First posted: Mar 25, 2011

Pavlova 101 – Now Anyone Can Make Meringues


You say Pavlova, some say Palava, some say Meringues… either way they can be quite hard to get exactly right, and, ergo, quite easy to botch. But if you concentrate and follow these tips closely you’ll get the knack in a jiffy and won’t look back. They store for up to 2 months in an airtight container, so really are your best friend for last-minute entertaining.

This is an age-old recipe from my stalwart Gan-Nan (Granny Nancy) on her farm in Natal, and I still find it hard to believe that all it takes for dozens of gooey delights starts with just one egg white. My Mom churns out armies of these pretty little soldiers whenever our home kitchen resembles a railway station (which is often) and the smell of meringue mixture takes me straight back to my childhood.

These are filled with whipped cream, but if you buy my book when it comes out, you’ll find a very special surprise filling that I love as well!



Cooks in:        Serves:30 - 40 meringues

  • 1 egg white
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar (regular white wine vinegar or even apple cider)
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tsp baking powder

What to do

1. Pre-heat oven to 120C and line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

2. Put the egg white into a mixing bowl and beat well with an electric mixer until peaks form (2-3 minutes), then slowly add the sugar in stages, beating all the while.

3. While still beating, add all the other ingredients one at a time, except the baking powder. Beat well for a further 10 minutes until stiff and glossy white, then gently fold in the baking powder with a fork.

4. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Spoon out the meringue mixture in teaspoon-sized dollops, each about 2 cm apart.

5. Using the back of a teaspoon make a small ‘crater’ in the middle of each meringue, which will be for the filling at a later stage. Have a cup of hot water handy to dip the spoon in between each one so that you have a clean spoon for each meringue.

6. Bake for 45-50 minutes and then switch the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven until cold.

For the Whipped Cream & Berry Coulis150ml double cream, whipped.
1 cup frozen mixed berries, defrosted. Blend and set aside until just before serving.

Serving Ideas: Just before serving, fill as many pavlova cases as you need with about 1 heaped tsp of whipped cream each, drizzle over about 1 Tbsp berry coulis and a few fresh berries.

Notes: It’s important to fill the pavlova cases only just before eating as otherwise they risk going soggy from the cream and berry coulis.
For a large pavlova, lay down a circular base of the mixture about 15-20cm in diameter, smooth out gently with a spoon and then dollop larger meringues around the edge to make a ‘wall’.

The dinky little spoons were a wedding favour at our friends John and Elle's wedding a few weeks ago, cool hey?

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