Easy Guide to the Perfect Pavlova
Follow my step by step guide to make the perfect pavlova. A crips crust with a light and fluffy centre that melts in the mouth, topped with freshly whipped cream and a mountain of fresh berries. Perfection!
I didn’t set out to make a guide to making the perfect pavlova, it came after many failed attempts and a lot of research. It all started two weeks before Christmas when I started prepping my Christmas Dinner. After making my Yorkshire Puddings and prepping my Make Ahead Christmas Roast Potatoes I thought I’d better do a test run of my Christmas Day dessert. I usually make a meringue based dessert as they are lighter on the stomach after a large dinner. I’d seen an elegant looking pavlova dome and decided I was making that.
Turns out there is a bit of science involved and my pavlova was a disaster. I went in all confident and it broke me. I then became obsessed with making the perfect pavlova. I’d make one, it would fail, I’d look online to do some research and try again. This happened a few times until I struck gold with lucky pavlova number 3.
Each time I failed I’d head to google to see what I was doing wrong “why does my pavlova crack”, “how do I stop my pavlova from sinking”, “why is my pavlova weeping”…….. and that’s how I created my easy guide to the perfect pavlova.
Tips for a Perfect Pavlova
This isn’t a bible to perfect pavlovas, it won’t answer your technical questions. But if you follow it step by step, my easy guide to the perfect pavlova will deliver a beautiful dessert that you will be very proud of and will delight your guests. When I finally cracked it I was dancing around the kitchen and sent pictures to everyone.
You do need to follow this guide ingredient by ingredient, step by step for your pavlova to be a success. I learnt that pavlovas are very sensitive, you can’t rush them and you can’t deviate from the recipe.
A pavlova is made up of 4 simple ingredients, egg whites, caster sugar, cornflour and white wine vinegar. You have to use caster sugar in this, you can’t use granulated or icing sugar. It’s also important to mix the caster sugar into the egg whites slowly to allow it to fully dissolve without over whipping the eggs. If you get this wrong your pavlova will weep and is more likely to crack. I set a timer for 2 minutes every time I add a tablespoon of caster sugar and whip on a medium setting.
I wrote this guide in a really simple way so that I can pick up and make a perfect pavlova every time. A pavlova is a classed as an intermediate level bake. I hope this guide will make it easy to follow so that the most novice baker can pick it up and make a perfect pavlova. If you attempt this, follow the guide, attack with confidence and you will smash it!
Easy Guide to the Perfect Pavlova
My Guide to a Perfect Pavlova
- 4 egg whites from large free range eggs
- 220 g white cater sugar Don’t use icing or granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cornflour
- 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
- 200 g fresh strawberries stalk removed and cut into quarters
- 30 g caster sugar
- little squeeze of lemon
- 300 g mixed berries
- 300 ml double cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar to dust plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pre heat the oven to 130C/110C Fan/Gas 3 and draw a 20cm/ circle on the bottom side of a sheet of baking paper.
- Pour the egg whites into large bowl or stand mixer bowl. Whisk the eggs whites on a medium speed for around a minute, until the eggs are frothy and still wet. They shouldn't be able to form peaks, if they are stiff and look like clouds you’ve gone too far.
- Add a table spoon of caster sugar and whisk on medium speed for 2 minutes. Repeat until all the sugar has gone.
- It’s important to add the sugar slowly on a medium speed to allow the sugar to fully dissolves without over whipping the eggs. Get this wrong and your pavlova will weep and is more likely to crack. Set a time for 2 minutes every time you add sugar and whip on a medium setting.
- When all the sugar has been mixed in, your egg whites should be smooth, glossy and thick with plenty of volume (like shaving foam). Mix the corn flour with the vinegar to make a paste, then add to the egg whites and whisk on medium for around 2 minutes more minute.
- Rub a little mixture between your fingers, it’s should be smooth and velvety. If it’s grainy, mix on medium for another couple of minutes to ensure the sugar has dissolved.
- Blob a little bit of mixture on the bottom of each corner of the baking paper to stick it to a baking tray.
- Spoon the mixture around the inside of the circle on the baking paper, then fill the middle. Smooth around the outside and level the top with the back of a spatula. It should look like a frosted cake. Then use the tip of the spatula to create vertical ridges by dragging the spatula from the bottom of the pavlova to the top. Repeat all the way round then level off the top. Ridging the sides will create a dome effect when topped with cream and berries. The ridding supports the structure. Make sure your pavlova is no higher than 5cm, any higher and it's like to sink and crack.
- Bake in the middle of the oven for an hour then turn the oven off and let it cool completely before removing. Removing too soon will crack the pavlova.
- It’s best to make the pavlova the night before and allow to cool in the oven over night. Carefully remove the baking paper, place on a serving plate and store in a cool dry place in an airtight container until ready to decorate. To prevent it going soggy only decorate when ready to serve. Once decorated you can refrigerate for up to a day but it may go soft.
- Add all ingredients into a pan and heat over a medium-low heat. Stir occasionally for around 5 minutes, or until the strawberries are soft. Blitz with a hand blender until smooth and pass through a fine sieve. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. This will last a couple of days in the fridge so can be made ahead of time.
- Add the vanilla extract and icing sugar to the double cream and whip until it can just hold it's own shape. Somewhere between soft and firm peaks.
- Spoon onto the top of the pavlova and smooth with the back of a spatular. Pile on the berries, drizzle with the strawberry coulis and dust with icing sugar. Server and enjoy.
Like with any of my recipes, if you make them don’t forget to take a picture and tag me. I love to see your bakes and I try to share as many as I can on my social media. You can use the social media links below to share and Pin. You can now like and leave a comment about this blog post.
Check out the latest addition to The Bakery- Scrumptious Cherry Bakewell Muffins
My Easy Guide to the Perfect Pavlova isn’t the only meringue based recipe on my blog. Take a look at my No Fuss Eaton Mess it’s the ultimate summer dessert.
I can’t thank you enough for a wonderful year. This year my little blog got a lot of attention and I thank you all for that. Your kind words, shares, comments and likes are the best presents I could ask for and I’m grateful you have all been so generous.
Have a safe and wonderful Christmas.