This EASY Australian Pavlova recipe is all about that crunchy, chewy meringue shell and soft, pillowy marshmallow centre. Have the meringue base in the oven in just 15 minutes! Includes recipe video, step-by-step instructions and creative topping ideas.
First up, preheat your oven to 150˚ Celsius and line your tray with baking paper.
Pop your egg whites into the mixing bowl and attach the whisk to the stand mixer (or use a hand mixer). Start by whipping them on Speed 2 then move through to Speed 4 after a couple of minutes.
6 egg whites
When the egg whites turn into bubbly soft peaks, up the speed to 6 and add the caster sugar and cornstarch, then increase to Speed 8 for 10 – 12 minutes until you’ve got yourself a luxuriously smooth, glossy meringue mixture.
Now bring the speed down to 4 and pour in the vinegar and vanilla essence. You might need to scrape down the meringue from the sides of the bowl every now and again with a spatula to make sure it mixes through. Let it mix for 1 minute then switch off your mixer.
1 tsp vinegar, 1 tsp vanilla essence
Scoop out the glossy meringue mixture onto a lined baking tray and form a flat circle shape. Smooth it out or get creative with decorative patterns, twists or twirls. Pop in the oven and bake for an hour to an hour and a half until the meringue sets into a crunchy, crispy outside with a soft golden glow. When the outside is firm and dry, and cracks start to appear on the top, you’re ready to go. Switch off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool in the oven with the door slightly open.
For the whipped cream:
While the pavlova is cooling, pour your cream into your cleaned mixing bowl and pop in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. When your pavlova is cool, place the bowl back on the stand mixer (or grab your hand mixer) and whip the cream on Speed 6 – 8. Add in the castersugar and vanilla essence and continue to whip until the cream thickens and holds a nice shape.
400 g thickened cream, 75 g caster sugar / superfine sugar, 1 tsp vanilla essence
Top your cooled pavlova with whipped cream andsliced fruit such as strawberries, kiwi fruit, banana and passionfruit, and sprinkle with icing sugar.
Eggs - For best results, make sure to use room-temperature eggs - cold eggs can cause your meringue mixture to be too runny. We use chicken eggs for this recipe, but duck eggs are absolutely fabulous if you can get your hands on them!
Sugar - We recommend caster sugar, aka superfine sugar. It dissolves into the egg whites more quickly and will give you that smooth texture you're looking for. Don't be tempted to add the sugar into the egg whites too quickly. If added too soon, this can make the meringue runny.
Vinegar - The acid in vinegar helps the egg whites become fluffy and hold onto all that air that's beaten in. Regular white vinegar (or white wine vinegar) is the best choice, but you can substitute with apple cider vinegar, cream of tartar, or even lemon juice in a pinch. We don't recommend strong dark vinegars like balsamic or malt as they're more likely to add a strong flavour to the meringue.
Give it Time - Give the egg whites and sugar plenty of time to combine fully. If you don't, it can lead to a gritty texture and may cause the pavlova to crack or collapse.
Stop it Cracking or Collapsing - Cooking the pavlova on the lowest rack in the oven can help to stop it cracking. Humidity can have an effect when cooking meringues -for best results, try avoiding super humid days/environments if possible. Both cracking and collapsing could be caused by taking the pavlova out of the oven too soon while it's still warm. To help the oven cool down quicker, open it just slightly so the hot air can escape faster without allowing the cold air to come in too quickly. If you're worried, leave the pavlova in the oven overnight with the door shut then top it first thing in the morning.
Make Mini Pavlovas (aka Eton Mess) - Portion out the mixture into separate circles as big or as small as you like. Once cooked, top with a simple topping of whipped cream, strawberries and a sprig or two of mint leaves.
Crush it! - Deliberately crack the pavlova into pieces, then add to a bowl and top with whipped cream and fruit. For bonus points, serve in glass for a stunning visual effect.
Play with Shapes - Make it as a square, a wreath (perfect for Christmas!), or a love heart. Make thinner layers of pavlova, then once cooked, layer them up into stacks with the toppings as 'fillings' in the middle.