Pavlova: A Light Meringue Nest for the Season’s Best

Pavlova: A Light Meringue Nest for the Season’s Best

  • By Cate Whittington
  • /
  • May 2016-Vol.2 No.5
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During my senior year in high school, my family hosted an exchange student from Australia. Mary introduced us to the meringue-based dessert named for the renowned Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova. For many years, I thought the dessert originated in Australia. However, in searching the Internet, I found that the recipe likely traveled to the United States from Germany. There seems to be no dispute over the continued popularity of this dessert in the Southern hemisphere. Frequently found on Christmas buffets, Pavlova is a refreshing dessert served in the heat of the Australian summer.

When the first strawberries appear on the vine here in Virginia, I begin to dream of pavlova. It is simple and light, a beautiful way to showcase our sweet native berries. The following recipe is courtesy of my adopted sister, Mary Fisher of Sydney.



Serves 8-10



4 egg whites, at room temperature                              ½ teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt                                                                       2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup sugar                                                                         2 cups whipped cream

1-teaspoon white vinegar                                                Sliced strawberries



  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
  • Gradually add sugar, vinegar and vanilla.
  • Sift cornstarch and fold in lightly.
  • Place foil on baking sheet; grease and dust with cornstarch.
  • Heap mixture in a circle onto the foil.
  • Place in oven and reduce heat immediately to 250. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven and leave meringue there to cool completely before opening the door.
  • Once cool, top with whipped cream and sliced fruit.


There are many variations for pavlova. You may flavor the whipped cream or substitute lemon curd for the cream. Kiwi fruit and other berries may be used in addition to or in place of the strawberries. They are all light and delicious!



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