Friday, August 13, 2010

Pavlova: Perfecting a Recipe

I woke up one Saturday morning not too long ago to find four fresh Pavlovas in the kitchen.  My scientist husband decided he was going to perfect his favorite dessert
recipe.  After all, the Pavlova is a tradition in his country of New Zealand
and he takes great pride in making a good one.

Perfect Pavlova
This one has strawberries, kiwis, and raspberries and whipped cream,  a special request of my daughter for her birthday "cake"

Here is the basic recipe and directions:
  1. Four egg whites at room temperature
  2. 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  6. 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Beat egg whites with salt and vinegar until shiny with soft peaks.  Add sugar one tablespoon at a time beating until stiff.  Add vanilla and cornstarch. Beat to mix.  Bake at 250F for 2 1/2 hours. Turn oven off and leave meringue in until cool.

Now take your meringue and spread it on a piece of parchment paper.  You can make it any shape you like.  We usually make them round to fit a dinner plate but occasionally make it larger and sometimes we make sweet little individual servings.
Traditional Pavlova
The traditional Pavlova with strawberries,kiwis, whipped cream and a sprig of mint

And yet another one: Chocolate flavored whipped cream, raspberries 
and shaved chocolate.

The Perfect Pavlova Recipe

This dessert is guaranteed to please!
Here are some additional notes from The Professor, my scientist husband:

The egg whites beat better (lower viscosity) if they are warm, and they must be free of any trace of yolk or other fatty contaminants that will reduce foaming of the egg proteins.  Adding vinegar and salt at the beginning improves and stabilizes the foam.  Once the whites are well foamed, addition of sugar slowly retains the air in the foam but adds the necessary sweetness. Once the meringue mixture is stiff, the vanilla for flavoring and cornflour (for stability) are folded then beaten in.  The meringue is placed on parchment cooking paper in an 8" circle (draw it on the back of the paper with a sharpie using a dinner plate as template), and the meringue is fashioned so that there is a wide rim surrounding a central bowl.  The cooking should be low (250 F) and long (2 hours), and the oven should remain closed until completely cool.  Abrupt reduction of temperature may result in collapse of the soft center, giving you a sticky/chewy center.  Still edible, but not as easy to cut or eat.  We like to put the whipped cream (whip 1 cup cream with 1 tsp sugar and a few drops of vanilla) and fruit on the Pavlova several hours before eating - some of the liquid from the cream moistens and softens the center of the pavlova. You can decorate the Pavlova many ways... New Zealand tradition includes pulp of the purple passion fruit.  Kiwifruit and strawberries are our mainstay (passion fruit being a rare and expensive luxury in California).  The chocolate/raspberry decoration was made with cocoa, sugar, and Kahlua in the whipped cream, and shaved chocolate and raspberries on top. 

  Enjoy!  We'd love to hear if you try this and liked it.  



  1. This is one of our all-time favorite summer desserts. Nothing looks more spectacular than a fruit-laden pavlova smothered in whipped cream -- yummy!

  2. This looks soooo good Nancy! What a great idea for a birthday cake.

  3. love both fruits...
    sweet post!

  4. Looks delicious, and the fruits yummy!

  5. Oh My! That looks and sounds scrumpitous! Thank you for stopping by my blog. It gave me a chance to come meet you. I have signed up as a follower and would love it if you followed my blog too! I am off to read some of your past posts to get to know you better.

  6. This looks scrumptious...I never heard of it...and believe me, we eat all kinds of food:)

  7. OMGosh...these look so good. ummmm..thanks for sharing.

    Also, thanks for posting my giveaway button.Good luck on winning. :)

    And...I just became your newest follower..:)

  8. Wow does this look so yummy. Makes me hungry being over here at your site.
    Loved my visit here and I am now your newest follower.
    I appreciate you finding my site and joining. I am looking forward to getting to know you.

  9. These pavlova pictures look amazingly delicious...yummmmmy! I don't even know which one would be my favourite! I have made small pavlova and served them with strawberries, whip cream and chocolate sauce. That was yummy too...

    I would love to try your recipe. Thank you to your hubby too for sharing.

    p.s. come by and visit....

  10. Yum!!!! Wsh I was there to help you eat them! xx Mouse

  11. oh yum!!! looks so refreshing for a summer dessert. Wish my hubby would make one of these.

  12. That recipe looks amazing and the cakes!!! They look SO delicious.
    I have a sign tutorial up right now, I think you saw my BOOK sign and asked if I would do a tutorial and I did it just for you! Please go over and see it, if you have any questions I will be glad to try to answer them.
    Hugs, Cindy S

  13. They are beautiful and look delicious!!!!

  14. Oh my goodness! All of those look so good! Esp that one with the raspberries and shaved chocolate. Thanks so much for linking it up at Foodie Friday!

    ~The Speckled Dog

  15. Oh, YUM. I must try looks so complicated....but so yummy....I will try it! Thanks for linking up to my Friday party! I love to see your stuff there. It's so wonderful to look at! ;)

  16. That looks fabulous!! Yum - fruit and rich stuff.

  17. Beautiful! I've never had this (but have heard of it). I need to remedy that, don't I?


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