Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Are pavlovas on your Christmas menu?

Since my Mum died a few years ago Christmas has been very low-key for us as far as preparing festive food is concerned, but one tradition I do adhere to is 'making a pav' for Christmas lunch. The recipe I use has been tried and tested over many years and it is the 'Easy Two-Egg Pavlova' recipe from a very old Australian Women's Weekly Cookbook.

As the recipe suggests, this is very easy to make and here a few tips you need to be aware of to ensure your pavlova turns out the way you want it to.

Use eggs that are a few days old as very fresh eggs have an egg-white that is thin and therefore won't beat up to great volume. Your egg-white should be jelly-like in consistency and firm. Also make sure that your eggs are at room temperature. If you bring them back to room temperature you can even use frozen egg-whites.

Make sure that all the sugar is dissolved or else it will melt when the pav is cooking in the oven and will result in a sticky and 'weepy' pavlova. 

Adding cornflour to the recipe helps to dry out the pavlova. Vinegar whitens the pavlova and also helps to form the marshmallowy centre.

Use a bowl with deep, gently sloping sides and a small rounded base. All equipment should be very clean and dry as any moisture or fat (which includes egg-yolk) will prevent the egg-whites from whipping up to good volume. 

 When spreading your pavlova on the baking tray you could make it in the shape of Australia for something different and a bit of fun. Just download the map from the Aldi website.

When the pavlova is cooked, allow it to cool completely on its tray. Once cool, loosen it with a spatula which is kept flat as, if you try to lever the pavlova up, it will break. After mine has finished cooking, I turn the oven off and roll up a tea towel and put that in the oven door to keep it ajar while the pavlova cools. This dries it out and makes it crisp. If it has dried correctly it will keep in an air-tight tin for two to three weeks. A pavlova made with this particular recipe can be wrapped and frozen and will keep for two months in the freezer.

Here is the recipe:


                                                             2 egg-whites
                                                             1 1/2 cups castor sugar
                                                             1/2 teaspoon vanilla
                                                             1 teaspoon vinegar
                                                             1 teaspoon cornflour
                                                             4 tablespoons boiling water

Place all ingredients into the small bowl of an electric mixer and beat on high speed until the mixture is very stiff which usually takes around 15 minutes. Then spread onto prepared tray. I used to use foil but these days I use baking paper. This mixture will make 15 small shells or one 11 inch pavlova. 

If you are baking in an electric oven - bake a large pavlova in a moderate oven for ten minutes before reducing it to slow and bake a further 45 minutes and cool in the oven. For the small individual ones, just bake in a moderate oven for ten minutes, reduce the heat to slow and bake for a further 30 minutes before cooling in the oven.

When baking in a gas oven - bake the large pavlova in a moderate oven for ten minutes before reducing the heat to slow and then bake a further 1 to 1 1/2 hours before cooling in the oven. For the small individual pavlovas, bake in a moderate oven for ten minutes before reducing it to slow and bake for a further 40 to 50 minutes before cooling in the oven. 


I have rarely had a problem with this pavlova during the many years that I have made it. It is crisp on the outside and has a marshmallow centre. I am sure your family will enjoy it if you give it a try. 

Is a pavlova usually on your Christmas menu like it is for us?



  1. Thanks for sharing this one, might need to be a replacement for trifle. I did your trick and didn't have my glasses on when I bought the 2ltr custard and it expires on 22nd December! Bah! Looks like we'll be having trifle early this year!

    1. Ha ha Barb! I make lots of mistakes like that when I am shopping. I really need to remember to carry them with me. Enjoy your early trifle!

  2. My mum always makes a trifle and I don't really like trifle. Might be an idea to make a pavlova to bring along. Thanks for the recipe. If I make one I'll let you know how it turned out cos I'll be using your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes Elablue, do let me know. The recipe has never let me down but I am careful to make sure the eggs are at room temperature before beating. Often I forget to take them out of the fridge earlier.

    2. I've always fancied making 1 and thought they were really difficult to make so going to go for it.

    3. Elablue, this is a particularly easy one as you just throw all the ingredients in together unlike other recipes for pavlova. I am sure you will love it.

  3. Yum!!! We are having a huge family Christmas at my son's but the pav will be bought. Merry Christmas and peace, good health, and happiness for 2014:)

  4. Enjoy Christmas with your family. I am sure it will be a lot of fun for you all. I hope it is a happy and peaceful time for you all and that 2014 brings much joy and good health.

  5. I have seen this before and yours looks beautiful! I looked it up as I had never heard the name! This is something I would like to try - it just looks so elegant! Thank you for the information and recipe.

  6. Kathy, thanks for the compliment but that photo is from the cookbook. I will be baking mine just before Christmas. I have friends in the US and they had never heard of a pavlova. It was named after the ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured both Australia and New Zealand many years ago and the Kiwis (New Zealanders) say that a chef in a hotel she was staying when in NZ made the dessert for her and named it in her honour. Aussies and Kiwis fight over the origins of the pavlova regardless. We always engage in friendly rivalry!

  7. I'm sure yours look just as elegant! Thank you for the story, I just love knowing how and why things are the way they are. I also LOVE family traditions! :)

  8. Our tradition is trifle, and an alcoholic one at that, pavs were not our thing.

  9. Thank you Chel for this great recipe - crunchy with marshmallow centres just like you said - yum. I'm the delegated pav lady at our family Xmas dinners. This year we're having a belated Xmas with the family in mid-January, so tried this recipe, making it into 6 individual ones for Hubby and I - for our quiet day at home - and 4 more to enjoy later. This pav will definitely be making an appearance with us when we go down to our daughter's.

  10. Glad you like it, Maddie. I am glad the pav is finished now and I can get back to my normal eating patterns now. LOL!

  11. I would like to try this but I wonder if tbe boiling water sets the egg whites? I am in UK and never had much success with pavlova.

  12. Maureen, from memory I add the boiling water last and then start beating and I have never had a fail. Just make sure you follow the guidelines at the beginning of the post about using older and room temperature eggs, etc. I have given up sugar since last Christmas so am tossing up whether to make one with dextrose which is a but more 'iffy' to make than this recipe.,

  13. I have this book and all the recipes wonderful


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