January 09

Nanna’s Pavlova

We are now counting down the days to Australia Day, and for me it can’t be celebrated without a few family favourites. Over the next few weeks I will focus on the foods we usually make and eat around and on Australia Day.

This week, as at a request from my kids to eat some during the school holidays, I’ll focus on pavlova aka the pav. We all have our favourite pavlova but my nanna’s pavlova recipe to me is the best recipe. It’s only a small pavlova compared to some, but the taste is amazing and it’s all chewy and crunchy. To me it’s all about the chewy and crunchy meringue. That’s where I’m at! I also love that it only calls for 1 egg.

I have lots of childhood memories of my mum pulling out a very old cookbook and making this pavlova. When we had family parties, she would make an assembly line of them – they would line the kitchen and in those days the top of the washing machine (covered of course!). We would have them with piles of whipped cream, passionfruit, strawberries, bananas and sprinkled with a Cadbury’s Flake chocolate bar. If we were lucky, mum would leave a little bit leftover as a sneaky treat.

Before I go any further I can hear your thoughts….piles of whipped cream…ergh…isn’t she dairy free….does she seriously eat it? Yes, but no. I use coconut cream. I whipping coconut cream, keep it in the fridge at least a day, then whip it like you would cow’s cream (see the last photo in this post). My kids prefer regular cow’s milk cream on their pavlova’s so sometimes I do have to make 2 pavlova’s.

I have of course edited my nanna’s original recipe as it required brown malt vinegar. We all know that malt is made from barley = gluten. I just use white vinegar instead. I also use raw caster sugar as I like the colour when it’s cooked and love the flavour of it. It’s also really yummy with white caster sugar.

I use a mix-master, so the timings are less than a hand-held beater. If you use a hand-held beater then beat for approximately 15 minutes rather than the 5 minutes in the following recipe.

The only trick to this recipe is that the water must be boiling ie straight from the kettle/jug. I also prefer using an egg that is cold from the fridge. However, you can also use an egg that is at room temperature. The cold egg will make more meringue. The room temperature egg is more chewy. To see the difference between a pavlova using a room temperature egg (left side of photo) to a cold egg (right side of photo) see the below picture.

Pavlova’s also melt on hot days, so it’s best to make them on the day and keep them as cool as possible (without putting them in the fridge).

As a final note before the recipe, we all know that Pavlova’s are not the prettiest looking or the neatest of sweets to eat, but what they lack on looks, they certainly make up on TASTE. The photo in the below recipe was taken of a pavlova using a room temperature egg

Nanna’s Pavlova

Prep time Cook time Total time
10 mins 45 mins 55 mins

Author: Tracey Francis of Essential Olie


  • 1 cup Raw Caster Sugar or Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg White
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract (I use Chef’s Choice Alcohol Free extract)
  • 2 Tablespoons Boiling Water
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder


  1. Line the base of a round springform cake tin (approximately 23cm) with foil – only use the base of the tin
  2. Beat raw caster sugar, egg white, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract for 2 minutes
  3. Add boiling water
  4. Beat for 5 minutes
  5. Fold in baking powder with a mixing spoon
  6. Spoon onto the centre of the prepared cake tin base and work towards edges so that you have raised edges (well to dollop toppings into when cooled). Make sure you leave approximately a 2cm gap from the edge otherwise it might expand over the edges of the tin
  7. Cook for 45 minutes at 120°C (fan forced)*
  8. Allow to cool before adding toppings


* If making smaller meringues then either dollop spoonfuls to the size you would like, or, put mixture into a piping or ziplock or freezer bag to pipe the size onto a large baking tray lined with foil. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or less depending on the size of the meringues.

You can top your pavlova with whatever fruit you like. We sometimes use vanilla yogurt (cow’s or coconut) with frozen mixed berries as the slight sourness of the yogurt (we buy either Five.am organic vanilla yogurt or Aldi organic vanilla yogurt). Cream (either cow’s or coconut) with mixed berries is also good or just cream with dark chocolate flakes. But, our all time favourite is the following layered on the merginue base in the following order:

500ml Cream – whipped
Pulp from 2 Passionfruit
1/2 punnet Strawberries cut in halves, quarters or slices
1/2 banana sliced
1 Tablespoon of flaked dark chocolate – we buy Plamil’s luxury 70% Organic chocolate flakes (dairy free) – this is alot of chocolate but it’s how my family rolls.

You can of course put on as much fruit and chocolate as you like!

This recipe also makes a scrumptious Eton Mess!! Which of course when you serve the pavlova it sometimes ends up looking like an Eton Mess, but boy oh boy it tastes good still and if not even better.

It’s also delicious the next day. Just not for breakfast, Poppy Francis!

Pavlova with whipped coconut cream

300g Thickened Coconut Cream – whipped
Pulp from 2 Passionfruit
1/2 punnet Strawberries cut in halves, quarters or slices
1/2 banana sliced
Sprinkle from 1 teaspoon of flaked dark chocolate (see above) – I don’t like as much chocolate as my family

The photo above was taken of a pavlova using a cold egg straight from the fridge.

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