Pavlova Recipe

"Pavlova Recipe- Meringues with lots of topping ideas!!"

On this page you will find a recipe for the humble Pavlova that seems to be fool proof. It also contains lots of ideas for topping this famous Australian dessert.

Just to be clear, a pavlova is a traditional Australian dessert, often served as the dessert on Christmas day and is usually a large circular meringue (cake size) topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit. The outside should be hard and the middle should be soft and chewy.

But are its origins really Australian? Read further on to find out whether our cousins in New Zealand can claim ownership??

Fool Proof Pavlova Recipe

This is a recipe I have used regularly from It works well every time. I think the trick is to keep the temperature on the oven low and leave the door open after you've cooked it to dry it out a bit more.

Ingredients (serves 8)

6 eggwhites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar pinch cream of tartar
300ml thickened cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar mixture
1 teaspoon vanilla extractFruit to top (approx 500g) - see suggestions below


Preheat oven to 120°C/100°C fan-forced. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Mark a 23cm circle on the paper.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggwhites until stiff peaks form. Add caster sugar. Beat for 10 minutes or until sugar has dissolved.

Add cream of tartar. Beat for 1 minute. (this is what makes the outside crunchy)

Spoon mixture onto circle. Using a palette knife or spatula, shape into a circle with high sides. Make 'furrows' up the sides.

Bake for 1 hour or until firm. Turn off oven. Allow to cool in oven with door slightly ajar.

Using an electric mixer, beat cream, icing sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Place pavlova on a serving plate. Top with cream mixture and fruit. Serve.

Topping Ideas for Your Pavlova Recipe

The meringue base and whipped cream are pretty much a given but you can certainly change the fruit you put on top of your meringue:

The following combinations work well:

  • Strawberries, blueberries and kiwi - this looks really colourful but you could choose just one fruit variety of these 3 if you prefer
  • Fresh or frozen Raspberries - slightly crushed works well so the juice seeps into the cream
  • Another great combination is banana, kiwifruit, starfruit, passionfruit and lime rind. To make sure the bananas don't go brown dip in some lime juice first
  • Passionfruit and Raspberry is a nice combination too or how about raspberries with a chocolate sauce
  • Something different would be nuts and grated chocolate or chocolate shards
  • You could create a zesty sauce by mixing orange juice and passionfruit juice (thickened slightly with arrowroot/cornflower)

  • Another option is to make two meringues and then sandwich them together with a vanilla custard (you could buy this or use up all the egg yolks left) then top with cream and fruit.

    Australia V's NZ - The Origin of the Pavlova recipe

    The origin of the humble pavlova is very much disputed - was it Australia or New Zealand?

    It is pretty much agreed that this meringue dessert was named after the Russian Ballet dancer in the 1920's when she was here touring in New Zealand and Australia. The idea being that the light and airy dessert was similar to her graceful ballet moves.

    But then the controversy starts. It depends very much on whether you are Kiwi or Aussie as to who you think can claim its origin.


  • The biographer of Anna Pavlova, wrote that a hotel chef in Wellington, New Zealand, created the dish when Pavlova visited there in 1926 on her world tour.

  • A professor at a New Zealand University has written a book entitled "The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History" She says that the first Australian pavlova recipe was created in 1935 with the possibility that an earlier recipe was published in 1929 in a rural magazine.

  • The Australian website "Australian Flavour" gives the date as 1926, suggesting that "Home Cookery for New Zealand", by Australian writer Emily Futter, contained a recipe for "Meringue with Fruit Filling" Is this perhaps where the controversy starts?? Is this an argument for or against the Kiwis??


  • The Aussies claim that Bert Sachse created the dish at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, Australia in 1935. There is some thought that it could have been created earlier than this and that Sachse got the date wrong and it should have been earlier.
  • There is certainly evidence from 1937 where a Pavlova type recipe appeared in the Australian Women's Weekly
  • I think its clear that it will be very hard to prove the answer to this question! If you think it's the Kiwis, then you should top your pavlova with their traditional kiwi fruit!

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