Pavlova – The Australian Traditional Dessert

The story goes that when the great Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, visited Australia in 1935, Herbert Sachse, the chef of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth knocked up a dessert in her honour.

I understand the New Zealander’s also make a claim of being the first creators, but regardless of who is responsible for the existence of the Pavlova, this is a beautiful summer dessert and not at all difficult to make.

The dessert made in honour of Anna Pavlova

The Pavlova is simply a meringue nest filled with whipped cream and topped with seasonal fruit. I added a home made strawberry coulis for a little added something.

Instead of one large meringue nest, which can be difficult to handle once cooked, I opted for two small nests, each one serving two people. Of course, you could have a go at making one-serve nests, or just be a piggy and eat a whole two serving Pavlova!

The Meringue

Preheat the oven to 200C (400F)

3 egg whites
a pinch of salt
4oz of castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 level teaspoons of cornflour

  • Add the egg whites to a bowl with the pinch of salt and whisk until stiff
  • Keep beating as you add the sugar gradually
  • Still beating, add the vinegar, vanilla essence and the cornflour

Grease a baking tray and line with baking paper.

Now spread the meringue onto the baking paper to form circles the size you desire. You need to create a nest, so build up the outer edge so that a hollow is created in the centre. This is where the cream and fruit will go, so make it deep and wide enough to accommodate it, but be sure to make the outer walls and base thick enough to hold together when you are working with it later.

Create a nest with the Meringue

Turn the oven down to 130C (250F)

Place the meringue(s) into the oven and set the timer for about an hour. You will need to keep an eye on them as different sizes and thicknesses will require different cook times.

You’ll know when they are ready to come out of the oven when they take on a slight golden tinge and the smell of cooking sugar is apparent when you open the oven door.

I like my meringue to be a little soft and gooey in the centre, so I simply test with a little prod with my finger, if you like your meringue crisp you can simply pop it back in the oven until you are happy.

Strawberry Coulis

I don’t use measures for this, so if you are a lover of precision you may wish to google a coulis recipe.

  • Remove the stalks of the strawberries and chop into small chunks.
  • I add these to a pan with a few tablespoons of sugar (I don’t like it too sweet) and add water so that the fruit is just covered.
  • Bring this to the boil whilst stirring continuously. Then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Be sure to keep stirring to prevent the sugar burning.
  • When the fruit is soft and the water has reduced to make a thick sauce, remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
  • Once cool, blend using a hand blender to make a smooth coulis.
  • Set aside until needed.

The fruit simmering in the sugary water


Using a cream with a minimum milk fat of 35%, such as thickened or double cream, whip until thick.

Slice up some seasonal fruit. I am using Victorian strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and passionfruit.

Construction of the Pavlova

The components of the Pavlova, the cream has been added to the nest

  • Carefully place the meringue nest onto the serving dish
  • Add the whipped cream into the centre of the nest
  • I then added a layer of passion fruit
  • Top the dessert with the fruit you like, I have used seasonal berries
  • Drizzle a few teaspoons of coulis over the fruit and it’s ready to serve


Grab a spoon, dig in and worry about the diet tomorrow!

This entry was posted in Aussie Tucker, Australian Traditional, Desserts, In the Kitchen, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Pavlova – The Australian Traditional Dessert

  1. mj monaghan says:

    Wow, now this looks fantastic! Your pictures are sooo good!!

  2. importedkiwi says:

    It is most definitely a kiwi dessert! 🙂 Anyhow, I like your blog 🙂 I’m also a home vege gardener but yet to blog about it…

    • And the hot debate begins…. I wondered how long it would be before it did.

      I’m coming over to South Island NZ early 2012, can’t wait. Are you N or S Island? Have you been okay through the quakes? I see there was another in Christchurch yesterday!

      I would imagine the soil in NZ is amazing for veggie growing.

      Thanks for commenting.

      • importedkiwi says:

        😉 Debates between Kiwis and Aussies never stop!

        I’m in Christchurch 😉 We are fine – more or less used to the shaking now. The veges don’t mind a bit of a shake either 😉

        Enjoy your trip to NZ! And Merry Christmas 🙂

      • I’m so glad you haven’t suffered damage due to the quakes. I knew NZ was prone to Quakes, but they are usually small ones.

        We had a quake here in Melbourne a few months back, it was about 4.something and was a very bizarre feeling.

        I’m very much looking forward to my tour of the South Island, it all looks awesome!

        Christmas day has given us severe thunderstorms all day and hot, wet weather, but Santa still made it!

        Happy veggie growing!

  3. Pingback: 7 x 7 Award | The Emerald Garden Blog

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