heavenly pavlova dessert

heavenly pavlova dessert made of a merangue crust filled with whip cream and fresh berries dusted with powdered sugar.

I was first introduced to Pavlova for dessert when I was sailing in Bermuda—and it was divine. The cook was from New Zealand, and I learned that this is New Zealand’s national dessert, named after the Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Very few humans can refuse this dessert offering, which is gluten-free and feather-light. To ensure success with the meringue base, it is important to have extra-clean utensils and room-temperature eggs. If you carefully follow the recipe directions, you’ll have spectacular results.

heavenly pavlova dessert

Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup castor sugar, a.k.a. superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups fresh berries
  • 1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, whipped
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for garnish



Heat the oven to 275°F, and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and draw a 7-inch circle on it. Set aside.


Separate the eggs, making sure that there is not a speck of yolk mixed in with the whites! Let the whites come to room temperature. You won’t be needing the yolks for this recipe, so store them for another use.


In a clean medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites on medium speed until they form soft peaks. Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, 1 tablespoon at a time. Continuously beat the eggs until you have used all the sugar. Your egg whites should now have glossy, stiff peaks.


Sprinkle the vinegar, cornstarch, and vanilla onto the meringue and fold them in gently with a plastic or silicone spatula. Spoon the meringue into the circle on your parchment paper, and ease it out to the edges. Create a well in the center of the circle to hold the filling.


Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.


Turn the oven off, leaving the meringue inside for 2 hours—it will continue to dry and crisp as it sets in the oven.


Meanwhile, prepare the fruit by washing and slicing it if necessary. Whip the cream with the vanilla extract and sugar until it forms soft peaks.


Just before serving, remove the meringue from the parchment paper and set it on a serving plate. Gently spread the cream on top of the meringue, and arrange the fruit on top. Sprinkle with a bit of powdered sugar. Pavlova can be tricky to portion into pristine slices, so I prefer to serve it at the table, where its delicate composition can be appreciated prior to dividing it onto serving plates.


You could substitute coconut cream for heavy cream for a non-dairy version of this dessert. Another variation is to create individual portions by dividing the meringue on the baking sheet, covering 3” circles drawn on the parchment paper.

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