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Here is a recipe for a very traditional New Zealand dessert. Pavlova is especially popular at Christmas time and our family celebrations always include a pavlova for dessert. Picture a huge meringue that has a soft marshmallow like texture in the center and a crisp outer shell, covered with whipped cream and garnished with fresh berries then you’re in the right ball park.


© Colin Stitt | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Karen’s Mum’s Pavlova

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 dessertspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1 dessertspoon vinegar (malt)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 cups sugar (fine grained caster is best/super fine sugar)
  • 4 tablespoon boiling water.

Place all in a bowl and beat for 10 minutes or until folding in peaks. Line the oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Pile mixture onto baking paper shaping mixture into a round shape. Make the centre slightly hollow. Heat oven to 220c (425F) and when pavlova goes into the oven turn down to 120c. (220F) Cook for 1 hour. Allow pavlova to cool. Fill dip in centre with whipped cream. Cover with grated chocolate or fresh fruit (strawberries, raspberries or kiwifruit are yummy) and serve.

Comments: This recipe came from my sister-in-law, Sheryl, who is the family expert when it comes to pavlovas. She whips them up for most family gatherings, and there’s not usually any left over by the time we’re finished. My favorite topping is either passion fruit pulp or berries but the one in the photo is decorated with dried fruits and marshmallows. Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to topping a pavlova.

Note from my sister-in-law – I have been making this one for quite a while now. It is a bit easier than the one I used to make. – Just put everything in together!!

Note from Shelley – The pavlova is said to be named after the ballerina, Anna Pavlova. There’s much debate between Australian and New Zealanders as to which country invented the pavlova. Latest New Zealand research says it’s New Zealand so I’m sticking with that theory!

What is your favorite family dessert?


  1. Mary Kirkland

    Oh that sounds so good. My favorite dessert would be cheesecake.

    • Shelley Munro

      I like cheesecake too, but pavlova is my favorite.

  2. Nancy Henderson

    My grandmother used to make a dessert similar to this. I can’t remember what she called it. I wish she were alive now to ask her! Small world isn’t it?

    • Shelley Munro

      It is a small world, and even smaller with the internet to share things.

  3. Tasha

    I love meringue in most forms and pavlova is wonderful, but I’m not a fruit person (unless it’s pulverised,) so I love a cappuccino pavlova with chocolate sprinkles and things like that :).

    Eton Mess is another great meringue desert, and as I understand it, it came from a pavlova going wrong :). The broken up meringue in the cream is lovely, along with the mixed in topping. That’s what we’re having for pud on Easter Sunday :) – those with a vague nod to healthy (and it’s very vague ;)) are having it with strawberries and the rest of us are going for chocolate buttons ::g::.
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    • Shelley Munro

      Nigella Lawson has a recipe for a chocolate chip pavlova, and that’s delicious.

      I’ve heard of Eton Mess before, and I have to agree. That’s a great thing to make when pavlovas go wrong!

  4. Sophie Duncan

    I love pavlova – there is something about meringue and cream that us just heavenly. I also like the mashed up version of pavlova – Eton Mess, which is fruit, meringue and cream all mixed up.
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    • Shelley Munro

      I think it’s all the different textures that make it so delicious, at least that’s my theory.

  5. Veronica Sicoe

    OMG this sounds yummy! I’m totally gonna try it some time. Thanks!

    • Shelley Munro

      I hope you do because it’s yummy!

  6. Sandra Cox

    Yum. Happy Easter, Shelley.

  7. anna@herding cats & burning soup

    I’ve heard of that! But never tried it. I’m not sure it would be the dessert for me (I have…some food quirks lol).

    My favorite family dessert is turtle cake which is actually brownies but called cake for some reason.

    Brownie layer, melted caramel layer, chocolate chips that melt, walnuts then another layer of brownie. It’s sinful.

    • Shelley Munro

      It certainly does sound sinful. I bet that adds layers to the hips :)