Pavlova zen and my hive

With a trio of family birthdays to celebrate, the house was packed to the rafters. Fizzy wine bottles were popping and we all talked over each other (nothing new there). We began the evening by chowing down on a selection of Bruny Island Cheese Co cheeses and some fat, salty olives.

At one point I was in another room in the house, collecting something or other.
I managed to stop and still myself (not an easy task) and listen to the hubbub. It was a loud and happy buzz, which made me think. This is my hive, my source of happiness. It’s not always harmonious (we ain’t a cult for goodness sakes) but even when our voices are raised in gleeful disagreement, there is no better sound.

To help celebrate three birthdays there were fittingly, three desserts. The pavlova, Sister 2’s amazeballs baked cheesecake and some decadently iced chocolate cupcakes.

The Yak adores pavlova and it is a super gluten free dessert. This rather large version is as light as a unicorns tinkle and as fluffy as a fairy tutu. It has a crisp outer shell and a marshmallow interior that is synonymous with a good pavlova. (Well, that’s how we like them here, feel free to disagree.) My very favourite fruit to accompany this dessert is that somewhat saucy, acidic passionfruit. This crazy fruit brings a wonderful acidic zing that perfectly counterbalances the sugary hit of the pav.

I pride myself on my meringue skill. (This is up there with my other useful talent of attracting the attention of random crazy strangers in the street.) You may have heard this all before but for what it’s worth, here are my top meringue tips.

1. Don’t use new eggs, older egg white works better.
2. Bring the eggs to room temperature.
3. Make sure your bowl (stainless steel or glass) is very clean and totally dry. Water is your enemy at this point.
4. No egg yolk in your whites.
5. Beat your eggs to a stiff peak before adding the sugar, always add that pinch of salt first.
6. Add your sugar slowly, then beat until the sugar is dissolved and no longer gritty. Do not rush this process. You will not regret this, this is the Zen of Pavlova. Patience is a virtue when it comes to meringue. This is not a job you can rush if you want to achieve that stiff, white glossy goop that is synonymous with this much beloved dessert.


6 egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 cups caster sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste or essence
1 tbl cornflour
2 tsp vinegar

Heat the oven to 180C.
Place baking paper on a large tray and draw a 22 cm circle for a flatter pavlova or a 20cm circle for a taller version. (It will spread a little.) Turn the paper pencil side down on the baking tray.
Beat the egg whites and pinch of salt with an electric beater on low until they stand in firm peaks.
Keep beating the egg white on low adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Once all of the sugar is added, continue beating on a medium speed until the meringue is no longer gritty to the touch. This takes about 5 minutes or so.
Fold through the vanilla, cornflour and vinegar.
Spread the mixture with a large spoon onto the prepared tray and place in the oven. Drop temperature down to 130 (120 fan forced) and bake for one hour. Rotate every 20 minutes to ensure even baking and colouring.
Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the pavlova cool down in the oven.
Expect cracks on the surface and the pavlova may collapse a little as it cools, don’t panic, this is all ok.
Topped with whipped cream and your favourite fruit. Think passionfruit, strawberries, mangoes, nectarines, peaches and kiwi fruit. Use one fruit or make it a fruity salad.

A Cheergerm adaptation based on a crazy New Zealand teatowel recipe, a Margaret Fulton recipe and an online Annabel Langbein recipe


31 thoughts on “Pavlova zen and my hive

  1. Oh heaven. All my favorite foods. I think I could happily live on cheese, olives and pavlova with fruit πŸ™‚
    I have some “old” eggs in the fridge, very possibly the last ones of the season because the happy chickens stop producing when the days grow short. Highly tempted to try some meringue. My downfall is always being too impatient. Must practice the zen…

    • Ah, if only woman could live on those things alone. ☺️ That patience thing can be struggle for me too as I like to move fast but I immerse myself in the moment, one tablespoon at a time. Those eggs are crying out to be ‘Meringued’. 😁

  2. I would give anything to apparate from my side of the world to yours, Cheergerm, just so I could raid your kitchen. Oh, the treasures!
    The pavlova looks way too good to be true. I’m sure mine will turn out to resemble a defunct hockey puck. But I’ll give it a whirl anyway. And if I were stranded on a deserted island, I would be in pig heaven if I could find a passion fruit tree. Nectar of the greatest gods.
    Happy Birthday to all your exalted celebrants!

    • Thanks for the group birthday wishes Mrs P! I bet any pav you make would turn out beautifully, you are a dab hand in the kitchen yourself. Passion fruit are crazy but so delicious zing zangy with sugary desserts. Feel free to apparate in my kitchen anytime! 😁

  3. Yum, pav must have passionfruit in my opinion, no passionfruit, no pav for me! Your noisy family sounds like my raucous mob, all talking at once, getting louder and louder, no shrinking violets here either!

    • I have got to say Mrs Recipe, it’s hard to imagine loving pav sans passion! Loving hearing you have a similar mob. We are all just making sure we get a word in! Fun times hey? I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  4. You’re such a beautiful woman, do you know that?
    Remarkably beautiful.
    And this here, this makes me feel all sorts of happy inside because I love that you recognized this feeling and I can relate:
    “At one point I was in another room in the house, collecting something or other.
    I managed to stop and still myself (not an easy task) and listen to the hubbub. It was a loud and happy buzz, which made me think. This is my hive, my source of happiness. It’s not always harmonious (we ain’t a cult for goodness sakes) but even when our voices are raised in gleeful disagreement, there is no better sound.”

    • Oh Ms Cake. What a lovely thing to say, got a few tears in my eyes then. I think I feel a kindred spirit in you across the blogosphere as it’s a feeling you have had as well. So much is said about that overused word ‘gratitude’ but I guess that is what I felt that day. Whether our hive is our family, our friends or a mix of both. Of course it can be exhausting just trying to get a word in edgewise when we are all together..😁)

    • Thanks KW! We have a similar problem on really humid days. I stick to getting the sugar (always caster or superfine) as beaten in as possible but the humidity can make it a tad unpredictable.

  5. Amy

    I love standing in another room on Christmas Eve when my whole family is gathered around the table and just realising that we all belong together, and despite our differences there is a lot of love in the room. Dessert for the heart πŸ™‚
    A pavlova talent is an enviable one indeed! My Mum is the pavlova queen in our house, and taught her daughters well πŸ˜‰ There are many sweet tooths in our family!

    • Amen to that! It’s special to stop and acknowledge the love hey? Love how you worded that ‘dessert for the heart’. Glad your mum passed on her pavlova genes and that the pavlova will go on, huzzah!

  6. Love Pavlova, even though I don’t make it much any more. I used to make it for my boys when they were studying. That and those American jelly beans helped them through their senior years.

    • I love it too and like you, as my almost 11 year old boy is exhibiting some pre pubescent behaviour, pavlova just might be of service here for the same reason. Will remember the Jellybeans for later as well!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s