How to make the perfect pavlova, a Kiwi Christmas classic! Once you master easy homemade pavlova, you will never buy one again! Covered in whipped cream and fresh summer berries it's the perfect dessert.
Well this is embarassing. Can you believe I have never made a pavlova before?! I have no idea why, because I looooove pavlova but I guess it's because my Granny or my mum always made them. So today, we tackle and win with easy homemade pavlova!
For some reason I had the idea in my head that pavlova was this totally technical and really scary thing to make. Um, it's not. Seriously. Not even a little bit. And they're so much fun to make! Really simple ingredients, simple method and cooking is a breeze. The hardest part about it is choosing how to decorate it! Which obviously, because it's summer and Christmas time, berries are the only option.
To make this process even less scary for you, let's break down the ingredients and the steps.
1. Egg whites - the key here is to use older eggs as they whip up better than fresher eggs. Also, make sure they are at room temperature.
2. Caster sugar - caster sugar is a lot finer than regular white sugar, so it dissolves quicker in the eggs. If you don't have caster sugar, whizz up regular sugar in the food processor until it is finer.
3. White vinegar - this helps to stabilise the whipped egg whites.
4. Cornflour - helps the pav hold it's shape when it's cooking.
5. Vanilla extract - this is optional, but I like adding it for flavour.
How to make the perfect pavlova
The method is super easy. Whisk the egg whites using an electric beater or stand mixer until they form peaks. Slowly add the sugar over a couple of minutes, continuing to whisk all the time. Once all of the sugar has been added, whisk for another 8 minutes on high speed. When this time is up, the mixture will form stiff peaks and will look thick and glossy. If you rub a little between your fingers you will only be able to feel the sugar granules slightly. Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
All that's left to do is spoon it onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and make pretty swirls with the spoon on the top and down the sides. If it's easier for you, you can mark a circle in pencil on the baking paper as a guide to how big to make the pav. I made my circle about 18cm but it does spread a little bit so if you have a plate you want it to sit on, make the circle a couple of centimeters smaller than the plate.
When it comes to baking, I like to bake it at 180°C for the first 5 minutes, then turn it down to 130°C for the last hour. The initial hotter temperature is what helps make the outside crisp. Once the timer goes off, turn off the oven but leave the pavlova in there until the oven has cooled completely. Then remove the pavlova. LOOK AT IT!!!! SO beautiful!
Top it with whipped cream, berry couli and as many summer berries as you can get your hands on. The pavlova will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days undecorated if you want to make it in advance and decorate it on the day.
It's the perfect festive Christmas Day dessert.
Happy pavlova making!
Easy Homemade Pavlova
- 6 egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ½ cups caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 2 teaspoon cornflour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whipped cream
- Fresh berries
- Berry couli 1 cup mixed berries cooked on the stove with 1 tablespoon sugar until thick
- Prepare a baking tray with baking paper. If you have a certain sized plate you want to serve the pavlova on, trace a circle slightly smaller than the plate on the baking paper and use this as a guide when spooning the mixture on to the tray. Pre heat the oven to 180°C.
- Whisk the egg whites and salt using an electric beater or stand mixer until they form peaks. Slowly add the sugar over a couple of minutes, continuing to whisk all the time. Once all of the sugar has been added, whisk for another 8 minutes on high speed. When this time is up, the mixture will form stiff peaks and if you rub a little between your fingers you will only be able to feel the sugar granules slightly.
- Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
- Spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Use the spoon to make pretty swirls on the top and down the sides.
- Bake at 180°C for the first 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 130°C and bake for a further 1 hour. Once the timer goes off, turn off the oven but leave the pavlova in there until the oven has cooled completely. Then remove the pavlova.
- To decorate, top with whipped cream, berry couli and summer berries or any other fruit you like.
- The pavlova will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of days undecorated if you want to make it in advance and decorate it on the day.
- Decorated pavlova is best served that day. You can keep it in the fridge overnight to keep the cream cool but the pavlova may start to look a little messy.
I was thinking if i buy white vinegar what else could i use it for apart from pavalova.So i looked up online the 10 uses for white vinegar and they were all for cleaning around the house.Does it really need white vinegar?
Hi Richard. The vinegar is to help stabilise the meringue. If you don't want to buy vinegar just for this you can use 1 teaspoon lemon juice (same quantity) or 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar instead. But if you do buy vinegar, I use it in salad dressings and for pickles etc a lot too, or for making buttermilk for other recipes.
We cut the sugar down by half as we dont like a traditionally sweet pav... other than that the recipe is perfect and super easy to do
Linda Griffith says
I have recently moved to a higher altitude and haven’t adjusted my cooking yet. I followed the recipe exactly and did not think about cooking it longer. It was pretty but sticky. I have to remember to add cooking time.
I love this recipe. I’ve made it a few times. Could I add poppy seeds and lemon zest to it to make a flavoured pavlova?
Hi Chante, yes absolutely!! Laura
can I use cornstarch instead of cornflour?
Hi Dania, cornflour is what we call cornstarch in NZ so yes! Laura
A chef knows the Pavlova cake should not be cracked... this is far from perfect. But I like the attempt! Definitely looks delicious
Hi Anne! It's definitely far from perfect but we aim for delicious rather than perfection around here - and this one sure delivers in terms of taste 🙂 Laura
I love your polite response to an impolite comment. Well done Laura, your Pavlova looks perfect to me!