Grandma's Perfect Pavlova

a quintessential Australian dessert

  • Prep Time:
    20 mins

  • Cook Time:
    1 hr to 1 hr 15 mins

  • Difficulty:

  • Serves:
    8-10 people

Botanical Benefits*:

Diet Style:

At an Aussie BBQ, party, family gathering, fancy do, or celebration you will find this great classic Australian dessert.  It’s a crispy crackable meringue shell on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, with a crazy sweet, layer of whipped cream topped with an array of fruits and berries.  To me a “Pav” has to have strawberries, kiwis and passion fruit but there are no rules.

It is believed that this dessert was named after Anna Pavalova, a Russian ballerina who toured both Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.  Pavalova is an iconic dessert in both countries.



  • 6 egg whites – separate carefully and set yolks aside – see notes

  • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar = superfine white sugar – it will work with white table sugar.

  • 2 tsp. cornflour/cornstarch

  • 1 tsp white vinegar

  • pinch fine salt

  • 2 cups of freshly whipped cream

  • 3-5 cups of cut-up summery fruit and berries

  • edible flowers if you have some growing – if not try to plant some for next year; gardener’s link


Pre-heat oven to 180 C / 360 F

Line baking tray or sheet pan with parchment paper.  I mark out the size of the pav on the parchment paper. Round is about a 23-25 cm/9-10 inch diameter circle or a similar size square or rectangle, depending on how I want to serve it. I find it easier to cut and serve as a rectangle.

Separate egg whites into a very clean and dry mixing bowl – be sure to have no traces of egg yolk.

Whisk egg whites in a standing mixer or with a hand mixer or by hand (if you’re tough) until whites are stiff.

Slowly add sugar in 1/2 cup measures, whisking all the time and occasionally stopping to scrap down the sides of the bowl.  Whisk until the mixture is very glossy and smooth when rubbed between your finger and thumb. This take a few minutes or so.

Add sifted cornflour (cornstarch), vinegar, pinch of salt, and whisk 20 secs to evenly incorporate.

Spread meringue out on parchment paper on your tray (an offset spatula or knife is the easiest for laying it out).  Keep it nice and neat and the edges all smooth as the cooking process doesn’t drastically change the finished look of the meringue.

Gently place in oven and immediately turn the oven temp down to 120 C/240 F & cook for about 1 hr to 1 hr and 15 mins. There should be a  nice crisp even shell on the outside and the inside should be fluffy.  The meringue colour will either be white or have a slight tint to it—do not allow it to brown.

Remove from the oven & cool completely. Be careful when moving as it can be delicate.
**Some people will turn the oven off & leave it to cool completely in the oven, I have done this and sometimes its great, but other times the inside has dried out more than I had hoped, meringue can be a little fickle sometimes.

Serve with whipped cream, cut up fruit and berries of your choice. I love to adorn with edible flowers.  

Store. Meringue doesn’t like humidity so once cooled completely if you are not using soon, store in airtight container. I like to serve it the day I make it.

Notes. Make a lemon curd or passion fruit curd with the egg yolks and serve alongside in a jar for people to spoon over as they wish.  You could also fold it into the whipped cream for added decadence.  If you make this for your mother-in-law she will be your life-long fan (mine is).

Recipe Given to me by my Grandma Hines. She was an amazing cook and did everything by hand including whipping up this Pavlova.