Pavlova – An Authentic New Zealand Recipe

Pavola RecipePavlova: simple but elegant meringue dessert dance. Pavlova: inspired by a famous, Russian prima ballerina. Pavlova: controversy between New Zealand and Australia over which country first created it.

My dear friend Jilly, from New Zealand, had been talking about, I must admit this rather odd dessert, for weeks. Pavlova, a traditional New Zealand (and Australian) dessert that sounded exotic and mysterious.  My thoughts were it was like lemon meringue pie but without the pie or lemon.  The dessert was inspired by a Russian prima ballerina and is served in the some of the country’s most expensive restaurants. However, as gorgeous as the dish is, as Jilly told me, when she was a little girl growing up in New Zealand, most people lived in the country;  even in the leanest times people had  access to a few eggs, cream and some berries making it very much an affordable, family dessert.

The afternoon Jilly invited me to watch her make pavlova I arrived with a bottle of New Zealand wine … just seemed like the right thing to do. As Jilly assembled the meringue, cream, kiwis, fresh berries my thoughts were those Kiwis sure know how to turn a few simple ingredients into a very sexy dessert!

Jilly kindly agreed to share her authentic New Zealand pavlova recipe with us. If you surf around the web you’ll find hundreds of palova recipes, however, Jilly’s includes a few secret ingredients such as vinegar and cornstarch to help the egg whites set. There’s also a surprise under the whipped cream too!

Jilly’s Pavola Recipe


3 egg whites

3 tablespoons of ice cold water

1 cup of castor sugar (a very fine sugar)

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

3 teaspoons of cornstarch

Whipped cream – home made is always best

Seasonale berries and fruit


Preheat oven to 150C (250-300F)

Beat egg whites until stiff

Add cold water and beat again. SLOWLY

Add the castor sugar while beating

Slow beater again and add vinegar, vanilla and cornstarch

Make a mound of the mixture on cooking paper (parchment paper) on a cookie sheet

Bake at 150C (250-300F) for approx. 45 minutes

Leave to cool in the oven.

Sometimes I do sometimes not. Experiment tis the only way!

It should be crunchy on the outside, have light brown tinges and a marshmallow consistency inside.

 Assembling The Pavolva

When assembling for chomping, a jar of Passion Fruit pulp (I found this in the local supermarket in Atlanta) spread over before topping with generous amounts of whipped cream is great. Any fresh fruit either on top, alongside as a side dish fine. Strawberries yum!

 Jilly’s Notes

Have fun! The Pavlova has no taste really … you can add anything. Just show off a tad … invent your own taste and shape!

Author: Toby Bloomberg

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