaving a border of cream and meringue. Serve immediately in large scoops with extra raspberry sauce.

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182 comments on mixed berry pavlova

  1. C

    They look delicous but my question is – what is the texture? Is it crunchy outside like hardened meringue that goes like sweet dust in your mouth or is it creamy, melty?

    1. Beth

      You mention “ if you didn’t use cream of tartar “ but but I can’t find where you include the amount instead of vinegar , cornstarch. It isn’t listed in the alternatives.
      Some recipes use confectioners sugar in whole or part. Thoughts?

  2. Mmm fantastic! They are so bright and cheery. I really like that raspberry sauce. I’m going to have to try that with yogurt. How does it sit with Vanilla yogurt?

  3. deb

    C — If done right, it should be crisp on the outside and like a soft marshmallow inside. It is nothing like those hardened, packaged meringues that have been (IMHO) overly dried out for packing purposes. It’s definitely on the sweet side, but with the whipped cream, tart sauce and chopped fruit, it balances perfectly. Being flour and butter-less, I love this as a light spring or summer dessert.

    Jenn — Haven’t tried it because I don’t care for preflavored yogurts. But, I’m sure it can’t be bad at all.

  4. Berries and meringue. LOVE. That’s the first word that pops into my mind. Absolute LOVE. Can I go home now so I can bake this? I’m sure it’s WW friendly. *wink* Actually, studying the recipe, it doesn’t look too bad. What did you bake them on? Also, how long can they be stored?

  5. welcome to the world of meringue! i could have this for breakfast – …if i had to. and you just reminded me it was about time to make one asap. a very good twist is if you include pistacio nuts or small bits of chocolate to the meringue cake. had to laugh out loud about your ina garden remark about “beat half a pound of butter”. this rwas the reason why i started to buy her books. she just has to have a good heart, right? keep on rocking the egg whites! luv m

  6. Beautiful! Shuna’s post also inspired me to make Pavlovas last week for Sugar High Friday. It is always such a beautiful and light dessert. Gorgeous colors!

  7. I’m probably overlooking it somewhere, but how much vanilla?

    I’ve always wanted to try this dish, but wondered if I’d end up with a situation similar to what my mother refers to as her Onetime Baked Alaska Debacle…

    I love your site…simply love it!

    Chag Sameach!

  8. I tried these a couple of years back – Ina’s recipe and all – and they were a sure hit. But I had to keep mine in the oven, with the temp turned off, overnight to get them nice and dry. Love your pics!

  9. deb

    Robbyn — Oops. I spackled together so many different recipes and directions, I forgot the vanilla. It’s a 1/2 teaspoon, but I think I used a whole one, because I never listen. I will update later… must rush now…

    Thanks for the great comments, people. If anyone has made the four egg white version and has found one temperature/size/cooling off period to be perfect each time, I’d love to hear it, too. I’m still just figuring this out, and will be until we try this version for dessert tonight, and perhaps after.

    1. Whit Waterbury

      I went with 1 teaspoon of vanilla to mix with the vinegar in the meringue cake portion of the recipe and it was wonderful. The whole thing was wonderful. Thanks so much.

  10. I’ve made these before in different sizes and using different methods, but they always seem to need a little more time in the oven and then, oops, it gets more brown than I want it too. I think the time and temperature also depend on the humidity, like so much other baking and I’d avoid making them in highly humid conditions. I have a question about the sauce. The directions to strain out the raspberry seeds using a fine mesh sieve and pressing with the back of a spoon and all that always sound so deceptively simple, but are always, always the most time consuming thing for me to do. Is there a trick to this? Or is it just another thing that takes patience? If someone could give me a hint on how to make this part easier, I’d be really happy. By the way, Deb, these are the most gorgeous photos ever.

  11. maytal

    Oh my gosh, I have one of these in the oven right now but I used a combo of martha recepie and something from Cooking Light. I’m wondering if I should be cranking the heat up some and keeping it in the oven longer…….Gosh I hope it turns out or 16 people will be quite disappointed.

    Its good to know that I should wait to put it together till after dinner instead of before so that it doesn’t get all mushy.

    I may just decide to whip up some individual ones after this one is done just in case.

    1. Lindsay

      Hi Deb, some questions about the mini pavlova: what size diameter should they be, how many does it make, and how long would you bake? I’ve always made the large version, but love the idea of servicing individual Pavlova. Thank you!

      1. deb

        I didn’t get the time exactly right last time — I’ll make them again soon. My estimate is an hour at 250, but again, I fiddled a little and need to retest. Mine were 4″ across. I’d intended to make 16 to 18 from triple batch of this but ended up with way more than I needed, possibly by 1/3.

  12. I would like to ding myself with a major “DUH”. I did read the recipe, I promise…but I must’ve skipped the whole directions part to answer my asinine questions. That’s what I get for being enamored by the pics.

  13. maytal

    What should the consistency of the outside be when its done in the oven? and what should it feel like when its done cooling?

    When I turned off the heat mine is dry to the touch but it feels a bit spongy, its not crispy or anything, does it get hard as it dries?

    If it cools and I think it isn’t done can I always pop it back in the oven?


  14. Happy Pesach and have a lovely seder. I’m hoping I’ll be able to do one next year – this year with a new job and whatnot, I just couldn’t ask for time off. I know, horrible. Your dessert above, as well as that amazing cake look heavenly! Enjoy the seder tonight!!

  15. I LOVE pavlovas. I first tried one on a recent trip to England (drizzled with chocolate and chopped toasted hazelnuts) and then a friend made me one for my birthday (coconut with chocolate mousse and bananas). They are such an unexpected treat. I can’t wait to try making one myself. Thank you so much.

  16. ivyfalls

    I would like to offer a tip on the whole “straining through a sieve with the back of a spoon” part… Use a ladle instead of a spoon, the rounded backside of the ladle does really help to simplify and speed the straining step. I use the backside of a ladle when straining anything with a sieve and it works wonders with everything, gravy, custard, raspberries..anything at all. I wish I could remember where I read this to give proper credit, but I couldn’t resist passing it on to those of us who are spoon/sieve challenged. ha ha. I love pavlova’s and have used Ina’s recipe, but I don’t remember getting the marshmallow in the center texture. I was making the individual ones, how long in the oven Deb for the little ones you made for you and Alex? Absolutely love your photos!

  17. Julia

    As an Aussie girl I have basically grown up on these things, and I’m shocked an appalled that all of you haven’t experienced pavlova bliss earlier in your lives! My mother is renowned amongst friends for her amazing pav recipe, which she serves at least every Christmas, and more often than not as the finsher at dinner parties. We like ours with strawbs, kiwis, mango, banana and especially passionfruit. Her recipe is a little different – Clare was right: leaving it in the oven after cooking helps keep it dry and crisp, and stops it from sinking as much as it might. I believe my mother’s recipe actually requires you to pre-heat the oven to about 160 deg (celcius), and then turn the oven off to bake it (or at least part way through), leaving it in overnight to cool. But i’m not 100% on that…

    Also, the humidity factor isn’t really an issue — I live in Queensland (aka “the Sunshine State”) and our summer Christmas days are hotter and heavier and more humid than pretty much everywhere else in Australia! — mama uses her oven trick to keep it dry and crisp. I don’t know if this is terrible blog-ettiquite, but if people would be interested in my digging up her recipe, I would be happy to oblige. A friend and I were talking about baking one this weekend anyway!

    1. Kari

      Hi, Julia. I didn’t notice if anyone had responded toy our comment yet, but as its been several years…Did you ever dig up your mother’s recipe (or ask/observe her)? I would be interested. I am thinking about making a pavlova for my birthday in a few weeks. I’ll see if I can get my hands on some passion fruit, as well. By far one of my favorite fruit!

  18. Well, had I known, I’d have invited myself to your family’s Seder, just to get a taste of that wonderful pavlova. I’ve never attempted this myself, but I’ve watched Ina Garten’s version on TV a couple of times, and I can see why people swoon over it.

  19. Pavlovas are in the air! I just made some mini-ones over the weekend, with a recipe from Gourmet. It was a 6-egg recipe and I made 6 individual pavlovas from that. They were each quite big for one person, though. I preheated to 350, put them in, turned down immediately to 250, baked for 40 minutes, then left them in the oven for 25 minutes more. They had a great texture, but unfortunately they cracked :( I think this is because of the high heat at the beginning. Any ideas?

  20. Jelena

    Your pavlova looks great. I’ve tried making them before, but they never seem to work out for me. I’m not so fond of egg whites either, but I’m always up for an adventure. My mom on the other hand, makes a mean meringue/pavlova, too bad she didn’t pass it on genetically. Have a great Passover and eat a lot of good food!

  21. Ping

    Hi, could I just ask, did you make the mini ones the same way as you did the big pavlova? (I am more interested in trying to make the mini ones.) And how long did you bake the mini ones? Thanks! :)

  22. Is pavlova the same thing as “floating island”?

    Also, you mentioned Nigella Lawson, and I just have to say that I love love love that she includes recipes for really random things, like Chocolate Guiness Cake…

    This pavlova thing DOES look a bit less labor intensive than strawberry pie, my family’s Easter favorite…

  23. To answer the above pavlova is not at all like floating islands, in which the meringues are poached in milk, then cooled and served in a creme anglaise with spun sugar over top.

    Anyhoo, I wanted to say that pavlova rules. We have it often since my boyfriend’s mother cannot have gluten. As a former professional dancer, we get a lot of lame ballet-esque gifts, like that Danzante wine and ugly ballerina figurines. However, Pavlova is something to be proud of.

  24. Emily Lauren

    Is it possible that I’m not absolutely in love with you?

    Or, rather, these pictures!! Your food! Your quirk!

    I am smitten.

    (And your Stout Chocolate Cake was a hit!)

  25. Why, oh why must my husband hate meringue? Because these are gorgeous and certainly delicious to boot. I’m going to make them anyway and he can suffer dessertless some night. The raspberry sauce makes me wiggle with delight.

  26. Beautiful! And like you, I’d never heard of a pavlova (unless you count the ballet dancer, whom I’ve just discovered it was named for, thanks to wikipedia LOL) until a days ago…and since then, I’ve seen it six times online, on various blogs and cooking sites. Weird how that happens, isn’t it?

    Anway, this looks absolutely delicious. I love your photos!

  27. Okay, figured out that it is, in fact, NOT a floating island by actually making it for my family for Easter. It was a stark-raving success. Of course, this could be due to the fact that we substituted courvoisier for the vanilla in the whipped cream. But, it’s pure, sugary bliss, and fun to boot! Thanks for the suggestion!

  28. Gerrie

    I made this weekend for a late Passover fete and it was all gobbled up! Such a nice light treat instead of my usual flourless chocolate cake. I added kirch to the raspberry sauce and whipped cream. Yummy. Did have to turn my oven down-actually more than 25 degrees as the meringue was turning a bit too brown for my liking.

  29. Hi Deb,
    Your Pavlovas look gorgeous! Isn’t this the most wonderful dessert? I made some for my family yesterday; it was their first time experiencing Pavlova and they loved it.

  30. Chelsea

    Hello your pavlovas look awesome! Do you think they are possible to accomplish with the humble wooden spoon and bowl?

  31. What beautiful pavs! One of my favourite desserts. I usually make mine with berries and use raspberry vinegar in the meringue as this gives a very subtle complimentary flavour.
    As for the cooking timings, I always do mine at 140C for one and a quarter hours and it has always worked really well. I love the idea of individual ones and will definately give that a try next time.

  32. Kate

    Chelsea, I wouldn’t attempt pavlova with a wooden spoon (unless you have a very strong wrist), but it works fine with a balloon whisk. I bake for one and a quarer hours at 140C, like Antonia, and always leave overnight with the door ajar to cool. Cracking is part of the charm. I consider my pavlova done when it’s a pale, pale beige and the inside is sticky, not fluffy, marshmallow.

  33. ella

    I’ve only ever used Nigella’s recipe (chocolate pavlova!) and the times and temps have worked beautifully for me. I generally make it at night and where the recipe says to crack open the oven door and let it cool completely, I let it cool overnight and take it out in the morning. (This works best when one lives alone, or at least without children and/or animals.)

  34. Nicole

    I’m eager to make these for a belated Passover dinner we’re having on Sunday. You mentioned you made mini versions – did you adjust the cooking time? Do I need to do anything differently? Am I crazy for trying the mini versions for my first pavlova experience? Do I ask too many questions?
    I’ve loved everything else I’ve made from your site. Thanks for all the inspiration!

  35. deb

    Hi Nicole — I actually found the mini ones easier, not harder. I had trouble getting the bigger ones to bake through in the center, possibly because my oven runs cool, but nevertheless: Depending on the size, miniature ones can bake for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Follow the same guidance to not let them get browned, etc.

  36. deb

    Serves 6, but I feel you can easily serve more with it. I guess it depends on what other desserts will be around and how big the appetites are.

  37. I think I must be an idiot. I’ve got everything in my mixer right now and it’s just not coming together… at all… It’s been mixing for 15 minutes… and nothing.

    My egg whites have been in the fridge for about 4 days now… is that my problem? Are they not fresh enough for this to work?

    Hubs is wondering if it’s because my egg whites need to be room temp? Is this true?

    I’m baffled… I’m a fairly good cook, I’m following the directions. I had soft peaks before I added the dry and wet ingredients… I feel like I’m totally missing something. Anyone??

  38. deb

    There are a zillion things that can interfere with egg whites whipping: even a smidgen of egg yolk in them, a slightly unclean bowl (or even with just the smallest amount of soap left over), anything else on the beaters… — room temp egg whites whip better than cold ones in general, but you can still use the cold ones.

  39. Emily

    For the mixed berry topping, do you use 1/2 pint of one of the fruits or 1/2 pint for all of them? Because I only see strawberries in your pictures.

  40. Katsby

    Hi Deb!

    I’m new to your blog but i already am addicted! Thanks so much for being so generous with your tips and so patient answering questions. I hope this post isn’t too old for me to ask a question…..

    I just tried making a chocolate Pavlova (Nigella’s recipe) tonight. I beat the eggs and sugar (and added 1 tbsp cornstarch) to stiff peaks, but when i folded in the chocolate, chocolate bits and vinegar, the egg whites became soft! Wouldn’t hold any form on the baking sheet, so was kinda flat-ish…..

    Anyway, I persevered, and baked according to temps. The whole thing puffed up quite nicely, but started cracking around 40 minutes. At 50 minutes I opened the oven to check, and after that the pavlova sank! I deemed it cooked already at 50….any longer it would have been rock hard.

    Upon eating, it was still yummy, though not too much marshmallow center.Cutting it flattened it all the more….

    My questions:
    1. Does adding the chocolate and cocoa make the egg whites go from stiff peaks to soft peaks? Is it supposed to react this way? Or am I doing something wrong? If it IS supposed to react this way, I guess I really won’t be able to shape it on the pan?
    2. I’ve read that opening the oven door too early causes it to sink. How am I supposed to tell if its done? When it starts cracking/looking dry?

    Thanks again!


    1. deb

      Hi Katsby — I haven’t made a chocolate pavlova before, so I can’t tell for sure what happened. However, in general when ingredients are added to egg whites, they deflate a bit. They can usually be rewhipped, but again, since I haven’t tried chocolate I can’t say for sure that it will. Hopefully someone else will chime in with oven door advice; I hadn’t heard it before — but then again, it’s never good to let an oven cool off in the middle of a rising baking process. The baked good won’t just “bounce back”.

  41. Kathleen

    Has anyone tried the Mixed Berry Pavlova in this month’s Gourmet? I’m in the middle of it, wish I had searched your site for pavlova before I started! It’s very similar, but has the whole 3-layer thing going for it. Anyway, does anyone know how long you can hold a cooked meringue? The dinner is in 3 days, so I’m wondering if I should freeze them. (Assuming all goes well and they turn out!)

  42. You cannot imagine my shrill of glee when I read that yours flopped the first round too –no offense! I saw a similar recipe in “The Easy Vegetarian” (made with passion fruit) and the photo alone made my mouth water, not to mention my excitement at the thought of creating something as sophisticated as Pavlova. Much to my dismay, the first round failed miserably resembling warm whipped cream. I too, had a rather poor display of temper at that point. I promptly called my grandmother, who is known for her meringue, and walked through it step-by-step with her over the phone to figure out what went terribly awry. I had not beaten the eggs long enough. My second version turned out like your first. My husband and kids still ate it but it was far too sweet for me.

    Now that I see you explain what it is supposed to resemble, I may have to try again…

  43. Jenny

    Ì make pavlova quite a bit, it`s one of my favorite summer desserts. I`ve never used any kind of startch in mine, just egg whites, sugar, and a tiny pince of salt. It`s the same way my Mum makes it. It`s the same thing with Jamie Oliver`s recipe from Cook With Jamie, no starch needed. It also has a chocolate meringue recipe, and lots of trouble shooting tips. Pretty helpful!

  44. Sengkelat

    I make 6-egg pavlovas regularly; they’re one of my favorite desserts.

    In answer to Katsby’s oven door question, trust your timer, and don’t open the oven door for any reason. For a 6-egg meringue, I cook at 250 for 90 minutes, then without opening the oven door, turn the oven off for a 1-hour cooldown. Meringues are full of air, so it’s impossible for it to become “rock hard.” Don’t worry about it. (It is possible for your meringue to be a bit brown. If that happens, pretend that’s how it’s supposed to look; it’ll still be delicious. Next time, turn the oven down a few degrees)

    As for Mary’s question of pushing berries through a strainer with the back of a spoon, I have no idea how people get that to work. I pour the berry puree into a cloth, gather the edges, then twist to force the liquid through and leave the seeds. This may be overkill for only 10 oz. of fruit, though, as you lose a little into the cloth, and some that you have to lick off your fingers. However it does get all the liquid out, as the curious will find that the seeds left in the cloth have no flavor at all.

  45. Gretchen J

    For Katsby –
    I’ve made Nigella’s Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova a million times, and I agree with Sengkelat that you shouldn’t open the oven door ever. You can look through the glass w/the light on and see whether or not it’s dried/cracking. That recipe doesn’t contain the starch that this pavlova recipe has, and it therefore has a different consistency entirely (it’s still kind of a “chewy sponge” (her words) on the inside, but the outside dries up, cracks, and falls a bit). The most helpful for me was watching her make it on Nigella Bites all those years ago – you see exactly what it looks like when it comes out of the oven.
    I’m excited to try this recipe because I want to see what the starch will do for the consistency. But Katsby – don’t give up! Set your oven for about 10 mins less than the recipe calls for and leave it alone. When you pull it out it will crack/sink more, but it’s supposed to look that way. (Look at the picture in her book!)
    Good luck!

  46. Janet

    Mmm, my mother used to make Pavlova pudding and it was delicious. She sliced strawberries thin and let them sit with sugar, and used that for the topping. I will add this to my mental List of Things I’m Thinking About and might make it in her memory.

  47. Sally

    Deb – quick question (I’d like to make this for Easter/Passover celebration tomorrow!)- you mention cream of tartar in the 4th paragraph, but it’s not in the ingredients? Can you clarify?


  48. Cheryl

    Deb, thank you so much for this interesting recipe. Until your review and gorgeous pics, I had my doubts about something that always sounded too sweet. Now I am eager to try it and suspect it will be a huge hit around here!
    And dear Julia, the “Aussie girl” who commented on April 2, 2007: I’m sure I am waaayyy too late, but if you still check on here once in a while, I’d LOVE a copy of your mother’s pavlova recipe (if she doesn’t mind sharing). One can never get too many great recipes!l Thank you for offering, and I’m amazed no one replied. As for blog-etiquette, I don’t know either; but I’ve seen many commenters give their own recipes on here and other blogs, and it’s always much appreciated!

  49. Meghan

    Verrry late to the party but wanted to suggest flipping your pav over before you top it with cream. The crunchy top becomes the crunchy bottom and stays safely away from the decrunchifying cream.

  50. Rebecca

    I love pavlova. I have also tried sevral different recipes and have found that I prefer Nigella’s to Ina’s. Also, I feel that it works better on a less humid day, as do most meringues and it is best with a tart fruit. I would love for you to try my variation of pavlova. . . Nigella’s chocolate base pavlova, passion fruit mousse and either strawberries, raspberries or blueberries. I have also, used the standard base and made a passion fruit curd to drizzle over the fruit and whipped cream. Lemon curd would also work. I plan on trying Martha’s cranberry topping soon. And have yet to try pom on top but would probably be grand!

  51. pavolovas are the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i remember when i first tasted a pavlova and it was the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but you should try many recipes. i have tried many recipes but i can’t choose which one is the best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  52. Corey

    Just made these three times in the last week, LOVE them! I made them with sugared fresh strawberries and then also with ripe nectarines, both were amazing. This is my new favorite dessert. I can imagine they would be really good with peaches, blackberries, raspberries, okay just about any fresh fruit!

  53. Just made a 6-egg white version, it’s in the oven now. One note, tho – the vanilla isn’t in the list of ingredients in the recipe for the meringue, just in the directions and then again in the comments section. It all came together perfectly, however, and I’m topping it with mixed strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries with your raspberry sauce over it all. It’s coming with me to a dinner party at which will be served lobsters and clams on the grill – should be the perfect ending to a great meal. Thanks!!

  54. Katie

    This recipe sounds really yummie, I only noted one snafu, if you will. I dont see how much vanilla to put in, it doesn’t seem to be listed in the ingredients…I would very much like to get this sucker right when I do bake it! Let me know whenever you can!

  55. RM

    I had never had pavlova before making one myself so I’m not entirely sure how it’s “supposed” to turn out. Following the Le Cordon Bleu recipe, I made a 3 egg-white, 8-inch pavlova and baked it for an hour at 300 degrees, with a cool-down in a closed-door oven. It didn’t come out white or off-white, like yours or Ina’s, instead it was a pale golden, like the photos of Nigella’s I’ve found online (who suggests 8 egg whites, 8 inches, preheating to 350, turning down to 300 a cooking for 1 3/4 hours and cooling with an open oven). It was delicious and if I’m not doing anything wrong I’ll keep going with that recipe. But I’m a technique girl, so if I’m missing something, please share!

  56. Gil

    Do I have a mixer? No.
    Was I craving a pavlova? Yes.
    I can’t believe I acutally hand-whisked that meringue, but I did! It took a lot of arm-work and role-switching with the boy, but turned out perfect. I can’t believe I stuck it in the age-old oven we have in the apartment, the oven in which the temperatures are just a guess.

    Well, when it started cooling it cracked and collapsed a little, but somehow the texture was perfect. The exterior was a crunchy, pink delight and the interior had a fluffy marshmellow consistency. Lacking any sort of reasonable fruit, I used only pears and whipped cream and it was delicious.

    Thanks for the lovely recipe.

  57. Jessica

    I just made this for my family because we are snowed in. It was so good. We just used sliced berries unsweetened because it was so sweet and that worked well. The tartness of the berries perfectly complimented the pavlova. Thanks!

  58. Bianca

    I know I’m coming a bit late to this post(almost 4 years!) but just wanted to add that you don’t need to add cornstarch , potato starch or cream of tartar to have a successful pavlova. As an Aussie, I make mine with just egg whites, caster sugar and a little bit of vanilla extract. I bake for an hour and fifteen minutes at 130*C, so 250F. For those in the comments that have said their pavlovas have cracked- it does happen, its the charm of a home baked pavlova- just cover it with some whipped cream and it will be fine :)

  59. mary pat

    I’ve made Ina’s pavlova a dozen times with perfect results everytime! It may have to do with the moisture in the air on the day you tried.

  60. Jillian

    I used the recipe exactly as written and everything came out perfectly! I didn’t realize how much volume the recipe created, so instead of making one big pavlova, I made 4 smaller ones. Also, I topped this recipe with the mango curd recipe from the wedding cake project and them topped everything with pineapple. Delicious! I over cooked (or maybe improperly cooled) the cake so it hollowed out a little bit, but with all the toppings you couldn’t really notice.

  61. goodcooker

    So, its my first pavlova and the meringue is in the oven now. Can i make the whipped cream now and refrigerate it until i’m ready to assemble? Must I do it all at the last minute? i do not want to mess it up. Thanks.

    I LOVE your site and cannot wait for the book!

    1. deb

      goodcooker — Whipped cream can be made a couple hours in advance, but not too much longer or it begins to un-whip itself (slowly, so you’ll still be able to salvage most of it). Since you’ll want to wait for the pavlova to fully cool, which could take a while, you might want to wait a bit before making it.

  62. Hi! :)

    I’ll be making these in a School Competition (I’m a College Student) on 13th November’11, Sunday.

    So I’m thinking of making these individually but don’t really know how to. I’m on a budget and getting a Piping Bag to pipe it is really hard to find in my area. How can I bake them individually? And on what time and temperature should I bake them?

    Also, I only have Frozen Raspberries for the sauce and a good amount of strawberries, but not other berries such as blueberries. So I’m thinking of making a Raspberry- Strawberry type individual pavlova. How much strawberries should I use? Can I macerate them and add half to the sauce?

    Thank you so much for spending time to my questions. :)

  63. Alyssa

    I live in Santa Fe and tried to make meringue cookies and they turned out HORRIBLY. What would the adjustments be for high altitude cooking for this pavlova?

  64. Bindi in Oz

    I’m an Aussie who LOVES pavlova and has grown up eating my Mum’s delicious creations. I can’t believe I’m giving away this secret but add a dash of rose water to the merangue for a beautiful delicate perfume that really adds that special something! Or if you plan on topping it with tropical fruit (mango, passion fruit, etc) then try a dash of orange water. Bliss!!!
    Here in Australia I can find rose or orange water in Middle Eastern gourmet outlets (usually near the turkish delight… Mmmm!) not sure where you’d find it in USA but I’m sure a specialty shop would have small bottles available. A little goes a long way!
    Enjoy!!! :o)

  65. willy sands

    love reading all your comments, have been making Pavs for 25 yrs,all our 13 grandkids love them,to those whose whites wont whip,there cannot be a trace of fat (inc yolk)anywhere,bowl, beaters anywhere!!!!! For both pavs and my legendary sponge cake,I leave the egg whites in a bowl of hot water for about 2 minutes…this adds to the volume and gloss

  66. willy sands

    and to answer “good cooker”,whipped cream can be frozen with no danger of it collapsing,found this out by accident and now I always have some chantilly cream in my freezer,just remember to allow time to thaw as you cant really do it successfully in the microwave…chantilly cream is just whipped cream with sugar and vanilla added

  67. Vivian

    Need to make 50 tiny meringues for our Boone County, Indiana, (USA) Extension Homemaker’s International Night “tasting” dinner featuring Australia. Any technical suggestions?–I will pipe egg whites–how many total whites should I figure using? Bake how long?

    I have been told there is a boxed Pavlova Egg mix available in Australia. I will check at our restaurant supply stores for a packaged meringue mix. I am wondering if the texture will turn out the same?

    Is castor sugar the same as American superfine sugar? Thank you.

  68. I’ll bring dessert

    Love your site! This recipe vexes me but I love it so and just keep trying. I just made it for the second time and I’m having a hard time figuring out if the meringue is fully cooked. I baked as you suggested and cooled in the oven for 3 hours. But when I went to remove the seemingly-perfect meringue from the parchment, the bottom was wet. Argh! Does it need more time in the oven? A higher temp? Some other trick? thank you for the advice… Berry season is coming soon and I will try again!

  69. fedorukville

    Been making pavlova for a while now using Nigella’s recipe. Tried your version tonight and i had to raise the temp to 300′. My pav was so soft with 225′ temp. But good pics though :)

  70. Just wanted to let you know that I have had great success over the years with this dessert without using any cornstarch or potato starch, just eggs, cream of tartar, sugar and vanilla. Also, I make a version with strawberries but I macerate them in lemon and sugar to add tartness and create a delicious syrup. Might be a tiny bit easier than making raspberry sauce. Definitely worth a try when strawberries are in season. I just posted my directions if you want to have a look –

  71. Allee

    This is just like a German Schaum Torte! I have a very old cookbook that tells you to make the meringue and leave it in the oven overnight but I don’t think that’s necessary. Also, I agree with Daniela that it doesn’t really need cornstarch/potato starch.

  72. KMac

    As an Aussie I feel duty-bound to elaborate on what Julia at #21 politely alluded to: a true, proper pav should be topped with nothing but fresh berries, sliced kiwifruit and passionfruit pulp (on top of the whipped cream, obviously).

    Optional according to taste/family tradition are mango, banana and coulis of any sort.

    Having strawberries/raspberries/blueberries and kiwi arranged in the top (I tend to be geometrical about it but you can just pile it on) and drizzled with passionfruit is absolute pavlova perfection!

  73. Edith

    Hi, I was planning on making this for Passover next year but I don’t understand…why is this filed in ‘disasters’?
    Did it turn out badly? Should I give it a miss and stick with your famous lighter-than-air chocolate cake?

    1. deb

      Edith — It was a disaster in my kitchen. My oven at the time was terrible, it ran very cool and no matter how much I baked this, it didn’t bake through. I have little doubt it would work for someone else, but wanted to give a heads-up that it wasn’t a raging success for me.

  74. Maggie

    I have used Ina Garten’s recipe, and the result has been picture perfect, although I substituted a wee bit of tapioca flour for the cornstarch. My only question is – if I do it to your specifications (oven temp, weather, etc. all holding constant), will it have a more browned outside crust? ‘Twas little too white for my taste.

    1. deb

      Hi Maggie — I can’t say for sure because browning has a lot to do with individual ovens, but I suspect if mine had been cooked through, it would have gotten a toastier color on the outside.

  75. liv

    As a New Zealand girl, and extremely familiar with the pavlova concept, I have heard from many friends who have tried it in the states that it tends not to work there depending on what eggs you get? Mum made it for my Aunty and Uncle’s wedding in New York and it did work, but not anywhere near as light as ones made at home… would definitely try and get eggs that are as farm fresh as possible

  76. Mariam

    Yum! Pavlova is my absoloute favourite! Being Australian, I eat and make a good share of pavs, I always amke them large rather than minis however it is a pain leaving it an hour in the oven and several more drying! I always go for lots of whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries and passionfruit!

    I use a recipe which actually uses 3/4 tsp of cream of tartar per 4 whites, not cornflour and vinegar, though I always add a dash of vinegar for good measure.

  77. Meg

    Hi Deb,

    Being an Aussie, I feel slightly guilty that I used your recipe for my first ever pav-making experience, rather than some family recipe passed on.

    However, the results were perfect and impressed my British dinner guests, so thank you!

    I topped mine with an improvised strawberry and cucumber sauce, macerated in lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar and a shot of tanqueray gin. It was like eating summer.

    Love your site and your book.

  78. Ally

    Hello–love you and love exploring your site!

    Quick questions: Is this recipe double-able? I need to feed about 20 people and would love to do this–I’ve seen recipes for 6 egg whites (1.5x your recipe). Any thoughts would be helpful.
    Also, would packaged carton egg whites (“Just Whites”) be okay or do the whites need to be fresh from the egg?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. deb

      Ally — You can double it but I might make more pavlovas rather than one mega-pavlova as it can be pesky to try to get it to bake through at a larger size (without browning).

  79. Smitten, dear one, I love any pav recipe and your writing style in general, but the phrase is, properly, champing at the bit, not chomping.

    Looks wonderful, hope your Mom is well and fine soon.

    Peace, Mari

  80. chrisf

    Made this recipe yesterday. So delicious! The Farmer’s Market berries are killer this month, and for the topping I used only strawberries with some blueberries for a little contrast. I left the meringue in the closed oven to cool, and even though it was a little ‘golden’ and not perfectly white, the texture was exactly right.

  81. The method for the meringue includes vanilla, the ingredients however do not. How much vanilla should one use and should it be extract, paste or seeds from a pod?

  82. Anakalia

    As a Kiwi (New Zealander), I’ve known this dessert all my life. My recipe is one taken from the Edmonds cookbook (traditional NZ cookbook). From the experience of many accidents, I have found that adding cornflour (cornstarch) results in a thicker texture of marshmallow and a glossier finish on the meringue and makes it less like eating a traditional meringue and more like the Pavlova texture we all adore. So long as you avoid fats – and are lucky enough to get your oven temps right lol – Pavlova is a very forgiving dessert to make :)

  83. Shelly Kraal

    I make this every year for Christmas. I make two meringues, stack them and put a layer of whipped cream and fruit between the two. ,y husband is Australian and begged me to learn how to make these and plum pudding. Always a big hit for the holidays.

  84. Margo

    It’s unclear from the instructions at what point the cream of tartar should be added. Does it go in just before the vanilla/vinegar mixture?

  85. deb

    The first step has you stir the cornstarch into the sugar in a small bowl. However, it’s confusing (my bad) because that means the ingredients are out of order. Regardless, you mix whatever you’re using with the sugar. You can skip it, but it does help the meringue set.

  86. Susan

    Pavlova is made by beating egg whites (and sometimes salt) to a very stiff consistency before folding in caster sugar, white vinegar or another acid (e.g. cream of tartar or lemon juice), cornflour, and sometimes vanilla essence, and slow-baking the mixture, similar to meringue.[14]

    The pavlova has a crisp and crunchy outer shell, and a soft, moist marshmallow-like centre, in contrast to meringue which is usually solid throughout. It has been suggested the addition of cornflour is responsible for the marshmallow centre, although it has been debated that the cornflour is just another egg white stabiliser in addition to the acid.[15] The consistency also makes the pavlova significantly more fragile than meringue. Because the pavlova is notorious for deflating if exposed to cold air, when cooking is complete it is left in the oven to fully cool down before the oven door is opened.

  87. When I make it I beat the eggs part way… then add sugar and beat very stiff and glossy… then fold in the vinegar/cornstarch/vanilla

    If you don’t beat the eggs right or mess up the cooking time you get flat and/or crisp/gooey – more like meringue not quite dried out rather than the delicious marshmallowy pillow soft filling inside that crisp shell…

    No vinegar (or cream of tartar or etc) and you seem to get more meringue like… cornstarch does seem to make it nice and glossy and good to pile up for nice marshmallow.

  88. Zanna

    I made this last weekend and it was beautiful! I skipped the sauce and just served the pavlova with freshly whipped cream and sugared berries and it was a huge hit. I will definitely keep this recipe around. I didn’t realize it was so easy and it looks so impressive.

  89. Sue

    Looks delicious. My concern is: How much can this be made in advance? I realize that the meringue part can be made a few days ahead, I don’t want to be whipping up cream etc just before the Pesach seder starts. Looking forward to your reply

  90. Jennifer

    I had a delicious pavlova with a strawberry/rhubarb topping last night and now want to make my own. This looks and sounds amazing. One quick question-what kind of white vinegar did you use? White wine vinegar or distilled vinegar? Thanks.

  91. Sharon

    So I’ve made this four times in the last month, and I can only say that I have died and gone to heaven!!!! The crunchy outside, marshmallow gooey center with the tart berry sauce is unbelievably delicious. I added almond extract the fourth time I made it to the egg whites instead of vanilla and it tasted like a macaroon. Everyone just loved it!! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!! I will try lemon and coconut extract next.

  92. Erin

    Just Stumbled across this now :) as a pure bred New Zealander I grew up on this, ours is essentially the same but doesnt use any starch. So good and always a crowd pleaser especially with Americans!! They are always so confused then pleasantly surprised – then all of a sudden it is gone

  93. Melissa

    Hi Deb,

    I haven’t read the comments (so I may have been pre-empted) but just wanted to point out that we have peacefully settled the Aussies vs. NZers Pavlova debate in the best possible way… rugby.

    Of course, we all knew that NZ had made it first but now it is officially settled ;-)
    My mother is the pavlova queen and a gorgeous version (my father’s favourite) is to add a teaspoon of instant coffee in the mixture. It a very subtle ‘memory of coffee’ pavlova but immensely moreish.

  94. Love this recipe! I’m wondering though why my meringue comes out of the oven with a ring of hard transparent bubbles around the outside towards the bottom. Any ideas?


  95. Hi Deb:

    This recipe needs editing as the written instructions mentions two ingredients on on the ingredient list (vanilla and cream of tartar). The internet helped filled in those gaps for me but you might want to check it out.

    And mine was AWESOME. Thanks for another great recipe!

  96. Beth

    I made a batch of lemon curd this weekend and wanted to use up the leftover egg whites. I’m so glad David Lebovitz’s blog pointed me to this recipe. It was delicious–and surprisingly simple. We ate ours topped with fresh lemon curd instead of whipped cream. Divine!

    1. deb

      I have a 6-egg one I’d say serves 8 if it’s the only dessert, people will take smaller slivers if there are more, so this one, perhaps 6. You can make it larger, however, I find it easier to make multiples so it’s not baking forever.

  97. Mary Jo

    Delicious. I made the raspberry sauce, whipped cream but did not have berries for the top but I did have peaches, WOW. Peaches and Raspberries go together so well with this recipe. Thank you!

  98. Allison Barker

    What exactly is the interior supposed to be like? The interior of mine came out to be something like a fine mesh of bubbles. The texture seemed all wrong, though the exterior looked fine. Any ideas what I did wrong?

  99. Julia

    I tried several recipes and found problems like you mention. Going to try yours today. I noticed that you left the vanilla out of the recipe but mention it in the method. I’m going to add a teaspoon and wing it.

  100. John Vekich

    I found same issue with original recipe: 180 F cooking temp creates a raw mess.
    I found anything between 230 F and 250 F works well. Article in “Cook’s Illustrated” has some interesting insights about various meringues and what you get for texture by varying ingredients. Worth the read.

  101. helenhawk1

    Both vanilla and cream of tartar are mentioned in the instructions, but are NOT in the ingredients list.

    So….how much vanilla? How much cream of tartar & when?

  102. cathydellinger

    Wow! Between this and the chocolate pavlova I’m going to lose my mind, in a good way.
    Question….how many small pav’s can I get with this recipe? I see the number of servings on the chocolate pav recipe, but nothing about servings here.
    Help!! Doing desserts among other things for a last night Seder. Thanks!!

    1. deb

      It’s really going to depend on size, but I did a 12-egg white batch and had way too much for the 18 (maybe 4″ across) I wanted, maybe by 1/3. Hope that helps.

      1. cathydellinger

        Thanks, Deb. It is helpful. I think I’ll do 6 egg whites and cross my fingers. Or, just go with chocolate cause, as we all know, you can never have too much chocolate!!

  103. Amy Simon

    Made my first Pavlova, following Deb’s directions as written – came out Perfect!
    Everyone loved it. One thing to point out – I made the shell the day before. Cooled it completely and then stored it in air tight container. The next day when I served it I intended on transferring it to a plate but when I went to do that I felt it was too fragile to transfer. Lucky for me it was a casual crowd and I just assembled and served in the container it was in. If you’re planning on cooking the shell ahead of time, incorporate your serving plate into your storage plan :-)

  104. Sofia

    At the meringue cake section it is written “pour the vanilla- vinegar mixture”, but in the ingredient list there is no mention of vanilla. How much should we put in the meringue cake? Thank you in advance!

  105. Christine

    Hi, Deb, I was wondering if my egg whites should beat room temperature or fresh from the fridge cold? Thanks!

  106. mary cleary

    I do not see how much vanilla is recommended for the pavlova, or the amount of cream of tartar. Please advise.

  107. Susan updike

    I have made this pavlova twice in one week. My daughter-in-law asked me if I could make a pavlova for our family Christmas gathering. I looked at a few recipes and started to get discouraged and then I thought “let me check out Smitten”. I followed the recipe exactly as written and it came out perfect! My daughter-in-law was so excited and everyone loved it! So much fun to try something new! Thanks Deb for your recipes and for sharing them with us. My grandchildren think I can do anything now. 😄

  108. Jennifer Cluett

    Hi there! I’m making this and don’t see vanilla in the ingredients for the meringue part although the directions say to mix vanilla and vinegar…am I missing something or is that prep for later?

  109. Mindi

    I am not sure what I am doing wrong. I start whipping the whites and they get bubbly and then get the soft peaks. As soon as I start sprinkling in the sugar, the mixture turns very liquidity like marshmallow topping for ice cream. This never happens when I make macaroons. Any advice would be appreciated

  110. Seema

    Hi Deb and commenters! Hoping for some guidance. I made this and it was very airy and light inside. Not marshmallow-y at all. What did I do wrong? Cooked too long? Didn’t whip the egg whites enough? I baked it at around 225 for an hour and 15. Thank you!

  111. Karen Sabbath

    Would you be able/willing to add in vanilla to the ingredient list? It’s referenced in the instructions, but not listed in ingredients. I think it is 1/2 TSP according to other recipes I looked at.

  112. sophie pfeiffer

    I made the meringue according to directions and it turned out beautifully. Thank you for the clear and detailed instructions….another Smitten success! Filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit…it was so simple and yet looked so elegant, everyone loved it. My only question is that it seemed to shrink in height considerably…I’ve seen tall versions of Pavlova…is this achieved simply by using more meringue?

  113. Jennifer Gold

    Help! How many people would this serve? (I know, I know. I should just know. But I don’t.) Six? Chag Sameach!!