Thursday, 11 March 2010


Cast your minds way way back… Do you remember the Menu for Hope raffle?? Well last weekend I made delivery number 1 of 12! As luck would have it, the winner is based just up the road from me, so no tricky posting of baked goods to get around – cue layer cakes, fancy cupcakes and hugely perishable numbers like this pavlova!
pavlova 2
I say the winner lives around the corner… Technically the winner lives in Australia, but her sister lives around the corner and the prize was gifted to her to help with her homesickness. Isn’t that just about the best gift??! It was also a total surprise to said sister so felt like quite the covert mission appearing at her door on a Sunday afternoon with a large meringue!!

Pavlovas are one of my favourite summer time desserts – light, sweet and bursting with seasonal fruit. Unfortunately, seasonal fruit in the UK right now consists of apples and pears. Delicious though they are, I can’t really picture them as pavlova compatible! So I went the tropical route, with mangos, papaya, passion fruits, kiwis and blueberries (ok, so not technically tropical but they’re so pretty!). Really, any soft fruit works like a dream – I love love LOVE ripe nectarines and English strawberries but it’s one of those dishes that is inherently flexible, so make it with whatever you have on hand.

And SUPER easy!! When I say super easy, I mean a total doddle. Perfect for dinner parties as you make it the night before (or that morning) and just whack the cream and fruit on for an instantly impressive centrepiece. Simple and stunning! You can tell from the ingredients that it’s easy to scale up or down too – just make sure your baking tray is large enough!

Adapted from Delia Smith’s recipe

Meringue base:
4 egg whites (room temperature and nice and fresh)
8 oz caster sugar

Double cream (about 300ml)
½ tbsp icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Selection of fruit, peeled, deseeded and chopped as necessary – I used 1 each of mango, papaya, kiwi and passion fruit plus a handful of blueberries.

Preheat the oven to 150C.

Cut a square of baking parchment the same size as a baking tray. On the reverse side, draw a circle about 9” in diameter (I just use a plate) with a pencil and flip over. You don’t want to spread the meringue on the pencil markings!

In a super sparkly clean bowl, whisk up the egg whites until they form soft peaks (there’s a test here, of suspending the bowl upside down to see if they fall out, which they won’t do if they’re ready. I’m not that brave but if you are, go for it. But please don’t send me the dry cleaning bill!!!).

Add the sugar gradually whilst whisking and whisk up to a beautiful, glossy, thick meringue. Place dots of the mix between the tray and paper to anchor the parchment paper down. Spoon the egg whites onto the paper, following the guide of the circle to produce a beautifully circular disk. I like to build the sides up slightly so that there’s a dip in the middle to fill with whipped cream and fruit, but this is by no means essential!

Pop in the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 140C. Cook for one hour and then turn the oven off BUT DON’T REMOVE THE PAVLOVA!! Leave in the oven until the oven cools down – I normally leave overnight, but a few hours should do it. This helps cook the meringue in the residual heat and produces the crispy outer and soft, mallowy middle that makes the pavlova a thing of beauty.

Then carefully peel away from the paper and place on a serving dish (bear in mind the pavlova is fragile). Whip up the cream to soft peaks and whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Pile into the centre of the pavlova and cover with fruit.

This is best served quite soon after making but will be fine in the fridge for a couple of hours.


  1. OHMYGOD! That looks so stunning. Way better than my one from last week. Can I come and live in your house please? That's one lucky lucky lady.

  2. Wow that looks so good! My Mum makes the best Pavs ever but she is in Australia so I miss out now. Yours looks juts as good as Mum makes though ;0)

  3. Glad to hear that the fortunate recipient is good and local - that would NEVER have gone through the post!!