Vanessa Levis

Pavlova, named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, is still just about the most popular party dessert in Australia. Everyone has their favourite texture, be it the crisp meringue shell or the delicate soft marshmallow. The following recipe was given to me by a churchgoer who won acclaim for her ‘pavs’ and made at least five a week for members of the congregation. The meringue puffs up as light as a feather, looking just like Pavlova’s tutu, and the tart-sweet flavour of the strawberries adds a distinctive flavour to the dessert.


Quantity Ingredient
6 egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch of salt
440g caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups cream
strawberries and raspberries, or other fruit of your choice


  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place a piece of baking paper on a baking tray and mark a 20 cm circle on it to use as a guide (the pavlova will spread a little).
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt at full speed until they stand in stiff peaks. Sift the sugar and gradually sprinkle it into the egg whites 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until all sugar has been added.
  3. Lastly, fold in the vinegar and vanilla. Spoon large dollops of meringue inside the circle on the baking sheet to form a high mound and smooth over the top lightly. Place in the oven (immediately reducing the heat to 150°C) for 1 hour.
  4. If using an electric oven, turn off the heat and leave the pavlova in the oven until cold. If using a gas oven, reduce heat to 120°C and cook for a further 30 minutes, then turn the heat off and leave the pavlova in the oven until completely cooled.
  5. When the pavlova is cooled, slide onto a large, flat cake plate, removing the baking paper. Don’t worry if it collapses slightly; you should also expect cracks on the surface. Whip the cream until stiff but still shiny and spoon over the top of the pavlova. Spoon berries over the cream and serve.


  • The meringue may also be sprinkled with blanched, slivered almonds before baking. They will toast to a golden brown.
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