Foolproof Pavlova

Apr 10th

Dee Mahoney found this recipe in a reader’s letter to a women’s magazine back when she was 11 or 12 years old growing up in Brisbane, Australia. She made the ‘Foolproof Pavlova’ every single Sunday for years. It was a family favourite at dinner at her grandfather’s place. Dee was rather glad to have a break from that regular pavlova making when she left home. However, many years later when her husband discovered this family legend he wanted to try that pavlova. It’s now a firm favourite with her own family, not to mention her friends.

Dee has honed the original recipe to make it her own. It’s a classic and it really is foolproof – just don’t open the oven!

For those of you reading this outside Australia, pavlova is considered a national dish here and in New Zealand. It’s usually thought of as a summer dessert but I love Dee’s suggestion that in winter you could just as easily use finely grated chocolate instead of the strawberries and passionfruit. (I’d also like to note that I made this pav successfully using an electric hand mixer – don’t ask why – though it took me about 15 minutes of mixing.)

Cuisine: Australian
Serves: 12 generous slices
  • 3 cups caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites - eggs should be at room temperature
  • 160ml boiling water
  • Two pinches of salt
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • To decorate: 300ml-600ml thickened cream, whipped - depends how much cream you like – and fruit
  1. Place all the ingredients, apart from the cream and fruit, in the big bowl of an electric mixer and beat until stiff peaks form (about 10 minutes).
  2. Pile onto a pizza tray or pavlova plate.
  3. Bake at 190C for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 140C and bake for a further 45 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool in the oven, for 2-3 hours if possible. Don’t open the oven till you take the pavlova out to decorate.
  6. Pile with whipped cream and seasonal fruit. An alternative in winter is to use frozen berries or simply top with finely grated chocolate.


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