03 Aug2009

Pavlova Revisited

by Marketman


My first attempt at pavlova wasn’t brilliant, and I knew it could have been better. Comments from chrisb, sister, and others helped me confirm what I instinctively thought to be problems with the recipe or methods that I employed. Input like that is why I REALLY like this blog as they collectively help to improve something I’ve tried to cook, and which ultimately, other readers may try to do for themselves. So while I am still not a huge fan of pavlovas, I wanted to give it a second try so that I would have a recipe I was happy with and could refer to in future if and when I had to make another one. I was much happier with this iteration.


First the analysis. The first round was definitely cooked in an oven that was way too hot. I used frozen eggwhites that tv hosts claim are fine, but I am almost certain they are not as good as fresh eggwhites. I didn’t whip the eggwhites enough or in the right progression of slow to fast to get a silky and stable enough result. I may have introduced the sugar into the egg whites too quickly. I followed Nigella’s lead, taken from Australian food expert Stephanie Alexander, that instead of building a bowl of meringue, one makes a meringue and when it is done, turns it over onto the serving platter so the cream and fruit goes on top of the ugly bottom and sinks into the meringue, while the crisp edges stay crisp… For this second run, I used 6 fresh egg whites at about 70F. I cleaned the mixing bowl with the freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon, using a clean paper towel. This step was to remove any hint of grease inside the bowl and beaters that could affect the whipping of the egg whites.


I then started the Kitchen Aid mixer on low and when the eggs got a little frothy increased the speed to medium high and about 1-2 minutes later put the machine on the highest setting. When the eggwhites had some stiffish peaks, but not dry, I added 1.5 cups of white sugar, but introduced it by the spoon full instead of dumping the entire amount in. I also added 3 teaspoons of baking powder (others use cornstarch), two teaspoons of good real vanilla and 1 teaspoon of vinegar and continue to whip this for several minutes until I got a denser, stable and shiny consistency. I knew at this point this was already much better than the first time around.


I formed the meringue into two medium sized “bowls” and stuck them into an oven heated to exactly 300F, then immediately turned it down to 230F, though it took some 20-25 minutes to get down to 240F, and I sometimes opened the oven door to help release the heat. After an hour, and the meringues were just vaguely tanned, I turned off the oven and left the meringues in there for some three hours until cooled. The bowls cracked a bit and deflated in the middle slightly. Just before serving, I whipped up a lot of cream, added some leftover passionfruit jam to the cream, and piled it into the “well” of the meringue, hiding the cracks.


I added sliced nectarines, plums and lots of blueberries and placed that on top. Sprinkled it all with some powdered sugar and served it soon after to oohs and aahs… This was a solid 8.5 out of 10. Good enough for my files and future use, and you guys can try it as well if interested. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. :) The dessert looks great, but I am still wondering what the big deal is with pavlovas… :)



  1. linda says:

    Hi MM! When it comes to pavlovas,it’s always a big deal in every party.It looks good,tastes good and always goes first when it comes to desserts here in Oz! Yours looks tall and yummy! Well done,MM!

    Aug 3, 2009 | 10:52 am


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  3. jtan says:

    have had pavlova with a creme anglaise filling. made by an aussie. that i like. i love anything with custardy filling. must be a leche flan thing.

    Aug 3, 2009 | 11:14 am

  4. diwata says:

    I love pavlovas… did you know that this dessert was named in honor of a ballet dancer that went to visit Australia?

    Aug 3, 2009 | 12:23 pm

  5. alicia says:

    This pavlova is beautiful. An Aussie friend once made one and added port to the cream filling, I thought that was a good addition to cut through the sweetness – I usually find them too sweet . Using tart fruit like passion fruit or the stone fruit you used ( plums and nectarines) berries too are best with this dessert, mangoes I find, are still too sweet. But I’m with you, while pavlovas are gorgeous and a stunning addition to a dessert buffet I might add, they are not one of my favorites either :-)

    Aug 3, 2009 | 2:03 pm

  6. chrisb says:

    That’s a spectacular looking pavolva MM! =)

    Aug 3, 2009 | 3:00 pm

  7. Mel Wood says:

    It’s a tug-o-war between the Kiwis and Aussies as to who really invented the pavlova. Both countries hail it as their national dessert and claim its origin. Needless to say, it’s something really, really special to both countries. Neither of them would acknowledge each other’s claim.

    My husband who’s a Kiwi loves his pav with slices of fruits in season – kiwi fruit, tamarillo, raspberries, strawberries etc.,- with ice cream and topped with lots and lots of whipped cream! I personally don’t like the taste because it tastes malansa to me, but I enjoy watching my husband devour this dessert and lick his lips afterwards.

    Whenever he sees me preparing leche flan, he would suggest that I make pavlova with the egg whites. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a good pav. My previous attempts were disasters because they collapse as soon as I take them out of the oven.

    I should probably try your recipe MM!

    Aug 3, 2009 | 4:05 pm

  8. Ailene says:

    Hi MM,

    Just curious, with all the meringue talk and the macarons, have you ever tried making your own macarons?

    Aug 4, 2009 | 12:18 am

  9. joyce says:

    wow!this version is the spiffier one. there’s something about the overflowing of blueberries and rich cream that makes it look yummier hehe

    Aug 4, 2009 | 4:34 pm

  10. Helen says:

    Never liked Pavlova, give me cake everytime…

    Aug 4, 2009 | 4:34 pm

  11. nicolette says:

    Pretty! I have to try this sometime but I’m curious as to how you shaped them into “bowls”.

    Aug 7, 2009 | 3:21 am

  12. Marketman says:

    nicolette, just use a spatula, the egg whites are very easy to shape…

    Aug 7, 2009 | 9:10 am

  13. emsy says:

    i uber love pavlova because it never fails to impress guests…but i kinda have a little shortcut with the meringue. there’s a sidewalk vendor selling meringue and barquillos (not the colored kind…but the ones shaped like kisses packed in little plastic packages), who always “parks” by the gate of our subdivision and we buy from him all the time. eventually we became sort of friends and it turns out that they make the meringue themselves. so whenever i feel the craving for pavlova or my partner’s relatives are coming over, i ask him to make me big bowls of meringue and make it a little “tostado” or burnt and he’d have it available the next day. all i have to do is fill it with whipped cream and top it with fruits. modern girl shortcut. :)

    there’s just something grand/impressive about how a pavlova looks that just makes people think that you’re some kind of wunderkind in the kitchen, right? it’s very appealing visually. and who can say no to whipped cream and fresh berries? even my partner’s mother HAD to give her nod of appreciation when i brought one for dinner.

    Nov 19, 2009 | 2:38 pm

  14. neri says:

    Hi! I was just wondering if you can lead me to any bakeshop selling pavlovas within quezon city (diliman area)? I’m not into baking as much as I am into cooking so I don’t think trying out pavlova recipes is gonna be an adventure worth its while. I can probably just work out at decorating it. Also would you know if our local napoleones is similar to the russian napoleon tort? Thanks and more power!

    Jan 8, 2011 | 10:21 pm

  15. Marketman says:

    neri, I have never seen an unadorned or adorned pavlova for sale in a Manila/QC bakeshop. They generally have to be consumed soon after you make them. Not sure about the link between napoleones…

    Jan 9, 2011 | 7:06 am

  16. Mike Padilla says:

    It was in Sydney where I first tasted pavlova. i loved it so much that whenever i visit my friends in oz, pavlova is served first,haha…
    I just wanted to know if there is a store that sells pavlova in QC. I live in Fairview.

    Jun 14, 2011 | 8:44 pm


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