Bev’s Never-fail Pavlova

There’s plenty of things I’m no good at in the kitchen. Pastry. I have recently had a dream, actually a QUEST where Maggie Beer came to me in my dreams to get me to make a rough puff, but that’s an entirely different story. And Pavs. And lots of other things. But Pavlova for sure. I just haven’t been able to get it right. This weekend (this afternoon in fact) we are up in Sydney for a couple of Christmas gatherings and 1st birthday parties, and I was asked to bring dessert. So I thought I would conquer my pav fear….I have curd, I had visions of pav with curd and cream and raspberries…it was TIME. So I turned to my bible: the CWA Classics to see what they had to say about it.


And what do you know? The recipe is from Beverley (of course it is) from the Central Coast Branch in Tasmania. Bev, let’s do this.

Beverley Lee’s Never-fail Pavlova

4 egg whites
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch salt
5 tablespoons boiling water
1 good teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence


So what are the tricks for a good pav? The wind blowing easterly? The eggs being room temperature? I’m sure there are a thousand, none of which I know!

1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 200 degrees

2. Line a baking tray with baking paper. I have seen a good trick with pavs before where you draw the outline of a round cake tin with pencil on the underside of the baking parchment paper then flip it over so have a guide for placing the meringue on

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3. Place the egg whites, cornflour and sugar into a large bowl with a pinch of salt and the boiling water. Beat on high until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture holds its shape well (this took me about 4 minutes on my mixer). Halfway through (2 or so minutes) add the vinegar and vanilla essence.

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Another trick I’ve seen is to add a few dabs of the meringue to the under side of the baking paper to hold it into place whilst it’s cooking.

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4. Pile the mixure onto the prepared tray using a spatula to mould the mixture

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5. Place it into the preheated oven, close the door,  and turn the oven down to one stroke below 150 degrees and bake for 1 hour. As every oven varies if the colour starts to tinge, turn the temp down a little


Neighbour tells me that the best thing to do after it’s cooked is to turn the oven off and leave the pav in there to cool down, and there are probably a few variations on this, I did as I was told (leaving it in the oven to cool) Beverley says to turn it out onto a hot pav plate (I have NO idea what this even is?! A hot plate? A Pav plate? WHAT IS IT BEV?)

The pav can keep for  a few days before being decorated and Bev reckons the the best topping is whipped cream, sliced banana and black passionfruit.


Me? Well I’m going with whipped cream and lemon curd and berries. Because: LEMON CURD. I’ve seen some wonderful pavs in the shape of a Christmas wreath…piled with berries and mint leaves…how festive is THAT?

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Whatever you choose with your topping, go hard and go well friends.

Tell me what are your pav tips?
What’s the best topping?
Where have I been going wrong in the past?


  1. LOL! you know that i’m coveting your pav bev!
    my mother was queen of the pav and we had one at every celebration even if it wasn’t the main event!!! hellooo!
    so 13 yrs ago that finished and my sister and I have never tried to replicate! but i’m on the desert train/trail! … thinking eaton mess or pav … albeit supermarket! … I know! pathetic!
    my sister is the sweets cook, but I could have a go! not today as going to be 40 here or more!
    anyhoo! thanks for this informative post hun! i’ll have it at the ready if I commit to it!
    big hug! m:)X

  2. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Yum I might make this thank you Beth Xx

  3. I second the leave the oven door ajar method of cooling Beth.
    Pav can be such a fickle thing. Last year I wrote a post with my top pav tips, it went bonkers in the lead up to Australia Day! 🙂

  4. Pile it high Bev, pile it high! My Ma is a Master Pav maker and I have her Pav making instructions that she wrote out for me pasted into my recipe book, complete with a little picture of a Pav piled just so. She beats the egg whites and cold water first then adds the sugar about 1/4 a cup at a time and beats until sugar is dissolved. A dash of malt vinegar, vanilla and the cornflour at the end and you’re done. Then pile it high and it spreads as it cooks. She’s a fan of leaving it in the oven to cool too.

    Caro’s Mum’s Pav Recipe
    3 egg whites
    3T water
    1t malt vinegar
    1t vanilla
    3t cornflour

    Bake at 180 for 20mins then turn down to 120 for an hour.

    If it’s an abject failure then turn it into a roulade!

  5. Gosh all these Beverleys!! In the North West of Tassie twhere I live it is said “never to make a pav in an easterly” and that is what we have today! Make a triffle instead. Apparently egg whites won’t beat up in an Easterly!! I often make small pavs – little individual desserts. Have a wonderful Christmas Beth Xx

  6. This must be a good recipe as it’s almost identical to my late Nana’s… Which she wrote out for me in her beautiful cursive handwriting on her personalized note paper, when she was on her 90’s! Enjoy your pav… I am totally going to try the raspberry and lemon curd topping… Sounds divine!

  7. Love CWA!! My bestie is a lifetime member as her Nan is pretty heavily involved in the hunter valley. Your pav looks fab! Bev would be proud.
    Today I am attempting a vegan meringue!!! Wish me luck. X

  8. Jenny McMahon says

    Try using raw castor sugar – it won’t look pristine white, more a slightly pale caramel colour, but is more delicious, esp that little bit of liquid ooze that weeps out, will be like caramel (but not too caramel, just a hint. a slightly richer taste to the pav, and raw castor sugar great for jams, too. Twas an accidental discovery one day when shops had run out of regular, and i thought “why not?” Bingo!

  9. That looks freaking delicious! I want to make a pav now. I have the CWA Bible so may just have to give it my best shot, with lemon curd of course!!!

  10. Stephanie Alexander reckons that you turn it upside down after cooking and put your cream etc on what was the bottom but is now the top. Makes it all meld together into a gorgeous goo.

  11. My go-to pav recipe is Nigella’s chocolate pav with raspberries. My darling daughter requested it as her birthday cake when she was about 4 – on the photo alone – so I made it. It does the rounds here every so often and is delicious. Oh, and the then 4 year old realised that she didn’t really like pavlova or raspberries at that time! Bless her! I think she’d like it now!

    • I’ve heard very good things about that pav – must give it a try!

      • Helen Dawes says

        Yes I love that one too. For my nieces birthday I made two choc pavs and sandwiched them together with whipped cream. Then more …. ahem… cream on top and blueberries and strawbs and shaved choc. Decadent but divine.

  12. I did leave the oven door ajar but the top fell in while it was cooling. It looked so good up until then. Not sure what I did wrong. I used your receipe but you obviously have perfected it to a T. Great job!

  13. I slightly warm my sugar in the oven prior to adding it to the already whipped (but not completely whipped) egg white. Read this somewhere and it created the best pav I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Uh-huh.

  14. Love a good pav but have never been able to get it to stay lovely white -always gets a little colour on it. Which doesn’t affect the taste of course, but still. Pav definitely on the agenda for Christmas day around here. Will be working with the classics I think – mango and banana.

  15. The directions on the Pav egg I brought home from my trip down under said to make an concave indentation in the egg white mixture…to hold the cream. This one seems to be more rounded. Or does it matter? Is corn flour the same as corn starch? I made homemade lemon curd today and have a ton of egg whites left…this would really be a good way to use them up!

  16. Oh Bev. I do a mean pav. It’s my thing.
    Christmas Eve – I whipped one up and had it cook whilst I did ALL of the last minute wrapping. Then I turned off the oven and left it to cool overnight.
    Christmas morning, in all the excitement – I turned the over on for the ham and FORGOT ABOUT THE PAV!
    So. We had brown pav. Worst Christmas ever. ?

  17. We were invited to a friends place for lunch just before xmas. I warned them about my 5 yo (he has down syndrome and can be explosive in the wink of an eye). Anyway, all was going well, we were coping, he was coping. My friend brought the pav and chopped fruit and cream out to the table. Something happened and my little fella had an explosion and threw two harmonicas onto the table, right bang smack in the middle. Two wine glasses shattered all over the fruit (he has amazing aim without even trying).
    My only comment was. ‘thank goodness the pavlova is OK’
    We all stayed calm, cleaned up and ate pavlova!

    I have a fear of cooking pavlova too, so you have inspired me, I just might give it a go.

  18. So I made this pav last night at my inlaws house for a big family get together… Straying from my usual Bill
    Granger recipe I was skeptical, especially with so many ingredients going in pre-whipping the whites!

    BUT! Beverley Lee knows her stuff! It was the best pav I’ve ever made and got rave reviews from everyone. I even got asked for the recipe by a legit baker!

    Naturally I directed her here – so yay, and thank you!


  19. I have been requested by my soon to be (tomorrow in fact) 6 year old… she wants a pav with berries and cream for her birthday cake… so glad I found you, Beth… this sounds awesome!

  20. I cannot make pavlova! I have followed different recipes this morning including yours and they won’t work for me!!!! Got the whites into soft peaks for the first and second tries; but when I added the sugar it all went to liquid. When I tried your recipe, the eggs whites never rose at all. I give up!!! So much for my plans for beautiful peach pavlova for my dinner party tonight. On to plan B.

  21. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Yum,glad you e conquered the pav Beth I loved the wreath shape Xx

  22. Margaret-Ann Kemp says

    Well what do you know , we think alike on so many issues , yesterday I tackled the rough puff pastry ,it now in the freezer waiting to make an appearance on Xmas eve . The pavlova is next !

  23. I have the atcual book and I’m in love with making recipes from the book but I can’t find the pavlova! Oh no! What page is it on?

  24. I have made this recipe 4 times in the last fortnight- absolutely fail safe! And I top it with your lemon curd. Thanks so much.


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