Australian Pavlova Recipe - Egg, Salt, Castor Sugar, White Vinegar, Vanilla Extract, Cornflour

Australian Pavlova

Australian Pavlova Recipe - Egg, Salt, Castor Sugar, White Vinegar, Vanilla Extract, Cornflour
Region / culture: Australia, New Zealand | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour 40 minutes | Servings: 8


Australian Pavlova
Australian Pavlova

The Australian Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It is a beloved dessert in Australia, known for its crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. This dessert is not only a treat to the taste buds but also a feast for the eyes, making it a popular choice for celebrations and festive occasions.


The Pavlova has been a subject of culinary dispute between Australia and New Zealand, with both countries claiming its origin. The dessert was created in honor of the ballerina Anna Pavlova during one of her tours to these countries in the 1920s. The exact origin remains unclear, but it has become a significant part of both countries' culinary traditions. The recipe has evolved over the years, with various interpretations and adaptations making it a versatile dessert that continues to delight.


How to prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Lightly grease an oven tray, then line it with baking paper or use non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, vinegar, and vanilla while continuing to beat, until the mixture has a thick consistency.
  4. Gently fold in the cornflour. Shape the mixture into a circular shape, creating a hollow in the center for filling.
  5. For an electric oven, reduce the temperature to 250° F and bake undisturbed for 1.5 hours. For a gas oven, bake at 400° F for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 250° F and bake for an additional hour.
  6. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova inside until it cools.
  7. Once cooled, top the pavlova with whipped cream and decorate with desired fruits.
  8. Serve the pavlova cold, either plain or with other desserts.


  • There are numerous variations of the Pavlova, including adding cocoa powder to the meringue mixture for a chocolate version or layering the Pavlova with lemon curd for a tangy twist. Some recipes also incorporate nuts or chocolate chips into the meringue for added texture and flavor.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Achieving the perfect Pavlova involves a few key techniques: ensuring that the egg whites are at room temperature before beating them, adding sugar gradually to achieve the right consistency, and not opening the oven door while the Pavlova is baking to prevent it from collapsing. Additionally, using cornflour and vinegar helps stabilize the egg whites and achieve the dessert's characteristic crisp exterior and marshmallow-like interior.

Serving Suggestions

Pavlova is best served cold, with a generous topping of whipped cream and a colorful assortment of fresh fruits such as strawberries, kiwi, and passionfruit. The acidity of the fruit complements the sweetness of the meringue, creating a balanced and refreshing dessert.

Cooking Techniques

The key cooking technique for Pavlova is the slow baking and cooling process, which ensures the meringue dries out to form a crisp crust while remaining soft and marshmallow-like inside. Proper beating of the egg whites and gradual addition of sugar are crucial steps to achieve the right consistency.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those looking to reduce the sugar content, alternative sweeteners like stevia can be used, though this may affect the texture. Cornstarch can be substituted for cornflour, and apple cider vinegar can replace white vinegar without significantly altering the outcome.

Make Ahead Tips

Pavlova is an excellent make-ahead dessert. The meringue base can be prepared and baked a day in advance. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature. Add the whipped cream and fruit toppings just before serving to maintain the crispness of the meringue.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Pavlova on a large, flat dish to showcase its beauty. Decorate with an abundance of colorful fruits and a dusting of powdered sugar for an elegant finish. Edible flowers can also add a touch of sophistication.

Pairing Recommendations

Pavlova pairs wonderfully with a glass of sparkling wine or champagne, which complements its sweetness and the acidity of the fruit toppings. For a non-alcoholic option, a crisp, cold lemonade or a fruit-infused sparkling water makes a refreshing accompaniment.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Pavlova is best enjoyed fresh and does not reheat well due to its delicate texture. If you have leftovers, store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, though the meringue may soften from the moisture.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of Pavlova can range between 200 to 300 calories, depending on the size of the serving and the types and amounts of toppings used. The majority of these calories come from sugars.


A single serving of Pavlova primarily consists of sugars from the castor sugar and any sweet toppings used, such as fruits. The carbohydrate content is relatively high due to these sugars, making it a dessert best enjoyed in moderation, especially for those monitoring their carbohydrate intake.


The Pavlova itself is low in fats, as the main part of the dessert is made from egg whites which contain no fat. However, the addition of whipped cream as a topping introduces fats into the dessert. Using low-fat or alternative whipped cream options can help reduce the overall fat content.


Egg whites are an excellent source of high-quality protein. A serving of Pavlova provides a moderate amount of protein, making it a dessert that can contribute to your daily protein intake.

Vitamins and minerals

The fruit toppings used in Pavlova can provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C if citrus fruits or berries are used. The egg whites also contribute small amounts of vitamins and minerals such as selenium.


The main allergens in Pavlova are eggs and dairy (from the whipped cream). It is suitable for those avoiding gluten, but individuals with egg or dairy allergies should avoid this dessert.


Pavlova is a dessert that offers a delightful taste experience but is high in sugars and calories. It provides moderate amounts of protein and can be topped with nutritious fruits to enhance its vitamin and mineral content. However, it contains allergens such as eggs and dairy, making it unsuitable for everyone.


The Australian Pavlova is a classic dessert that combines the elegance of a crisp meringue with the freshness of whipped cream and fruit. While it is indulgent in terms of sugar and calories, it can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet on special occasions. With its rich history and the ability to customize with various toppings and variations, Pavlova remains a beloved dessert worldwide.

How did I get this recipe?

I distinctly remember the first time I saw this recipe for Australian Pavlova. It was a hot summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Margaret in Sydney. We had spent the morning exploring the local markets and indulging in delicious pastries and fresh fruit. As we sat down to enjoy a cup of tea in Margaret's cozy kitchen, she suddenly pulled out a magazine and excitedly showed me a picture of a stunning dessert that she had recently tried - a Pavlova.

I had never heard of Pavlova before, but Margaret explained that it was a popular dessert in Australia, named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It consisted of a crisp meringue base topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. The combination of textures and flavors sounded absolutely divine, and I knew that I had to learn how to make it myself.

Margaret kindly offered to teach me her own recipe for Pavlova, which she had perfected over the years. She explained that the key to a successful Pavlova was in the meringue - it had to be light and airy on the inside, with a crisp outer shell. To achieve this, she shared her secret technique of adding a splash of vinegar and cornflour to the meringue mixture.

As we began to bake together, Margaret walked me through each step of the process with patience and skill. We whipped egg whites to stiff peaks, gradually adding sugar to create a glossy meringue. I watched in awe as Margaret expertly shaped the meringue into a large nest on a baking tray, using a spatula to create swirls and peaks.

Into the oven it went, where it baked slowly at a low temperature until it was crisp on the outside and marshmallow-like on the inside. The sweet aroma of vanilla filled the kitchen as we waited anxiously for the Pavlova to cook.

Once it was ready, Margaret showed me how to carefully transfer the Pavlova to a serving platter, being careful not to break the delicate meringue. She then whipped cream to soft peaks and spooned it onto the meringue base, followed by a generous scattering of fresh berries and kiwi fruit. The vibrant colors of the fruit against the snowy white meringue were simply breathtaking.

We sat down to enjoy our creation, savoring each bite of the light and fluffy meringue, the creamy whipped cream, and the burst of flavor from the juicy fruit. It was a truly magical experience, and I knew that I had found a new favorite dessert.

After returning home from my trip to Australia, I couldn't wait to recreate the Pavlova recipe for my family and friends. I made it for special occasions and gatherings, and it quickly became a beloved treat that everyone looked forward to. Over the years, I have made countless Pavlovas, experimenting with different toppings and variations, but Margaret's original recipe remains my go-to favorite.

I am grateful to Margaret for introducing me to the joy of baking and sharing her passion for delicious food. The Pavlova recipe holds a special place in my heart, as it reminds me of the wonderful times spent in Margaret's kitchen, learning and creating together. Each time I make a Pavlova, I think of her and the bond we share over our love of cooking and good food.

As I pass on this cherished recipe to future generations, I hope that they too will find joy in creating and sharing this beautiful dessert with their loved ones. The Pavlova is not just a dessert - it is a symbol of friendship, tradition, and the simple pleasures of life. And for that, I am forever grateful.


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