Pavlova with Whipped Cream and Fresh Fruit

Last Updated on March 2, 2009 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

Learn how to make pavlova ‘cake’ with this easy, marshmallow-y Australian pavlova recipe. The perfect dessert recipe. 

australian pavlova with banana, kiwi and strawberries

When I was an exchange student in Belgium, my best friend was Hannah from Australia.

Hannah told me stories of inside-out seasons (Christmas on the beach?! That could blow a Canadian girl’s mind!), taught me important exchange-student life skills (like which Belgian beers were the strongest, and how to stuff your rapidly expanding exchange-student ass into your tiny pants), and introduced me the Australian delights of Tim Tams, Anzac biscuits, and Pavlova.

I make Pavlova on occasion, and always think lovingly of my favourite Aussie, somewhere out there on the upside-down side of the world.

What is Pavlova?

Pavlova is a traditional to Australians and New Zealanders that was apparently created in honour of the ballerina Anna Pavlova, when she toured in those parts.

It is basically a delicate mountain of whipped meringue. After being baked under low heat, the outside shell gets crunchy, the top gets browned, but the inside stays chewy and soft – like creamy fresh marshmallow.

It then gets piled high with softly whipped cream and fresh fruit.

The result is dreamy, with the consistency of a cream-smothered cloud.

How to Make Pavlova

For a dessert with quite an impressive appearance (and taste), it is ridiculously quick and easy to create.

All you have to do is beat some egg whites in a standing mixer with cream of tarter until stiff peaks form.

Slowly add some sugar (Aussies use castor sugar, which is very fine white sugar – I use regular white sugar and it does a lovely job), some cornstarch, a dash of vinegar (to stabilize the whites) and vanilla.

Mound it all in into a circle on a greased and floured baking sheet, or pile it into a springform pan.

The baking part takes the longest – it needs about an hour and fifteen minutes.

While it is cooling, whip some cream (I add some sour cream, a touch of sugar, and vanilla – you could equally use cocoa and sugar for a chocolatey version), and slice some fruit.

If you’re using fruit that browns quickly, toss it in a splash of lemon juice.

Top the meringue with a blanket of whipped cream, then decorate it with the fruit as you choose.

If you’ve got the attention span, concentric circles are impressive looking.

But a you can easily just heap it on, which I think is also attractive – particularly if you’re using just one type of fruit, like raspberries, or pomegranate.

Easy Australian Pavlova

Dessert
American

Ingredients
  

  • 4 egg whites
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cream of tarter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy cream chilled
  • 1 tsp vanilla optional
  • 2 tbsp sugar optional
  • fresh fruit sliced

Instructions
 

  • Grease and flour a parchment-lined baking sheet, or a springform pan. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tarter in the large bowl of a standing mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, and continue beating till it will hold stiff peaks. Beat in the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla.
  • Using a rubber spatula, mound the meringue in a circle on the prepared baking sheet, or into the springform pan. Either way, make the sides slightly higher than the center, to create a bit of a well for the whipped cream. Bake in center of oven for 1 hr 15 minutes, then allow to cool inside the oven with the door slightly ajar. The outside will be dry, and will be a pale, cream colour. The surface may crack, but the inside will be moist and marshmallowy.
  • Just before serving, whip the cream (adding 1 tsp vanilla and 2 tbsp sugar, if desired). Pile the cream onto the meringue and top with the fresh, sliced fruit. Serve immediately.
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