Berry Christmas Pavlova

I LOVE Christmas! Don’t you? Nothing celebrates happy holidays in Australia like Pavlova. Mind you, while I could definitely do without the claustrophobic shopping crowds, I do enjoy the pre-Christmas get-togethers with good friends, secret Santa and family holidays on the coast each year.

One of my most cherished Christmas traditions is held with my Grandma Doris each year. After my grandad passed away in 2004, I began taking Grandma to midnight mass (she used to go with Grandad). Mass is always preceded by Grandma and I watching ‘Carols by Candle Light’ on TV and then we head over the church at around 11pm. It’s my one- time Church gig per year outside of weddings, christenings and funerals. It makes Grandma really happy and I know if I didn’t drive her, she wouldn’t go so I’m pleased to do this little gesture for her each year.

The following morning, Grandma lets me sleep in but she’s up at 6am to put the turkey on then goes back to bed for a little nap. A bit later on, we load up the car with all of her presents, the dog and the turkey and head to my parents place for a large family lunch of which I am Head Chef.

Lunch usually consists of turkey, pork, ham and baked vegetables with gravy followed by Grandma’s Christmas pudding for dessert. After lunch, we gather around the tree and dad has gift- giver duties. My little niece and nephew get excited for the first 10 minutes then present opening fatigue sets in without fail! Me personally, I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of opening presents so the more the merrier!

For my Christmas post this year I had planned to road test and photograph the secret family Christmas Pudding recipe, of which I’m reliably told, I am at least the 5th generation to make. However, the family custodians of the recipe kindly let me know it was for family eyes only when it was (most gratefully) passed on to me. So, in honouring the great responsibility of the family pudding secrets unfortunately I’m not able to share the recipe with you on this blog (though you can see my first spectacular fail attempt here). But! You do get an awesome Christmas pavlova instead, lucky reader!

The following recipe for pavlova and coulis is adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s master pavlova recipe and made to look like a door wreath. I have to admit, Ive made this a few times and the meringue below is my most successful attempt to date.

Out of trial and error, my tips for successful pavlova are;

  1. Make sure egg whites are at room temperature  – not straight from the fridge – it makes it hard to whip to right consistency
  2. Add ingredients to meringue in small amounts and consistently as per recipe
  3. Do not open oven while pavlova is baking
  4. Do not take pavlova physically out of oven until completely cool
Even if you have a mini disaster with this, the beauty of Pavlova is that you can cover it up with lashings of fresh cream and your guests will be none the wiser!
Merry Christmas!
xo

 

Pavlova

Happy Eating!

Gill xo

Berry Christmas Pavlova

(Adapted from Stephanie Alexanders master pavlova and coulis recipes)

 

Ingredients

Pavlova

  1. 4 eggs whites (at room temperature)
  2. Pinch of salt
  3. 250g castor sugar
  4. 2 tsp of cornflour (sifted)
  5. 1 tsp white wine vinegar
Raspberry Coulis
  1. 125g fresh raspberries
  2. Juice 1/2 lemon
  3. 1/4 cup castor sugar
  4. 1/2 tsp of brandy (optional)
Topping
  1. 300ml fresh cream – whipped
  2. 1 x pomegrante
  3. Raspberries, cherries and strawberries to decorate
  4. Bunch of holly or fresh mint

 

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 120C. Line a tray with baking paper. Use a round baking tin to draw one large circle (22cm) then draw another circle inside it approximately 13cm wide.
  2. Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar, a little at time until meringue is stiff and shiny.  Sprinkle over sifted cornflour, vinegar and fold in lightly.You should be able to up end the bowl at this stage with no fear of anything coming out.
  3. Grab a dessert spoon and scoop a dollop of meringue. Place this dollop between the outside and inside line. Repeat until a ring of meringue is complete. Create a second layer of meringue on top of the first until second ring is complete. Flatten the top by smoothing the meringue.
  4. Place meringue in oven for 2 hours at 120C. When time is complete, turn off the oven and leave meringue in the oven until completely cool. This is very important as there will be less risk of the meringue cracking and collapsing.
  5. When cool, spread with whipped cream, drizzle on raspberry coulis then decorate with cherries, pomegranates, strawberries, raspberries and holly or mint.

Raspberry Coulis

  1. Blend fresh raspberries, lemon juice and sugar together until sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside until required.
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Comments

  1. says

    Hey Gill, this looks so glam and stunning, Vogue Living here you come! I’ve tried various combos of meringue toppings in recent years and this looks like a perfect Christmas show stopper. Have a wonderful Christmas with your family and in particular your Grandma Doris :) xx

  2. says

    This is so beautiful! I’ve never had a Pavlova and am eager to try it. I saw this and immediately knew that it would be perfect for my 25th Anniversary next year in December 2014. How do you serve it? Do you cut it with a knife?

    • Mandy says

      Yes, you just cut it with a knife and then I’d use a cake server or spatula to serve the slices. I’m making this for a pre-Christmas family event this weekend & I’m so looking forward to it.

    • gsaxon says

      Hi Joanne – thanks so much :) Looks great on the xmas table! You might also like my Xmas in July post for some extra xmassy theming :)

  3. says

    I live in the UK now but originally an Aussie, just made this yesterday for my parents in law over from Germany, sadly no cherries, you can get them here this time of year but they taste of tyre rubber!

    The wreath makes the cooking so much more even, fantastic idea, thanks so much for sharing!

  4. says

    Hi!
    Your recipe looks spectacular. I was wondering, does the ring shape make it less marshmallowy inside, or does it come out more like a meringue? Just curious!

  5. Joan Watts says

    How do you transfer cooled meringue base to serving platter? What can I substitute for pomegranate (in Melbourne at Christmas)- and when do you add the brandy to the coulis – before or after dissolving ingredients? Can’t wait to make this!

    • gsaxon says

      Hi Joan

      I live in Melbourne and pomegranates are available at both large fruit and veg markets over xmas and also Coles supermarket. For a substitute I’d suggest using more of the other red berries. To transfer the meringue I';d suggest you keep it on its baking paper base then slide it onto another plate. If you really want to remove it, I’d gently go round the bottom with a knife then slide a flat plate or tray underneath it. Hope that helps :)

      • Joan Watts says

        Thanks so much. I’m hoping to make this for a Christmas Eve party next week! My neighbor has a pomegranate tree but nothing on it yet. It looks easy enough to make & the step-by-step photos are a BIG help! Wish me luck ….

  6. Stacey says

    Hi,
    This looks absolutely amazing. How long in advance could I make the pav? I have a very busy weekend coming up and I’d love to be able to do it a few days or more in advance.
    Thanks

    • gsaxon says

      Hi Stacey – I’d say you could do it at least 2 days in advance – make sure to keep it in an air tight container as soon as its cooled down and do not put in the fridge as it will go soft. Do not put any topping on the pav until you are ready to serve it. Goodluck!

  7. Kathy Douglass says

    I would like to try this recipe. However, I have no clue about what two ingredients are. What is corn flour and what is castor sugar?

    • gsaxon says

      Hi kathy – sorry Im not sure where youre from but outside Australia and UK, cornflour is also known as “corn starch” in the US and caster sugar is otherwise known as ‘super fine’ sugar (smaller than granulated sugar) – you should be able to find these in the baking section of your supermarket. Hope this helps :)

  8. Halga says

    This looks amazing. I am making it today for an early christmas gathering tomorrow. I am going to add a few drops of green food colouring to the pavlova as my 8 year old has asked for green pavlova and it should end up looking even more christmassy. Hope it works.

  9. Grace says

    I am currently writing down the ingredient for this recipe. i am known as the pavlova queen in my family and i am planning on making this for my family for Christmas! yumo!

  10. says

    Just want to say thank you so much for posting this. I will definitely be making this for the family on Xmas Day and have pinned it to my Pinterest board. Merry Christmas!!!

  11. says

    I am currently cooling the pavlova in the oven, used balsamic vinegar as I thought hmmm with strawberries it would be just a bit more delicious. It was very easy to make and so far looks amazing, can’t wait to try it tomorrow. Thanks so much! I will if you don’t mind re share it on my blog once I do my Christmas post.

  12. Meg says

    Well here it goes. I’ve made my circle too big but it will hopefully still taste great for tomorrow. Thank goodness pavlovas are forgiving! Just add more cream and berries. Merry Christmas :)

  13. Sissee says

    Beautiful, beautiful! Thank you and the family for such a lovely recipe with instructions! Hugs, Sissee in Wisconsin, USA

    • By Gillian says

      That’s a hard question becky :) It tastes sweet but takes on the flavour of the fresh cream and whatever you top that with.

  14. Helen says

    Hi there……..awesome looking pav :). Could I please ask (having never made one before) can this be prepared in advance ie, add all the fruit etc if we were taking to family on Christmas Day?? Or would it go soggy. Thank you

    • By Gillian says

      HI there Helen,
      Yes you can dress the pav before you go however, I’d recommend doing this 5-10 minutes before you go then popping it into the fridge when you get there.

  15. Vanessa says

    Hi

    Ive decided I’m making this delicious looking thing for Christmas. I have never made a pavlova before. Should I do a trial run first or are they fairly straight forward? Secondly, is the base freezable??

    • By Gillian says

      Hi there Vanessa – a pav is pretty straight forward but it wouldnt hurt to do a trial run as all ovens are different. The hardest part if whipping the meringue and making sure its stiff enough. The great thing about Pav is that if you mess up, you can cover it all with whipped cream! No the base isnt freezable – a pav needs dry air for storing.

  16. Trish says

    This looks fabulous. If I am taking this to a dinner party should I take the cream and toppings with me and put it together there or can I prepare it 4 hours before we would eat it?

    • By Gillian says

      Hi there Trish – I would suggest whipping the cream and preparing the topping in separate bowls/containers and then assemble it when you get there. If its hot, it can melt a bit after a while. Likewise, the fruit can “bleed” if its been sitting on the cream for an extended time. Hope this helps :)

  17. Sue says

    Hi this looks just beautiful and I want to try it this Christmas. As my oven is very dodgy and only works well on the fan forced function , would I cook it 100 degrees ?

    • By Gillian says

      Hi there Sue – every oven is different but I would cook the pav at the lowest your oven will go and then keep an eye on it – but without opening the oven! Good luck!

  18. Carol says

    I’m in Illinois, USA, and wondering if this is same as meringue cookies? If so our market sells mint flavored meringue cookies. Would that be a possible addition? Can you guess how much extract I should put in and when? Also on the superfine sugar, would powder sugar work or is there something in between that and refined sugar? My father was from England and I’ve got several recipes calling for castor sugar and never knew what to use. Love your photos and this dessert! Definately giving it a try!

    • By Gillian says

      I there Carol – I’ve never seen meringue cookies – at least not here in Australia – maybe you could ask your market shop assistant?

    • By Gillian says

      Hi Jenny – Pav is crispy on the outside and chewy and sweet on the inside – it will take on the flavour of whatever you put on the topping. Go on try it!!

  19. Carol says

    Hi there, can this be made a day or two in advance( without cream and fruit of course)
    Would like to make it on the 23rd dec for Christmas Day
    Cheers :))

  20. Megan says

    I can not wait to try this in just 11 sleeps- I will be making it Christmas eve for the big day! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe :-) Merry Christmas to all X

    • By Gillian says

      Hi Joan – though I havent tried this, you could try using the round mould of a spring form cake tin (no bottom attached) – you would probably need to line it with baking paper to ensure the pav doesnt stick to the edges. Good Luck!

  21. Leslie says

    hi I just made this and cooled very well and can’t move it or do anything with it and falling apart , followed everything , so just wondering what I did wrong ?

    • By Gillian says

      Hi Leslie – it can be a few things – perhaps the oven was too hot, the whites were not whipped enough, humidity – its hard to say. Sometimes it doesnt work out for me either! More often than not, the oven is the culprit rather than maker. You might need to experiment to get the right balance. Good Luck!

    • Julie says

      Did you cook the pavlova on baking paper/parchment? Was the mix firm or runny? Mixing bowl? Was the pavlova left in the oven (door closed) preferably overnight to cool? Gas or electric oven? Was it a wet or dry day?
      – baking paper/parchment is important as non-stick trays are not successful with pavlova
      – rule of thumb is whisk egg whites using a electric mixer for no more that 10 minutes from the time mixer is turned on at high speed, any longer air will escape the mixture
      – Ideally glass or stainless steel mixing bowl, plastic or similar won’t work
      – Pavlovas need to be cooled completely as they continue to dry in the residual heat of the oven after heat turned off … thicker, crunchier shell
      – Damp or humid environment/conditions keep the crust ‘sticky’ to touch but pavlova should still retain a good degree of crunch … if so, store in a ‘dry’ area like a hot water cupboard until required

  22. Ghada says

    Hi Gillian.
    it looks great!
    Can I add the cream and put in the fridge few hours before serving and add the sauce and the fruits before serving? thanks and have a blessed and Merry Christmas

    • By Gillian says

      Hi Ghada – I would suggest whipping the cream and leaving it in the bowl until the pav is ready to serve – sometimes the moisture in the fridge can make the pav crust start to go soft so I suggest leaving at rooom temp in an air tight container then topping it with cream later.

  23. Cheryl says

    Gillian, this pav looks amazing – thank you for sharing. I have never made a pav before and I am going to give this a go for xmas day. My only concern is the oven temp. You say 120 degrees – is that fan forced?

  24. Alice says

    This is beautiful! I want to make this for Christmas as well, but was wondering if I corn flour was the same thing as corn starch in this recipe?

    • By Gillian says

      Hi Alice – corn flour and cornstarch are a little different from each other. Cornflour is traditionally used to flavour baked goods as well as working as a stabiliser. It is also gluten free and sometimes used as a thickener for sauces. Cornstarch is processed in a different way from grain and contains gluten. It is primarily used a thickener. From looking at recipes some other people have used either. I should imagine it produces the same result somewhat however it wont be suitable for any guests with gluten intolerances. Hope that helps.

  25. Mariana says

    Hello, I tried doing this recipe putting white sugar on the blender until it had super small fine crystals (not to the point of being only powder) and when I took it out of the oven and tried it it was super sticky on the inside and in some parts almost liquid-y, is this normal? I didn’t use corn flour but gluten free flour and didn’t add vinegar. I know it is supposed to be chewy but sticky too? it sticks really bad to my teeth.

    • By Gillian says

      Hi there Mariana – I suspect that this might have something to do with using gluten free flour – if its the kind you use for cakes and such it wouldnt be suitable to make a pav with – did you know that cornflour is actually gluten free? (Cornstarch is NOT gluten free). The crust is supposed to be crispy not sticky – this is probably due to the wrong type of flour used and potentially the egg whites not being whipped enough as this caused the pav to ‘weep’from the sugar that has not been mixed in properly.

  26. Angela says

    Hi there
    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It has just been shared around colleagues at my work place in Auckland via facebook. I know a few of us are making it for Xmas day.
    Have a great Christmas!

  27. Rancherslady says

    Hi there, to all my fellow North Americans who have never heard of/tried pavlova…. Trust me I have an Aussie friend who makes it and it’s fabulous!!! I was searching for a pav recipe on pintress and found this one. This is going on my Christmas table!! It’s so light and delicious after a big meal.

  28. Katherine says

    Hello! Lovely looking pavlova! Looks very good and I will be making it for Christmas. I was just wondering if you let it cool overnight in the oven or did you make in the morning and serve it at night? About how long does it take for it to cool?

  29. Alba says

    Hi there Gillian! Lovely recipe, can’t wait to try it. I just have one concern: I don’t have an electric mixer, would it be possible to beat the egg whites with a hand mixer?
    Thank you. Greetings from Spain! Merry Xmas!
    Alba.

  30. says

    Have just made the pav, actually made 2 at once as have large family gathering, has come out perfect!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration

  31. Ellen says

    Just want to say thank you! I made this for Xmas Dinner 2014 – it was beautiful and got rave reviews. Being from the NW USA (Portland OR), it’s not possible to get cherries this time of year so I subbed a few frozen blueberries and used additional strawberries & raspberries. Also drizzled with a Creme Anglais flavored with Armagnac. Thanks!

  32. Caroline says

    Hi there, Just wanted to let you know I made this on Christmas Day and it wowed the crowds. It looked and tasted fantastic. I used mint for the green and it gave it a great flavour and I used blackcurrants instead of pomegranate which really added to the wreath effect. Thanks so much, this will become an annual Xmas dish of mine.

  33. Hannah says

    I, too, made this for Christmas. I was a bit nervous as I haven’t made pav in ages, but your instructions and tips were so clear and it came out perfectly. I was ridiculously proud of it. Thank you – the whole thing was demolished in minutes and my friends have already requested a repeat performance.

  34. says

    Even though I’m from the States, I always did English Trifle for Christmas — but since going GF I lacked a “go-to” that *I* could eat. :( THIS looks like it will be even better! Thank you SO much for sharing.

    I’ve never made a “pav” (as you call it), but I have eaten them in restaurants and always wondered how difficult they would be to make at home. You make it sound easy enough to give it a try for my Twelfth Night party.

    How bad could it turn out, right? Even if I end up with problems, with enough whipped cream and fruit, who’s gonna’ know? Yours looks gorgeous. Happy/Merry EVERYTHING.

    xx,
    mgh

  35. Claire says

    This recipe was fabulous ! The perfect dessert after a holiday meal – not too sweet, light and refreshing. A couple of tips: I didn’t plan my circle/serving plate carefully and the plate was just barely bigger,oopps!! I buttered the parchment paper for easy removal; I added a little litchi liqueur to the whipped cream (idea from first pav I made) Thanks so much for the recipe and I’ll definitely do it again! Sorry I can’t show you my picture..

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