Pavlova (Australian meringue dessert)

This is a quintessentially Australian dish. The legend behind it is that it was created by a chef in Adelaide after he had seen Anna Pavlova dance, saying that he wanted to create a dessert that was as light and airy as her dancing.

Australians pride themselves on their ability to cook a good Pavlova. When important visitors come to an Australian household, they are likely to be served a Pavlova with plenty of fresh fruit. There are many variations on the recipe. This one comes from my friend Janet Wiles.


(Serves 6-8)


  1. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the sugar (about 1 tsp every 30 seconds). This will take around 15 minutes. Beat until firm.
  2. Add the vinegar. When combined, turn out onto a flat baking sheet that has been greased and dusted with cornflour. Shape it so that there will be a hollow in the centre to hold the fruit.
  3. Cook in a pre-heated, warm oven for 10 minutes, then at for 40-50 mins.
  4. When cooked, turn the oven off, and allow to cool slowly in the oven for at least an hour, preferably overnight. Gradual cooling is important.
  5. Serve cold, topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit such as strawberries, bananas, and kiwi fruit.


Castor sugar is known in North America as "granulated sugar." Cornflour is likewise "cornstarch."

The higher temperature initially is to form a crust on the outside of the meringue base!it should be crisp on the outside, though not browned, and soft inside. It's important that the beaters and the bowl are really dry and clean. Uneven temperatures will cause the base to collapse (keep the oven door closed and let it cool slowly). Experienced Pavlova cooks claim that electric ovens work best because they heat more uniformly.


Difficulty: moderate.
Time: 30 minutes preparation, 1 hour cooking, 1 or more hours cooling.
Precision: Measure the ingredients.


Janet Wiles (Janetw@basser.oz), Sydney University, Australia 
Transcribed by Kathy Morris (morris@diablo.ARPA), Stanford University 
Recipe last modified: 10 Apr 86

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Path: decwrl!recipes
From: morris@diablo (Kathy Morris)
Subject: RECIPE: Pavlova I (Australian meringue dessert)
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Date: 13 Jun 86 03:34:16 GMT
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