Donna Hay: Basics to Brilliance


The Perfect Pavlova

Enjoy this quick and easy Russian-inspired recipe from Donna Hay's Basics to Brilliance.

Ease of Cooking

Method of Cooking

Prep Time
30 minutes

Cooking Time
60 minutes

8 servings



  • The perfect pavlova:
  • 1 x quantity no-fail meringue mixture (see basic recipe)
  • 1½ cups single (pouring) cream
  • Raspberries, passionfruit pulp and sliced peaches, to serve
  • No-fail meringue mixture:
  • 225 millilitres egg white (about 6 eggs)+
  • 1½ cups (330g) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 1½ teaspoons white vinegar


    The perfect pavlova:
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (300°F). Using a pencil, draw a 20cm circle on a sheet of non-stick baking paper. Place the baking paper, pencil-side down, on a lightly greased baking tray+. Spoon the meringue mixture into the circle to make a neat round. Reduce the oven temperature to 120°C (250°F) and bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool completely in the closed oven++.
  2. Place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk until soft peaks form. Place the pavlova on a cake stand or plate and top with the cream, raspberries, passionfruit and peach to serve. Serves 8–10
  1. + Turn the baking paper so it’s pencil-side down on the tray – no marks will transfer onto the meringue.
  2. ++ Allow the meringue to cool gradually in the oven with the door closed – preferably overnight.
    To make no-fail meringue mixture:
  1. Place the eggwhite in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form.
  2. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until each addition is dissolved before adding more++.
  3. Once all the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and whisk for a further 10–15 minutes or until the mixture is thick and glossy+++.
  4. Place the cornflour and vinegar in a small bowl and mix until smooth.
  5. Add the cornflour mixture to the eggwhite mixture and whisk for 30 seconds or until well combined. Makes 1 quantity
  1. + Making meringue is a science. Be sure to measure your ingredients carefully, including the eggwhites as egg sizes do vary. Fresh, room temperature eggs work best – when whisked they’ll become fluffy and voluminous, plus they’re more stable during baking.
  2. ++ Be patient when gradually adding the sugar to the eggwhite. Each tablespoon of sugar should be dissolved before the next is added.
  3. +++ Take care not to overwhisk the meringue mixture – it’s ready when it’s thick, glossy, smooth and there are no more sugar granules. You can check this by rubbing a little mixture between your thumb and forefinger.
  1. It’s best to avoid making meringue on humid days. Excess humidity can cause meringue to sink during or after baking.

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