Recipe: Aunty Ida's Pavlova

This dish is always a show stopper and it didn't fail at our annual Rhubarb Xmas feast. Our guest home-chef blogger Gabby put the finishing touches on at the table and we all oo'ed and ahh'ed as the cream, berries and passionfruit were piled up on top. I think you will agree it looks pretty spesh.

And to cook up Gabby's complete 2023 Xmas feast have a squizz at the Potato Salad, Smoked Trout Dip, Torta Caprese and Caponata. Whip them all up and you'll have yourself a serious feast :-)

We also have Last Minute Xmas Cake and Green Salad from Xmas in years gone by.

"What’s Christmas without a pav? Whilst the origins of the pav are hotly debated – latest research suggesting its roots are neither Australian nor Kiwi, nor a tribute to Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, but rather from the USA, via German migrants to the mid-west in the 1850s – what’s not debated is what a scrumptious crowd pleaser it is! In our family, there has only ever been one Pavlova that’s graced every celebration table since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, and that’s the brilliant pav of my legendary Aunty Ida. Just like her, it’s perfect every time. 

- Gabby xx"



Serves: 8-12 people

Preparation time: 20-30 mins (depending on how powerful your mixer is!)
Baking time: 1 hour + cooling time (at least one hour, or overnight if you can)



  • 4  organic eggs – whites only (use up the yolks scrambled eggs, omelettes, frittate or custards)
  • 1 ½  cups organic raw sugar
  • 4 tbspns boiling water
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence
  • 2 tspns corn flour
  • Pinch of Cream of Tartar (‘only if you have it’ according to Aunty Ida, we used it)
  • 1 tspn white or Apple Cider vinegar 

 To serve: 

  • 250 ml whipped cream
  • Berries – one punnet each blueberries, strawberries (hulled and sliced in half), blackberries – or any seasonal fruit, such as peaches, nectarines or cherries.
  • Passionfruit, pulp scooped out  -about 4-6 (depending on size)



  1. Whisk egg whites, vanilla, sugar and boiling water in electric mixer until glossy, white and thick.
  2. Gently fold through cornflour, Cream of Tartar and vinegar. 
  3. Beat until thick and white. Place on tray and bake in hot oven (180°C no fan) for 10 mins. Reduce to very low heat (130°C) and bake for 1 hour, or a big longer depending on your oven. Pav shell should be pale – not golden brown – with a lovely crispy meringue on the outside and a soft marshmallowy centre.
  4. Leave to cool in the oven with door ajar (old ovens do this easily, new ones tend to spring closed! I wedge a wooden spoon in the oven door to keep it open, as advised by Aunty Ida.)
  5. Pav will rise whilst it cooks, then may fall and crack  – don’t be alarmed! It’s all part of its beauty.
  6. Once completely cool, and when you are ready to serve, pile whipped cream on top of the pav, and decorate with fresh berries and passionfruit pulp.

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