Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 30th April 2010

Pavlova, a slice of heaven on a plate!  One of my favourite shows, MasterChef Australia, kicked off their second season with Donna Hay as the guest judge.  The contestants had to create the Best Pavlova using Donna’s recipe.

A close up photo of a pavlova decorated with strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

I’ve never had the pleasure of tasting a Pavlova let alone ever made one, it appears I wasn’t alone, 8 out of the 10 contestants had never made one either.

A close up photo of an undecorated pavlova on a glass cake dish with a pink ribbon.

After watching the series opener I was inspired to create a Pavlova of my own. Donna gave the contestants some Pavlova tips before they went off to recreate her Pavlova, no egg yolk in the egg whites, measure the egg whites precisely, whip the egg whites to the perfect peak stage, start adding sugar but make sure you add gradually to achieve a glossy outer crust on your Pavlova and a firm but marshmallow inside. Donna stressed to the contestants that although the recipe had few ingredients so many things could go wrong in the making of the dessert.

A close up photo of a strawberry with whipped cream on an upside down champagne glass.

I’ve never been so nervous making a dessert, what pressure.  I think I studied my egg whites for 5 minutes making sure not a speck of egg yolk was visible and ensuring I measured properly.

I decided to decorate my Pavlova simply with sweetened whipped cream, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.

A close up photo of a pavlova with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Everything was going so smooth, I thought what is all the fuss about, this dessert isn’t so difficult to make, I started to add the strawberries, then the blackberries and before I got to the raspberries, my Pavlova collapsed on the one side.  Two minutes away from the photo shoot this couldn’t possibly be happening.

Luckily, with a little fancy footwork I was able to save it and in the end, I was more than pleased with the results.

A close up photo of 3 strawberries with whipped cream on a white dish.

The Pavlova was crispy on the outside (at least 3/4 of it was), light and fluffy on the inside and oh so delicious, this dessert is heaven on earth.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from one of Donna Hay’s recipes.  Donna has some amazing cake recipes as well.  If you like chocolate Donna’s Chocolate Mud Cake and Chocolate Buttermilk Layer Cake are to die for deliciousness!

At some point I would love to try Mowie’s Vanilla and Ginger Pavlova recipe.  If you have a chance you must visit Mowie’s site Mowielicious.  I could spend the entire day browsing through his recipes and admiring his photography!

And of course I must also try Meeta’s Chocolate Pavlova.  I am a huge chocolate lover and Meeta has given us double the chocolate by layering her Pavlova with Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse.  How could I resist?

A photo of a pavlova decorated with raspberries, blackberries and strawberries on a glass cake stand.

A close up photo of 3 strawberries with whipped cream on a white dish.

Have a nice weekend, if you haven’t visited our image gallery, please take a look!

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Cakes & Cheesecakes, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci al Cucchiaio, Dolci alla Frutta, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fruit Desserts, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Spoon Desserts, Torte

Comments (47)

47 Responses to “Pavlova, A Slice of Heaven”

  1. Kaitlin Says:

    I have never made or tasted pavlova, either. It seems to be making the rounds in blogs lately though, and I really want to give it a shot!

    Yours looks lovely :)

  2. Grace Says:

    Thank you Kaitlin, I wonder if MasterChef had anything to do with Pavlova’s hitting the blogs. I really enjoyed it, it was so light, I was a little surprised and it wasn’t too sweet either. Let me know how it goes for you.

  3. Sandra Says:

    Excellent blog. Didn’t know that Masterchef Australia was on in other countries. Pavlova is very Australian (although the Kiwis will argue that). I have grown up making pavlova and it is a family favourite. Very traditional with strawberries, passionfruit, bananas and kiwifruit (gooseberry). Thanks so much for you beautiful web site.

  4. Grace Says:

    Hi Sandra, thank you for the kind words. MasterChef, unfortunately is not available on Canadian TV but I am viewing online, a little behind everyone else. I wish I could have tried it with passionfruit, unfortunately another item not available to me at the moment, visit to the market revealed we may or may not see it until some time in August.

  5. Marly Says:

    What beautiful pics! I love berries and this is the perfect time of year for that.

  6. Grace Says:

    I love berries Marley, can never get enough of them, can wait for berry season here!

  7. Ryan Says:

    Nothing beats sitting watching Wimbledon with a bowl of strawberries and cream mmm.

  8. Grace Says:

    I love strawberries & cream, I had a bowl everyday without fail when I was pregnant, both times. My husband spent many a night hunting down strawberries, what a good man he was.

  9. di Says:

    made the pavlova, simple and very easy to follow instructions. Now that the festive season is upon us I would like to know, if I can make the pavlova 1 week in advance, and once cooled thoroughly in an airtight container? I am a little weary, as i have never done this before, and it would be hideous to serve my guests a stale pavlova. Has anyone else made a pavlova in advance? and stored it..any tips? Or just make day prior..suggestions would be greatly appreciated

  10. Grace Says:

    Hi Di, I like to make things ahead of time as well, especially around the holidays but I don’t think you should make the Pavlova any sooner than a couple of days before. I think you will lose that crisp outer shell and the inside won’t be as fluffy as it should be.

  11. Chef Dennis Says:

    Your Pavlova looks perfect, even if it did fall on one side. Do you know what happened? I have never made a pavlova before, but I know if something can go wrong it will….lol
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  12. Grace Says:

    I’m not sure what happened Dennis. At first I thought it may have been the weight of the fruit but that didn’t make much sense because it only broke on the one side. It looked so perfect before I added the fruit, oh well, it tasted wonderful.

  13. RavieNomNoms Says:

    Wow that just looks amazing, so pretty! (I am sure it is delicious too!)

  14. Evan Thomas Says:

    Great job! I would have never guessed it was your first try, even if it fell. All good bakers make mistakes and this looks top notch.

  15. Says:

    mmm… yummy!!! I wouldn’t say no to a piece…. (^_^)

  16. Lizzy Says:

    Beautiful!!!! Especially with your first try…

    I just started making pavlovas a couple years ago…now one of our favorite desserts!

  17. Joy Says:

    That looks delish. I never tried to make pavlova just yet. I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  18. Steph@stephsbitebybite Says:

    I have always wanted to make pavlova, and for some reason I just keep puttin it off. I love how airy yours looks!

  19. Sara Says:

    You did an absolutely amazing job on this pavlova! It doesn’t matter whether it collapsed or not (eventually you have to eat it, right?) I made pavlova only once and I remember how delicate it was once you start putting stuff on top! Yours is beautiful!

  20. Grace Says:

    Thank you Sara

  21. Chrissy Says:

    If you feel like doing it again, try making a depression in the middle of the meringue before you bake it. Two ways to do this: one, spread meringue mix into the appropriate sized circle and use a palette knife to smooth a hollow; two, make a slightly smaller circle and dollop crenellations around the outside of the circle.
    This means that the cream stays put, the berries/pulp won’t go everywhere, it looks really good and there’s less chance of a pressure collapse.

    Other fun things to do with meringue include meringue kisses. Two egg whites go a long way! Loads of recipes and variations on the internet so I won’t bore you with the details :p

  22. Grace Says:

    Thanks for the tips Chrissy I will definitely try next time. The indentation is perfect because you’re right it will be perfect to keep the berries in.

  23. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle Says:

    I’ve made a dessert for years that others have called a pavlova but I’ve never researched EXACTLY what that is. Mine is multiple layers of baked meringue layered with whipped cream and chocolate and topped with fruit. I think making the layers without the height certainly makes it easier; I’ve never had a problem with falling. But in either event…just a luscious dessert.

  24. Ybeth Says:

    Hey :) I made it and I am so nervous and everything. Because I was so afraid that it will not turn out fluffy and glossy like the other contestants in the master chef had. :) but it turned out just fine. :) thanks to you! :)

  25. Grace Says:

    Wonderful – enjoy!

  26. Joye Meredith Says:

    I have been making Pavlova for over 40 years, but spoon the mixture on to wet brown paper over an upside down dinner plate. When it comes out of the oven I turn it over onto a dinner plate and that gives a bowl shaped Pavlova with crip outside and soft sponge inside, I then fill it with cream and assorted berries. Whenever we are invited to a bring and braai (barbeque) I am asked to make my Pavlova. Love watching Masterchef here in South Africa and am going to give Donna`s Pavlova a try soon.

  27. Eka Says:

    I just saw Australian Masterchef the other day on cable here in Indonesia. Had never heard of this dessert before & simply amazed by how beautiful it looked. Intrigued me to try to make one. Tried to get the recipe & bumped into your blog & again, amazed by how good your pavlova look. I don’t know if I can nail this dessert, even now I still have problem making the meringue of lemon meringue pie. Will try this recipe & I really hope I’ll pull it through. Will have to satisfy with banana, strawberry & passion fruit topping, though, other berries are crazy expensive here. Wish me luck! :)

  28. Grace Says:

    Eka you’re wishing berries and I’m wishing passionfruit, can’t get it here for anything. I’ve never tried it and I am dying to get my hands on a few. Wish you much luck, that one was my first, I know you can do it!

  29. Cinthia Says:

    I tried Donna’s recipe of pavlova after I watched australian masterchef here in Brazil.I ate my first pavlova when I was an exchage student in Australia and I loved it ! Unfortunatelly I couldn’t do a proper job preparing the pavlova today. It sisnt turned up as fluffy as I wanted to , and a few minutes after I take off the owen it started to shrink.I have know idea of what happened because I followed all the steps.

  30. Grace Says:

    Hi Cinthia I wouldn’t beat myself up sometimes I think you can do everything right and it still doesn’t turn out. Have you ever checked your oven temperature with a portable oven thermometer? I found that my oven states it’s at one temperature when in fact it is much lower. Now I use the portable thermometer as a gauge and I’ve found most of my baking issues have been eliminated. I think they are about 3 or 4 dollars and worth every penny.

  31. Reese Says:

    I have heard these from other places referred to as Schaum Torte…Very similar…

  32. Grace Says:

    Too funny I just heard that term the other day when watching Top Chef.

  33. dheqchik Says:

    hi grace!this is my first time read your blog..what a nice blog you have.thank you for sharing lovely yummy delicious Pavlova Recipe.:)

    I’ve try already to make this pavlova but I’m not sure why its not crispy on top of pavlova..anyway the taste is superb!!

    (T_T) :Sorry I’m not good in English , but i can understand it..


  34. Grace Says:

    Welcome and thank you! Sometimes if you do not leave the pavlova in the oven for long enough time it doesn’t have enough time to dry out which provides that crispy outer shell. The best is to bake at a low temperature for a longer period of time. But when creating meringue there are so many variables, the bowl must be squeaky clean, not a speck of yolk can be present in the whites, and if you made on a humid day it could also affect the texture. I am very happy you enjoyed the taste, I hope you’ll give a try it again.

  35. Jacob Says:

    Hi Grace,

    I made the Pavlova according to your recipe & it turned out great.. not only great but fantastic.
    My guests loved it so much that they had more than 1 helping after a very heavy meal.

    Everyone was so polite initially because they are really full and was a bit hesitant to the Pavlova but after the first bite; they had more helpings afterwards.

    My friend helped me with the whipped cream and the first batch curdled because halfway thru the whipping; we decided we wanted 2 cups of cream instead of one. Hence, we added the 2nd cup of cream and the mixture started to curdle. Now, I have a bowl of curdled cream in my frigde.
    Any idea what I can make with it so that I dont waste food?

    Again, thanks for the lovely recipe and I was so thrill when the meringue turned out to be lovely.


  36. Grace Says:

    Hi Jacob, you have me craving pavlova now, I haven’t made it in quite some time. I’m so happy it was enjoyed by your guests. Depending on how far gone the whipped cream is you have 2 choices:

    1. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons heavy cream (adding only 1 tablespoon at a time) and beat on low speed until it returns to a whipped cream topping consistency.

    2. Continue to beat the curdled cream to butter stage. If you do this you must drain the water remaining (buttermilk) (because it can spoil the butter quickly) and then you must rinse the butter with cold water until the water becomes clear (you may have to rinse butter 6 or 7 times before it becomes clear). To rinse the butter – after draining the buttermilk, place the butter in a blender and add very cold water, beat on low speed for about a minute and drain the water, repeat this step until the water is clear. To dry the butter, place in a clean cloth and use back of spoon to push out any remaining water. (Keep in mind it if you’ve only used a couple of cups of cream it won’t produce too much butter.)

    Let me know how it goes Jacob.

  37. Jacob Says:

    Thanks Grace.

    I will try option 1 as I’ve another dinner coming up this Saturday. Another Pavlova for my guests… I’m so pleased with the result. HEHEHE

    Let you know the outcome soon.
    Thanks again for the wonderful recipes here.
    Looking at your pictures really inspired me to try all the recipe here.

    Cheers, Jacob

  38. Kylee Says:

    Hi, me and my friend are going to be attempt making this pavlova. It looks really good by the way. Anyway a couple of questions. To ensure we end with a great pavlova. (For my dads birthday). I am a complete newbie a cooking.
    1. When we preheat the oven is it 150 fanforced, same as when we change to 120C.
    2. How high would to cake rise? So I can get a appropriate storage container. As the cake will be served the next day.

    I really look forward to making the pavlova :)

  39. Grace Says:

    Hi Kylee – I wish I had a fanforced oven – 150 C is for a regular oven and converts to 300 F. I haven’t made the Pavlova in a while but if I remember correctly I think from the centre point it was around 4 or 5 inches high. Make sure to store the pavlova undressed, in an airtight container and decorate just before serving. Also because you’re making this for you dad’s birthday and it’s your first attempt you may want to make a small one to taste test, pavlovas can be tricky and sometimes you can do everything right and they don’t turn out like you plan.

  40. MariamOfAus! Says:

    How exciting to see an Australian recipe on your blog, and you watch MasterchefAU! Pavs are so good, my favourite topping would have to be passion fruit and strawberries on lots of whipped cream! Good to see the American’s learning the good stuff haha!

  41. Grace Says:

    Hi Mariam, sorry for my late reply I’ve been visiting family. I love, love MasterChef and I am glued to my computer screen with every episode. I would love to try passionfruit and I finally may have the chance, I just hope I haven’t missed the opportunity. My daughter said she ran into the produce manager from my local market while I was away and he told her that they may be stocking some passionfruit soon and for her to relay the message to me because I am always in there asking for it. I haven’t even been able to find it frozen or even in juice form here. If you see a recipe with it on the blog very soon you’ll know I got very lucky!

  42. Yee Says:

    Hi, I have follow the steps of Donna’s recipe but only reduce a little bit of sugar. the whole cake turned out soft and not crispy. please advise.

  43. Grace Says:

    Good Morning Yee, first let me share this sometimes you can do everything right and things go wrong in the kitchen. One very important tip, when making Pavlova the weather can affect the texture, it’s best to prepare on a dry day. It’s also very important that zero yolk is present in the egg whites. I’m sorry to share this Yee but reducing the sugar can definitely affect the texture of the Pavlova, I would suggest using the amount indicated in the recipe. Also another tip, if you have one, test the temperature of the oven with an internal oven thermometer. Also when I preheat my oven after the bell goes off to indicate it’s come to temperature I will heat for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to ensure even heat throughout. I hope this helps, all the best.

  44. Yee Says:

    Thanks Grace for your advice. One more question, my oven is an electric fan oven, should I preheat my oven with a bit higher than 150° C and with an additional 10 to 15 minutes to ensure even heat throughout? Then reduce to 120° C or 130° C and still bake for 1 hr and 20 mins?

  45. Grace Says:

    Hi Yee, it’s been so long since I baked in my electric oven, I usually use my gas oven but I would recommend preheating electric oven to 120 C (250 F), once the indicator bell goes off, continue to heat for another 10 minutes to ensure the even heating. I would also recommend baking between 1 hour 20 minutes and 1 hour 30 minutes. Please let me know how it goes.

  46. Coreen Says:

    Hi grace,
    I have tried making a pavlova foll.a recipe that says 4egg whites and 300g castor sugar. I found it too sweet after adding whipped cream on it. Is there anyway, i can reduce the sugar and by how much?

  47. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Coreen, I want to explain the thinking behind egg foams for Pavlova. Large egg whites on average weigh about 30 g (give or take, some are a little more, some a little less) and the general rule of thumb is to use double the weight of sugar, what I mean by that is if your egg weight weighs 30 g use 60 g sugar. I’ve been told (because I’ve never tested it before) for an egg foam to stabilize you need a minimum of 20 g, I think this is risky and I don’t believe you’ll get the volume you need to make an airy Pavlova and this minimal amount of sugar will affect the texture. Currently the recipe calls for about 57 g (almost double the weight) per egg white. I would suggest using a scale to weigh the eggs and then the sugar especially if you’re going to be playing around with the yields. Therefore weigh all 4 egg whites, determine the weight and I would recommend reducing the sugar by one-quarter, therefore use this formula if egg weighs 30 g you would normally use 60 g (average)(60 divided by 4 = 15, 15 x 3 = 45), therefore, reduce the sugar by 15 g to 45 g per egg white. If the egg foam is stable and you achieve an airy Pavlova (and it’s still too sweet) then try reducing the sugar again (the next time) by another one-quarter, which means for every egg white weighing 30 g use 30 g sugar. I wouldn’t recommend reducing any further. A few extra tips, wipe the bowl and whisk with paper towel dipped in white vinegar (this will ensure it’s grease-free), separate eggs while still cold, ensuring the whites are yolk free, make sure egg whites are at room temperature before beginning the preparations (after separating from yolks, cover bowl and let stand a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 60 at room temperature and, if possible, use superfine sugar because it dissolves better. If you don’t have superfine sugar blitz regular sugar in the food processor for about 30 seconds, weigh the sugar after blitzing. I hope this helps, please let me know how it goes.

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