Pavlova Recipe (Fool Proof)
This fool proof Pavlova recipe is perfectly crispy on the outside and marshmallow like on the inside. The result is an easy, show stopping melt in your mouth dessert that is perfectly light and ready for all the toppings!
This step-by-step recipe will take you through exactly how to make a perfect pavlova, all the tips and tricks I use myself so that you never feel tempted to buy a store bought one again. Because frankly those taste like corn flour and a homemade is so much more irresistible and impressive.
The beauty about this gently baked meringue is that it uses really simple ingredients. Egg whites, sugar, corn starch, vinegar and vanilla extract. You can top it with your favorite toppings like fluffy whipped cream and sour fruits like berries, passionfruit or mango to counteract the sweetness. The result is an impressively light dessert that melts in your mouth.
With it’s origins coming from Australia New Zealand, this dessert is easier to make than you think. It’s elegant and perfect for your next get together. Christmas isn’t Christmas without a pav on the table in Australia. Honestly, the amount of eggs we must go through as a country…
If you’re looking for ways to use up the egg yolks, I have a great French Pastry Cream Recipe that can be used to make a glorious trifle. If you’re looking for more glorious Meringue desserts, check out my Lemon Meringue Pie Recipe, Passionfruit Meringue Tart and my Lemon Tart!
Table of Contents
You’ve found your Pavlova Recipe!
This is the BEST Pavlova recipe. Here’s why!
- This is a detailed, step-by-step recipe that takes you through every trick in the book to getting a PERFECT Pavlova.
- You get a crispy exterior and marshmallow interior. No weeping, no cracking and no sinking. Follow my tips and tricks (below) to get the best pavlova!
- This pavlova tastes amazing! There’s nothing like a pav. It’s a sweet, marshmallow, vanilla infused meringue and the toppings just make it that much better!
Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!
It may seem like this is an overly complicated recipe where a lot of things can wrong, but if you use these tips and tricks, you’ll have a PERFECT pavlova every time! I’ve listed these in order of making and decorating the meringue:
How To Prep
- Measure out using kitchen scales – For precise and consistent results in baking, I always measure ingredients by weight using kitchen scales rather than cup measurements. For this recipe specifically, you want to measure out the egg whites by weight.
- Clean your mixing bowl before making the meringue – wipe with vinegar to remove any fat residue that could affect whipping. And use only a metal or glass bowl, not plastic.
- Use the right sugar – Opt for caster sugar (superfine sugar) for your meringue. It dissolves easily, reducing the risk of overwhipping, which can lead to sinking, cracking, and weeping.
- Which eggs to use – Use store bought eggs that are no more than 3 days old. Fresh eggs can be harder to whip up properly.
- Don’t get any egg yolks in your whites – otherwise the meringue won’t whip up properly. I like to separate my egg white in a small bowl and then transfer to my mixing bowl so that there’s no risk of my eggs having yolk in them. Even a tiny spec can mess with your meringue!
- Make sure your eggs are cold when separating as they separate much easier from the yolks!
The Perfect Meringue!
- Add the sugar gradually when making the meringue to ensure it has enough time to dissolve. Adding it too quickly or all at once can cause the meringue to not whip up properly and the sugar will not dissolve. That will cause cracks, a meringue that has barely any volume and weeps once baked.
- How to stabilize your meringue – This recipe has corn starch in it, also known as corn flour AND white vinegar OR Cream Of Tartar which helps stabilize the meringue and gives you a perfectly soft marshmallow inside that isn’t grainy like cooked eggs. 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar or 1/2 tsp white vinegar. And no, you won’t taste the vinegar!
- When shaping the pavlova – don’t over work it (it can deflate your meringue), aim for tall sides that are slightly sloped (no more than 5cm tall if it’s hot and humid). The top needs to be even and flat. The best way to do this us to use an offset spatula or tablespoon. Everything will round out and flatten in the oven as it bakes and you’ll get that nice pavlova shape.
- Low and slow baking – super low temperature, for 90 minutes is key to getting a crispy exterior and marshmallow inside. This gentle baking technique is key for a pavlova.
- DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR! – Do not open the oven door during the 90 minute baking time or when it’s up. The hot pavlova will immediately seize and want to shrink if it’s exposed to cold air. It will crack and sink immediately. Let it rest in the oven until completely cooled. Hours! I like to let it rest and cool overnight!
- When adding the toppings – go slow. The cream is heavy and may cause your pav to sink slightly, but only very slightly. The fruits can do this too. While we’re on fruits, don’t add them until up to an hour before serving. Some fruits like berries or wet fruits like mango can weep and eat into the sugar meringue causing it to melt.
- Humidity can be an issue! – it can prevent your meringue from whipping up properly, it can collapse in the oven or even after baking. You want to make sure you pav isn’t too high and if it cracks or collapses, honestly it’s going to taste just as amazing.
By following these tips and tricks you increase your chances of getting a PERFECT pavlova with a crisp exterior and marshmallow inside without sinking or cracking.
No Cracks, No Sinking.
I’ve got a longer list at the bottom of this post on how to avoid those dreaded cracks and sinking, but my biggest tip? Some people may have heard of this already but I absolutely swear by it. Do not open the oven door at any stage during the baking or cooling time. When the hot meringue is exposed to cool or room temperature air, it immediately wants to shrink will cause your meringue to crack, and I’m talking HUGE embarrassing cracks, and it will sink too. Letting your meringue cool completely inside the oven with the door closed will dramatically reduce the risk of cracks and sinking. I like to go as far as baking the day before I serve it and letting it rest overnight.
Ingredients You Need To Make Classic Pavlova
Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.
- White vinegar – I use the white vinegar to wipe down the mixing bowl. It helps get rid of any fat residue that may be on your bowl which can prevent your meringue from whipping up properly.
- Eggs – couple important things. Measure out by weight using kitchen scales. When separating, using cold eggs makes this an easier process. Make sure you get no egg yolks in your white otherwise your meringue will not whip up properly.
- Cream of tartar – is a powdery acidic substance which can be found in the baking isle of your supermarket. It helps stabilize your egg whites and meringue so it doesn’t deflate and it whips up even better!
- Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar is the correct sugar to use for this recipe. It dissolves easier which means you lessen the risk of overwhipping your meringue.
- Corn flour – helps stabilize your meringue and gives you that delicious marshmallow texture. Make sure you sieve it in.
- Vanilla – do not use an alcohol based vanilla extract as it can cause your meringue to deflate. Use a syrup based one or a vanilla bean paste.
Use whatever you like! Berries, stone fruits, Kiwi, mango, or passionfruit are classic toppings.
How to make my Fool Proof Classic Pavlova Recipe!
- Clean your mixing bowl with some vinegar to get rid of any fat residue that may prevent it from whipping up!
- Trace a circle on a piece of baking paper
- Turn over and place on a baking tray
- Separate your egg whites from your yolks.
- Add to the clean bowl with cream of tartar and froth up.
- Gradulay add caster sugar.
- Once added, mix for 5 minutes before adding vanilla and corn flour. Fold through.
- It will be thick and glossy!
- Add dabs of meringue on the corners of your baking paper and stick to the baking tray.
- Next, add half the meringue to the baking paper and spread gently, staying in the circle.
- Add the remaining meringue. Shape to a dome shape. Bake for 90 minutes and allow to cool completely in the oven. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR AT ANY STAGE!
- Add cream.
- Then add the fruits right before serving.
Pavlova Topping Options Are Endless!
You can top your pavlova with pretty much anything you like! Some favorite toppings include:
- Cherries (pitted)
- Passionfruit Pulp
Frequently Asked Questions about my Fool Proof Pavlova!
How do I store this?
Store the baked meringue (undecorated) in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days. If it’s hot and humid, pop it in the fridge.
Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes! The baked meringue can be made up to 3 days in advance. Decorate with toppings no longer than an hour before serving. The fruits can weep and cause the meringue to melt.
How do I bring my egg whites to room temperature?
Simply leave them at room temperature for 10 minutes to bring to room temp before whipping.
If you loved this Fool Proof Pavlova, check these out!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @thescranline on Facebook and Instagram!
Pavlova Recipe (Fool Proof)
- 1 tsp (5 ml) white vinegar (to clean bowl)
- 180 g egg whites cold straight from the fridge (see notes)
- 1/4 tsp (2 g) cream of tartare (or 1 tsp / 5ml white vinegar)
- 210 g caster sugar superfine sugar
- 8 g corn flour cornstarch, sifted
- 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract non alcoholic. I used vanilla bean paste.
- 250 ml heavy cream cold (see notes)
- 30 g powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp (20 ml) vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 250 g mascarpone cold
- 100 g Berries washed and dried
- 1 Mango sliced into ribbons
- Stone fruits thinly sliced
- 2 Kiwi thinly sliced
- Passionfruit pulp
- Mint leaves to garnish
- Preparing your oven - Preheat a fan forced oven to 100C / 212F (110C / 230F for no fan. Make sure your baking rack is in the middle of the oven.
- To prepare your baking tray - Line a half sheet or large baking tray with baking paper. Get a plate or bowl that is 20cm / 8-inches in size and use a pen or marker to trace a circle. Turn the baking paper over. Set aside.
- To clean your mixing bowl - Add 1 tsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to a large, glass or metal mixing bowl and wipe down the inside using a paper towel. A clean bowl free of any fat residue will help your meringue to whip up properly.
- To separate your eggs - Separate the eggs one by one in a small bowl, adding them to the large mixing bowl as you crack each one. The key here is to not get any egg yolks in the whites, even a speck can prevent your egg whites from whipping up.
- Froth up your egg whites - Once you have the correct amount of eggs in your large mixing bowl (180g), add the cream of tartar or white vinegar. Use an electric hand mixer to beat on medium speed until the egg whites are frothy.
- To make the meringue - Turn the speed up to high and begin gradually adding your caster sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, waiting about 15 seconds between each addition. All up, it should take 5 minutes to add all your sugar. Once it’s all in there, continue beating on high speed for 5 minutes. The meringue will be thick and glossy and you won’t be able to feel any sugar granules when rubbed between two fingers.
- To finish your meringue - sift in the corn starch and add the vanilla extract. Use a spatula to very gently fold them through the meringue. Your meringue is thick, glossy and finished!
- To finish prepping your baking tray - dip your finger in the meringue and dab the corner of your baking tray with it. Stick the baking paper to the baking tray (marker side facing down).
- To shape your pavlova - add half the meringue to the baking tray, using the circle you drew as a guide. Gently spread out using a spoon or offset spatula. Get it as evenly flat as you can.
- Add the remaining meringue and use the spatula or spoon to shape into a tall disc. Flat sides and evenly flat top. Get your sides slightly sloping. Get it as neat as you can without overworking it as you could risk deflating the meringue.
- To Bake - your pav is ready to go in the oven! Bake in the middle rack for 90 minutes. Do not open the door at any point during the baking time or cooling time. Once baked, leave in the oven to cool completely. Overnight is best!
- Add all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl (glass or metal, not plastic) and use an electric hand mixer fitted with beaters or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whip until you reach stiff peaks. This usually takes about 3 - 4 minutes to achieve. What you’re looking for is a smooth but stiff whipped cream.
- You want to decorate and finish your pavlova no longer than an hour before serving. The cream needs to be kept cold right up until serving. Very gently spoon your cream on top of the pavlova and spread evenly on top. If your meringue cracked, use the cream to patch up the cracks.
- Add the fruit toppings on top, slice and serve!
Eggs - egg sizes vary depending on country or brand marketing so it’s important to weigh out your egg whites using kitchen scales for the very best, consistent results. For this recipe you want to buy freshly bought eggs, meaning eggs you just bought from the store. Not eggs that have been resting in your fridge for weeks. You also don’t want to use freshly laid eggs for this recipe as they take longer to whip up.
Cream - make sure you use cream labelled heavy cream for this recipe. Whipping cream will work but won’t be as stiff as heavy cream. Low fat cream will not work.
Powdered sugar - I don’t like my cream too sweet, but if you like yours on the sweeter side you can use up to 1/2 cup. Make sure you sift it!
Mascarpone - is an Italian cheese that is similar in flavor to sour cream, but more creamy and less sour. Opt in for a better brand one as they tend to be thicker and make sure it’s cold straight out of the fridge! Make sure you give your mascarpone cheese a mix before using. Some brands are soft, some are firm and can cause your Chantilly cream to go lumpy.
Vanilla - I have a great recipe for Vanilla extract here on the blog which is alcohol based. It can be used for most recipes. However, I would advise against using it for whipped creams (yes, even stabilized ones like this one) or meringues as it can muck around with the air whipped in the mixtures. Instead use a syrup based vanilla extract. I find vanilla bean paste is best.
Chantilly Cream Storage - My Chantilly cream can be made up to three days in advance and can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge. Do not stir before using if you’re making it ahead of time!
Pavlova Storage - Pavlova can be made up to a day in advance. Store undecorated pavlova in an airtight container in the fridge and top up to an hour before serving.
Nutrition - is based on per slice. This recipe serves about 12 people. A note on measurements - this recipe is offered in weight measurements only in an effort to offer the most accurate way to get the best results. Cup measurements simply aren’t accurate enough for a recipe that needs precision and cup sizes differ depending on where you are in the world. To learn more about how to measure ingredients using digital kitchen scales, click here!