For The Love of Pavlova

A miracle took place in my oven the other day. Set to 170 degrees, I placed a baking sheet inside with a mound of beaten egg whites and sugar, and out came this:

That is pavlova. It’s named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova. I’ve seen Julia Child make it, Nigella Lawson and The Barefoot Contessa (whose recipe I used). But I’d never been driven to try. How good could it be? Just egg whites and sugar–no fat? Just a big crispy blob of white?

Oh how wrong I was. This wasn’t just good, it was shockingly good: crispy on the outside and gooey, like a marshmallow, on the inside. And then, to be totally decadent, you top it with whipped cream and berries:


For the berries, I made Pim’s strawberries in hibiscus and vanilla syrup. That berry mixture on top of the whipped cream on top of the pavlova was like going to the moon with the most beautiful person on Earth, having sex all the way, while listening to your favorite band play live as little puppies lick your toes. You get the idea. Pure bliss. Heaven, thy name is pavlova.

[Note: Craig said it was “too sweet” and made a face.]

[Note 2: Craig said that after eating an entire tub of Swedish fish.]

24 thoughts on “For The Love of Pavlova”

  1. Adam, could you expand a bit more on how you made the Pavlova (oven temperature, number of egg whites, beating method, baking time). Today’s my birthday and since I’ll probably be dining on my own (no party until tomorrow, unfortunately) I may as well make myself this treat…

  2. Sorry Adam, old age must be taking a toll on me (I’m turning 34). I’ve just realised you already posted a link for the recipe…

  3. I have made a pavlova before. So good. I added cocoa powder to make the meringue part chocolate and topped with with fresh whipped cream, sliced strawberries and a dark chocolate drizzle. Wow. I want to run home and make one right now. (Call in to work baking? Hmm… don’t think they would let me use sick leave for that).

  4. I made a peach pavlova once. Unfortunately I made it early in the day and kept it in the oven; when I served it in the evening my crispy outside was gone. Anyway, still delicious. But it IS too sweet! The topping should just rely on the fruit’s natural sugars to offset the sweetness of the meringue.

    So, yes to all but the puppy toe-licking. Eww!

  5. Love the beautiful look of it and the crisp and soft texture. Did you know it is the national dessert of both Australia and New Zealand? The dessert was name for Anna’s visit to Australia in 1929 and honours her most famous role as the dying swan.

  6. I’m making Pim’s/Alain Passard’s strawberries with hibiscus syrup tonight and am now sorely tempted to make a pavlova to put them on. My sister-in-law on weight watcher’s is going to give me the evil eye if I do, though, so maybe I’ll show some restraint. Or not.

  7. Mary, why would your sister-in-law give you the evil eye? It’s egg whites whipped with sugar – if there’s any dessert someone on weight watchers could eat . . .

  8. I love a good pavlova. My partner once made one with candied ginger in the meringue — we haven’t figured out how tomake it coorectly — too damp, alas. And thus too chewy. But very tasty despite it all. I think if Craig thought it too sweet — maybe it was the topping.

    My site is Cooking with Ideas…

  9. antipodean foodie

    Good to see you’ve found a great Australian tradition! Try it with just scooped out passionfruit next time – or sometimes people have it with kiwi fruit. I admit I like it best plain – just the crisp meringue outside, gooey centre, cool luscious cream and single tangy fruit (strawbs or passionfruit – not both). Mmmm….

    A friend of mine rates pavlova so highly it was the cake at her 21st birthday party!

  10. I absolutely love making (and eating!) pavlova. I find it so satisfying to have the whites form those little peaks when they’re stiff. Personally, I’ll top with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi, rasberries and pineapple…..a great summer dessert!

  11. Mmmm, I made this today with raspberries and strawberries. I also made lemon curd with the leftover yolks and put a nice dollop on top. Delicioussss.

  12. This looks even better than the Jewish pizza – only because I have a sweet tooth :) I’m wondering how long that thing lasted. And did it go faster than the pizza?

  13. Tell Craig I agree with him one hundred percent…I find pavlovas to be sickeningly sweet. And I don’t eat Swedish fish!!

    It also, quite honestly, combines my least favorite foods…meringue (hate the consistency and the sweetness) and syrupy fruit.

  14. When I was younger my aunt threw a summer dinner party, and as dessert served us a chocolate Pavlova. Now generally, I am wary of foods that come from my aunt’s kitchen. (Her Marshmallow-encrusted Sweet Potatoes successfully ruined the vegetable for me.)

    But oh, what delight! It was sweet and smooth, and it crisped perfectly on the edges. Topped with fresh raspberry syrup, it was pure bliss. To this day, I’ve not been able to reproduce it.

    LONG LIVE THE PAVLOVA, and thank you Adam for bringing back the memories.

  15. I usually just sprinkle quartered strawberries with Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Chambord. Can use a mixture of berries if you want. Let it sit for a while, sprinkle on some sugar if you don’t think the meringue is sweet enough already.. probably want to just spoon the berries on without all the liquid. People go crazy for this.. don’t underestimate the power of the pav!!

  16. I love pavlova! The first time I had it was when my sister in law made it for us on her first trip to California from Australia. I had no idea what it was and she was so shocked: “You’ve never had pav?!” she kept saying in her beautiful aussie accent. Apparently it was a staple in Australia, where you can by pavlova “shells” at the grocery store.

  17. My pavlova always comes out okay, my problem is how or maybe what to cut it with to serve? It usually just falls apart. Help!

  18. Yum. My fave dessert. Nancy,I use a knife with a fine and very sharp blade to cut a pav.

    I always put freshly whipped cream on top and then whatever fruit is in season. In summer I love to use fresh blueberries and then I dust with a small amount of icing sugar.

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