Make the perfect pavlova every time with this easy pavlova recipe with step-by-step photos, served with cream and passionfruit

Make the perfect pavlova every time with this easy pavlova recipe with step-by-step photos, served with cream and passionfruit

Tips on how to make a pavlova dessert with a crisp meringue shell and soft marshmallow centre.
Australian Pavlova
There is nothing which reminds me more of Australia than a classic pavlova. This was something I grew up eating at parties and celebrations, and a backyard BBQ was never complete without a pavlova dessert standing proud and tall on the kitchen table.
What is a Pavlova?
A pavlova is essentially one large meringue, topped with lashings of whipped cream and decorated with fruit.

For me, it is also really important that the pavlova is tall and high – a sign of a successful pavlova.
Why This Pavlova Recipe Works
My recipe below gives you comprehensive tips on how to make a beautifully tall pavlova with the perfect crust and soft, chewy centre.
Easy Pavlova
A pavlova, if you get it right, can be a very easy dessert to make.

If we are having friends over for dinner, I simply make the pavlova first thing in the morning and then leave it unattended for the rest of the day, until just before serving when I will disappear into the kitchen to whip the cream and prepare the fruit topping.

And considering that I always have a stash of egg whites in the freezer, a pavlova can be a fairly economical dessert.
{Egg whites are best frozen, two or three to a small bag, for quick thawing}{Some of my many pavlovas before they are ready to go into the oven. If you have egg whites stored in the freezer, you can make a pavlova within minutes with some pantry staples. A chocolate pavlova is a lovely variation.}How to Make Pavlova Step 1
Unless you really want to have a heavy duty upper arm workout, an electric stand mixer or an electric hand-held beater is an essential equipment when making a pavlova.

Place the egg whites into a large, clean bowl that is free from any grease.

To ensure that the egg whites whip up nicely, make sure that they are at room temperature.
Step 2
Whisk the egg whites until they have tripled in volume and form soft peaks when you lift the beaters.

Soft peaks mean that, when you lift the beaters, the mixture forms a peak which falls over or which does not stand.

At this stage, the beaten egg whites should look very soft and foamy.
Step 3
Next, add the sugar, one spoon at a time, until the egg whites transform into a thick and glossy mixture, and stiff peaks form when you lift the beaters.

Stiff peaks mean that, when you lift the beaters, the mixture forms a peak which holds its shape.

It is important to make sure that the sugar has been completely dissolved in the egg white mixture, but it is also important to not over-beat the mixture once you start adding the sugar.

To test that the sugar has been completely dissolved, simply rub a bit of mixture in between your finger tips.
Step 4
The resulting pavlova mixture should be thick and firm, and it should hold its shape when you start piling it on the baking tray.

If the pavlova mixture is soft and runny, and you are unable to shape it into a high pavlova because the mixture keeps sliding, it means that you may have overbeaten the eggwhites or that you added the sugar too soon. Please see the FAQs below.
Step 5
Shape the pavlova on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

I recommend that you smooth the top of the pavlova so that it is relatively flat. This is so the whipping cream and any toppings which you add later can sit nicely on the pavlova.

If your pavlova is domed in shape, and cream and toppings which you add later will quickly slide off.
Tips for Making the Perfect Pavlova
Perhaps what some people find intimidating about making a pavlova is that it can be prone to failure. The secret lies in understanding the food science behind making a meringue.

The following are my tips on how to make pavlova perfectly every time.
Make it in advance: I recommend making the pavlova the night before serving, or in the morning if you plan on serving it later in the evening. This will give the pavlova plenty of time to cool and dry in the oven for the perfect crisp meringue shell and slightly chewy centre. Use old eggs: When making a meringue or pavlova, using the egg whites of old eggs is preferable to those of really fresh eggs. What works really well are frozen egg whites. Simply freeze 2 or 3 egg whites per freezer bag for quick defrosting and let them come to room temperature before using. Adjust the baking and cooling time: Some people like their pavlova to be crisp on the outside with a slightly chewy centre. Others like their pavlova to be only slightly crisp on the outside, but soft and marshmallowy on the inside. I belong to the first group. If you fall into the latter group, bake your pavlova for only about 45 minutes to 1 hour, and leave it to cool in the oven for only a few hours. Flatten the top of the pavlova:  Although a nicely domed pavlova looks lovely when naked and unadorned, it’s not very practical if you plan to cover it with whipped cream as it will simply run down the sides. So make sure the top of the pavlova is somewhat flattened before you put it in the oven. Stick down the baking paper:  If your oven has a strong fan, “glue” the baking paper to the baking tray with some pavlova mixture on each corner. Otherwise, during baking, the baking paper may fly up and stick to the pavlova. Don’t worry about cracks: It’s normal if the top of your pavlova cracks as it cools. And don’t worry because you will be covering it with whipped cream anyway. Decorate just before serving: Although I recommend baking the pavlova in advance, you should only decorate the pavlova at the last minute. Once the cream is placed on the pavlova, it will start to soften the pavlova and add weight, and your pavlova might collapse soon after. Toppings for Pavlova
There are many pavlova recipes, and many combinations of toppings for pavlova.

When it comes to pavlova toppings, I like to keep it simple with just whipped cream and lots of fresh passionfruit. You need the cream (which should be unsweetened) to soften the crunchy pavlova, and the sourness from the passionfruit is perfect in off-setting the sweetness of the pavlova.

Sliced kiwi fruit and banana is a popular combination from my childhood, and raspberries and strawberries are also wonderful when they are in season.

I try not to use more than 2 or 3 different fruits on a pavlova.

Lately, it has been en vogue to skip the fruit altogether and to up the sugar content by decorating the pavlova with toppings such as honeycomb and salted caramel sauce.

Once you start making pavlova as often as I do, you will find yourself experimenting with different fruits anyway, not least to give yourself an excuse to make a pavlova again and again.
Print Pavlova with Cream and Passionfruit Print Pin Recipe
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5 from 3 reviews

Tips on how to make a pavlova dessert with a crisp meringue shell and soft marshmallow centre.
Author: eatlittlebird.com Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time: 75 mins Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes Yield: Serves 3-4 Category: Desserts Method: Oven Cuisine: Australian Ingredients
For the pavlova
3 egg whites 180 g (½ cup plus ⅓ cup) caster sugar (superfine sugar) 1½ teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch) 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
For the topping
250 ml (1 cup) double cream (heavy whipping cream) 3–4 passionfruits Instructions Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C (without fan). Using a standmixer or electric beaters, whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until they have tripled in volume and soft peaks form. Turn the speed down to low and slowly add the caster sugar, one spoon at a time until the sugar is well incorporated. As you add the sugar, the mixture will start to become thick and glossy, and stiff peaks will form when you lift the beaters. Remember to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Rub a bit of the mixture between your fingertips to test if the sugar has been fully dissolved; if you don’t feel any grains of sugar, move onto the next step. Add the cornflour,  white wine vinegar, and vanilla extract. I do this on low speed with the stand mixer for only 2 to 3 turns (about 1 second). Line a baking tray with baking paper and spoon the pavlova mixture onto the tray into a round shape. I like to dollop the mixture on top of each other into a high pile, and to then shape the pavlova from there – using this method ensures that your pavlova will have some height. Use a palette knife to shape the sides of the pavlova and to slightly flatten the top. The pavlova will expand and rise once cooked, so shape it to be on the slightly smaller side. Please see my photos above to give you an idea of what an uncooked pavlova should look like just before it goes into the oven. Place the pavlova in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 300°F/150°C (without fan). Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Do not open the oven door during this time. After 1 hour and 15 minutes, turn off the oven and leave the oven door closed so the pavlova can cool down completely. You should leave the pavlova in the oven for at least 2-3 hours, but overnight (12-18 hours) is best. The pavlova should be decorated only just before serving. Whip the double cream until it is thick and soft. Spread the cream over the top of the pavlova and drizzle over the pulp of 3-4 passionfruit. For a quick assembly, you can whip the cream and prepare the passionfruit pulp ahead of time and leave them in fridge until needed. Kitchen Notes
I recommend making the pavlova the night before serving, or in the morning if you plan on serving it later in the evening. This will give the pavlova plenty of time to cool and dry in the oven for the perfect crisp meringue shell and slightly chewy centre.

When making a meringue or pavlova, using the egg whites of old eggs is preferable to those of really fresh eggs. What works really well are frozen egg whites. Simply freeze 2 or 3 egg whites per freezer bag for quick defrosting and let them come to room temperature before using.

If you’re not sure what soft peaks, firm peaks or stiff peaks mean when it comes to beating egg whites, this guide might help you.

Some people like their pavlova to be crisp on the outside with a slightly chewy centre. Others like their pavlova to be only slightly crisp on the outside, but soft and marshmallowy on the inside. I belong to the first group. If you fall into the latter group, bake your pavlova for only about 45 minutes to 1 hour, and leave it to cool in the oven for only a few hours.

Although a nicely domed pavlova looks lovely when naked and unadorned, it’s not very practical if you plan to cover it with whipped cream as it will simply run down the sides. So make sure the top of the pavlova is somewhat flattened before you put it in the oven.

If your oven has a strong fan, “glue” the baking paper to the baking tray with some pavlova mixture on each corner. Otherwise, during baking, the baking paper may fly up and stick to the pavlova.

It’s normal if the top of your pavlova cracks as it cools. And don’t worry because you will be covering it with whipped cream anyway.

Although I recommend baking the pavlova in advance, you should only decorate the pavlova at the last minute. Once the cream is placed on the pavlova, it will start to soften the pavlova and add weight, and your pavlova might collapse soon after.

If something goes wrong and your pavlova collapses into a flat pancake once cooled, don’t despair – your pavlova will still taste great. Simply crumble the pavlova into a large serving bowl, stir through the whipped cream and passionfruit and you will have something similar to an Eton Mess which is traditionally made with strawberries.

PAVLOVA FOR 4 TO 6 PEOPLE
To make a slightly larger pavlova, I recommend the following recipe:
4 egg whites
240 g (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1 1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

OVEN TEMPERATURES All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
Nutrition Serving Size: 4 Calories: 441 per serve Sugar: 55.3g Sodium: 66.1mg Fat: 21.7g Carbohydrates: 59.5g Fiber: 3.1g Protein: 5g Cholesterol: 67.2mg Did you make this recipe?
Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram and using #eatlittlebird
FAQs
Why is my pavlova mixture soft and runny? If you start adding the sugar before the egg whites have reached the stiff peak stage, or if you beat the egg whites for too long and are too far beyond the stiff peak stage, your meringue mixture will be soft and runny and won’t hold its shape once on the baking tray.

Why did my pavlova not rise? If you don’t properly incorporate the sugar until it dissolves completely, your pavlova may weep and fail to rise magnificently; it may even collapse.

Why did my pavlova collapse? If you open the oven door too soon, the sudden change in temperature may also cause your pavlova to fall and crumble. Even making a pavlova in humid temperatures can be problematic.

How can I rescue my flat pavlova? If something goes wrong and your pavlova collapses into a flat pancake once cooled, don’t despair – your pavlova will still taste great. Simply crumble the pavlova into a large serving bowl, stir through the whipped cream and passionfruit and you will have something similar to an Eton Mess which is traditionally made with strawberries.

How far in advance can I make a pavlova? I recommend baking the pavlova the night before you plan to serve it, or at least 5 to 6 hours before serving to give the pavlova time to cool and dry properly.

How long should the pavlova cool? I recommend at least 5 to 6 hours for the pavlova to cool and dry in the oven.

How far in advance can I decorate the pavlova? You should decorate the pavlova at the last minute, just before serving. Once you add whipped cream to the pavlova, the pavlova shell will start to soften and it may even collapse shortly after.

What causes a pavlova to be chewy? A pavlova is similar to a meringue, except that it also contains cornflour (cornstarch) and vinegar to produce a chewy centre. Allowing the pavlova to cool and dry in the oven for as long as possible also helps to make the pavlova extra crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle.

What makes a pavlova soft in the centre? If you don’t want a chewy pavlova and prefer instead a soft centre with more of a marshmallow texture, I suggest shaping a tall pavlova and to bake the pavlova for slightly less time (about 1 hour if using the recipe below).

All of the aforementioned has happened to me in my quest to master this dessert. But practice makes perfect, and once you get an idea of what the beaten egg whites should look and feel like before you add the sugar and the rest of the ingredients, making pavlova will become second nature to you.
More Pavlova Recipes
Looking for more pavlova recipes? You might also enjoy the following:

Chocolate Pavlova with Chestnut Purée

Mont Blanc Chocolate Pavlova

Lemon Pavlova
Update
This recipe was first published on 23 April 2014. It has been updated with new photos and more comprehensive recipe notes.

The post Pavlova with Cream and Passionfruit appeared first on Eat, Little Bird.
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