I LOVE Christmas! Don’t you? Nothing celebrates happy holidays in Australia like Pavlova. Mind you, I could definitely do without the claustrophobic shopping crowds but I do enjoy the pre Christmas get togethers with good friends, secret Santas 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 then we head over the church at around 11pm. Its 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 would never ask and therefore 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 the head chef.

Lunch usually consists of turkey, pork, ham and baked vegetables with gravy followed by Grandmas 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 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!



Happy Eating!

Gill xo

Berry Christmas Pavlova

(Adapted from Stephanie Alexanders master pavlova and coulis recipes)




  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)
  1. 300ml fresh cream – whipped
  2. 1 x pomegrante
  3. Raspberries, cherries and strawberries to decorate
  4. Bunch of holly or fresh mint



  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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76 Responses to Berry Christmas Pavlova

  1. Bea says:

    Ohhh this looks so good, it’s going straight on the must-try Christmas baking list!

  2. Lynzi says:

    Yummmmmo I wan’t that now! x

  3. Tara says:

    This is truly gorgeous and I want some right now!!!

  4. Vanessa 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

  5. lady rice says:

    Beautiful pics Gill, this will definitely be on the to try list! xx

  6. Vanessa Mason says:

    Lovely images!

  7. [...] great for a seasonal weddingcredit mysquarefryingpan [...]

  8. Bellesouth18 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.

  9. G’day! This is a gorgeous pav, true!
    Hope you have a very berry Christmas…share it via FB today too!
    Cheers! Joanne

    • 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 :)

  10. Kathryn says:

    This looks fabulous, but small. How many does it serve?

  11. Kylie 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!

  12. Sarah says:

    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!

  13. 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 ….

  14. Stacey says:

    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.

    • 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!

  15. 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 :)

  16. Min says:

    Do you open the oven door once turned off to cool or leave it shut?

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. Alex 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!!!

  20. 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.

  21. 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 :)

  22. Wendy says:

    Just fabulous!! Perfect recipe, so easy and turned out beautifully! Thanks so much x

  23. Frances says:

    I have made this twice, it looks magnificent and tastes great too.

  24. Sissee says:

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

  25. Becky says:

    What flavor does this have??…never heard of it…. but it looks scrumptious!

    • 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.

  26. 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.

  27. LaDonna Clark says:

    hi, Iv never had anything like this before, how do you eat this? With a cracker?

  28. Vanessa says:


    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.

  29. jenny Larsen says:

    Can I use plain white vinegar ?

  30. 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 :)

  31. Oh my word. I just saw this on Pinterest and it led me to you. I am going to do a blog post about this fantastic looking dish. thank you sooo much for posting this!!!

  32. 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!

  33. 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?

  34. Jenny Layton says:

    This is so pretty! I’ve never had pavlova before. Can you tell me what it is like? I would love to make it but I’m wondering what it will taste like?

    • 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!!

  35. 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 :))

  36. Reena says:

    Hi – please can you advise how many people this serves?

  37. 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

  38. joan says:

    Hi there any suggestions on how to get the pavlova comlpletely round. Thankyou.

    • 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!

  39. 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!

  40. 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.

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