As the daughter and daughter-in-law of Dutch immigrants, I know a thing or two about sweet treats. Speculaas cookies, boterkoek, oliebollen – the Dutch certainly are passionate about sweet indulgences. But it’s the Australian on my mother’s side that’s responsible for my favourite dessert. I’m talking, of course, about Pavlova – a traditional, Australian dessert consisting of a meringue base topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

For me, Pavlova conjures up childhood memories of my mother whipping egg whites into glossy, polished peaks, then swirling the batter into a perfect circle on a thick piece of paper cut from a brown paper bag. Popped into the oven at a low temp for about an hour, then cooled and topped with whipped cream, passion fruit, kiwi, strawberries… whatever was in season.

After immigrating to Canada in the 1960s, my mom found herself surrounded mostly by Dutch in-laws on my dad’s side. While she certainly embraced Dutch traditions (she learned to make some of the best stroopwafels I’ve ever had), Pavlova remained for her a unique and easy crowd-pleaser. Jaws tended to drop when she placed the dish on the table, a fragile, cloud-like, crisp meringue shell piled high with cream, passion fruit, strawberries and kiwis.

It’s easy to be intimidated by the thought of making Pavlova, but I assure you it isn’t as hard as it looks. In fact, it’s become my go-to dessert when I need to impress, a surprisingly easy dessert that seems to suit everyone, even the gluten-free guest at your table.


Tips for making Pavlova:  Before you begin make sure your mixing bowl is dry. This sounds obvious, but even a tiny bit of water can affect the egg-white whipping process. Make sure your egg whites do not contain any amount of yolk. Your egg whites will nto firm up if there are any traces of yolk. Use fresh eggs rather than egg whites from a carton. It tastes better and yields a much more consistent result.


Author Savour Calgary



  • 4 egg whites (save three of the yolks if making lemon curd)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (250 ml)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5 ml)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (5 ml)
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (10 ml)


  • Preheat oven to 150 C (300 F).
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form (they should be stiff but not dry – about 1 minute).
  • Gradually add the sugar, beating well until you get thick, glossy peaks (about 3 minutes).
  • Add the vanilla, lemon juice and cornstarch and continue to beat until well-combined.
  • Scoop mixture onto the middle of the parchment paper. Working from the centre, shape into an 8-inch circle. Build the edge up slightly.
  • Bake for 50-60 min. The meringue will be cracking slightly on the top and around the edges, but still slightly soft in the middle. Let cool, undisturbed on the cookie sheet. When cool, gently peel off the parchment paper and carefully place on serving platter. Carefully top with lemon curd (if using), whipping cream and fresh fruit.


Dress up Pavlova with an assortment of toppings like fresh flavoured whipped cream, chantilly cream, lemon curd or custard. Top with fresh fruit, compote, icing sugar, fresh herbs or chopped nuts.

Chantilly Cream

Chantilly cream is just a fancy way to describe whipping cream with the addition of vanilla and icing sugar.
Author Savour Calgary


  • 473 ml container whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (3 ml)
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar (30 ml)


  • Blend and whip until soft peaks form.

Lemon Curd

If you’re looking to take your Pavlova to the next level, consider making a lemon curd from the leftover egg yolks. The silky consistency and tart flavour from the curd works perfectly to balance the sweet, gooey, marshmallow texture of the meringue. The result – an elevated (yet easier) version of lemon meringue pie.
Author Savour Calgary


  • 1/2 cup butter (125 ml)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (190 ml)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (125 ml)


  • Melt the butter over low heat. In a mixing bowl, blend sugar, egg yolks, eggs and lemon juice. Pour into melted better and continue to heat over medium to low heat whisking constantly. Don’t stop whisking until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and let cool.

Fresh Fruit and Other Toppings

Think of the meringue base as a canvas for your creativity. The choice of toppings is entirely up to you and the possibilities are endless.
Try fresh berries, passion fruit, cherries, mango, kiwi, or banana. Or consider strawberries, crushed pistachios and chopped mint. Or throw a little bourbon in your whipping cream and pair with grilled peaches when in season.

This recipe is easily transformed into individual-size pavlovas – just divide the meringue into 6 smaller portions with a small indentation in each centre. They tend to be less chewy than the larger pavlova, but equally as tasty.