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 In the late '90's  my husband's parents were running a guest home in South Africa under SIM (Sudan Interior Mission) They invited us as a family to come and stay with them for 3 weeks over the Christmas holidays. It was there that I first tasted this billowy cloud of delicate crusted marshmallowy goodness. There is really no other way to describe it. It was a recipe mom had gotten from her friend in South Africa.
  • 5 egg whites, at room temperature (6 if small eggs)
  • 1 scant cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp corn starch (or cornflour) 
  1. Beat egg whites until very dry and stiff.
  2. Gradually beat in sugar. Beat well so that crystals dissolve.
  3. Beat in remaining 3 ingredients.
  4. Place a sheet of tin foil onto a baking sheet, shiny side up. 
  5. Very lightly spray tin foil with non stick spray. 
  6. Scoop thick egg white batter onto the centre of the foil. Gently spread it out into a circle anywhere from 10-12". I like to use the back of a spoon to create a 'bumpy edge' rather than smoothing it all out. I like the look of it once it's baked that way.
  7. THESE BAKING INSTRUCTIONS ARE VERY IMPORTANT...AND NOT WRONG INSTRUCTIONS. Pre heat oven to 450º. Once oven is hot, place pavlova in oven and count to 20 SECONDS. After 20 seconds turn your oven off. DO NOT open the oven door for at least 4 hours. It has to be completely cool. You will be able to smell the pavlova baking during those first 20 seconds, but don't's not going to burn and it will be perfectly baked when you take it out. 
  8. Once it is done the pavlova will be very delicate to handle. Carefully slide it off the foil onto the plate you will be serving it on. If you are going to be serving it later in the day, cover completely in an airtight container or with plastic wrap. 
  9. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and some pudding if you like that addition. Then add lots of fresh fruit. 
The difference between pavlova and meringue is that a meringue is usually crispy throughout and a pavlova is crispy on the outside and has a soft marshmallow like texture on the inside. Meringues are generally only made from egg whites and sugar. It's the addition of the other ingredients that give pavlova the soft centre. 

Another suggestion is to break up the meringue shell and make individual pavlova trifles. 


  1. Looks good! Where are your bowls from that feature your individual pavlova's? Love those!

    1. The bowls are actually shrimp cocktail bowls. I got them as a gift years ago. They are actually two bowls. The bottom one can hold ice or coloured water and then you put whatever you are serving in the top bowl. I use the top bowl on it's own quite often, but like the look of doubling them up.

    2. Thanks for the response Kathy! I will be on the lookout for some to add to my growing collection!

  2. I agree - looks good...and would also like to know where the pretty bowls are from!

  3. Kathy - you are the best!!! I have been wanting to try this and your recipe looks like a winner!

  4. shirley bertheletteJune 11, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Kathy --I can only say one thing--WOW...

  5. How interesting that you got the recipe in South Africa because we here (in Australia) believe that this is an Australian dessert...

    The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.[1]

    The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes

    1. Hi Celia, I had read the story of how this dessert was created in honour of the dancer, and also know that pavlova is a very popular dessert in Australia and New Zealand. Recipes travel from country to country. We also have a cousin who married an Australian gal who makes wonderful pavlova. Her recipe is very similar, but the baking instructions are a bit different than this one. Always enjoy hearing from our readers.

    2. I'm Australian and we often eat this at Christmas , a favourite dessert:)))

  6. Would I be able to make it a day or two ahead? Or must it be served immediately?


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