Margaret Fulton Favourites
Tanya Zouev and Armelle Habib

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 passionfruit and strawberries adds a distinctive flavour to the dessert.


Quantity Ingredient
6 egg whites, at room temperature
A pinch salt
2 cups caster sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups cream
3 passionfruit, pulped
1/2 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 200–210°C. Place a piece of baking paper on a baking tray and mark a 23 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 into the egg white mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed until all sugar has been added. Lastly, fold in the vinegar and vanilla. Spoon large dollops inside the circle on the baking sheet and smooth over the top lightly. Place in the oven (reducing heat to 150°C) for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and leave pavlova in the oven until cold. If using a gas oven bake at 150°C for 1 hour, reduce heat to 120°C for a further 30 minutes and then turn heat off and leave the pavlova in the oven until completely cooled.
  3. 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 passionfruit and strawberries over the cream and serve.

Individual pavlovas

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and use a pencil to mark the paper with 6 x 7.5 cm circles. Whisk 3 egg whites at room temperature with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Add 2⁄3 cup of caster sugar, a little at a time, beating constantly. Beat in 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of vanilla essence. The mixture should now hold stiff peaks.

    Spread the meringue on the paper within the marked circles and bake for about 20 minutes or until pale golden. Leave in the turned-off oven to cool completely before carefully transferring to serving plates. Serve topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

Choice of fruit

  • Passionfruit and sliced strawberries are a good combination. A tablespoon of icing sugar may be added to sweeten them, if you like. Sliced strawberries macerated with a tablespoon of Kirsch or orange-flavoured liqueur is a delicious topping. A New Zealand favourite, sliced kiwifruit, adds a fresh flavour and colour.

Four-egg pavlova

  • For a smaller, family-size pavlova, use the basic recipe, reducing the number of egg whites to 4 and the sugar to 11⁄2 cups. Otherwise, everything remains the same.

Pavlova in a springform tin

  • Cut a circle of baking paper to line the base of a 23 cm springform tin and brush the sides with oil. Pile the meringue mixture into the prepared tin and bake as per the basic recipe. When cool, release the sides of the tin, slide pavlova onto a flat plate and finish as per the basic recipe.
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