How to make a perfect pavlova

Fig and honeycomb pavlova, Flour and Stone

Fig and honeycomb pavlova, Flour and Stone

Pavlovas seem simple enough, but they reward care and patience. Flour and Stone's Nadine Ingram whisks us through the essentials.

Sydney's Flour and Stone is a small-batch kind of bakery, but Nadine Ingram says she's still made thousands of pavs. "We're after a crisp shell with a marshmallow centre," she says. "I make the pavlovas at the end of the day, then the oven gets turned off and they sit in it overnight to set."

Ingram also cautions against overwhipping or adding the sugar too quickly, which can result in fissures. "Starting at medium speed will ensure the pavlova isn't too aerated (yes, it's a thing), and have more cracks than you're after," she says, but it's a question of balance." As Stephanie Alexander says, 'a pavlova should be suitably cracked'."


- A carbon-steel tray holds heat and cooks the base of a pav evenly.
- Ingram uses an offset palette knife for shaping and smoothing. "I love them so much," she says. "I've even been known to carry one in my handbag."
- A non-stick rubber spatula will remove every bit of meringue from the bowl. 
- A stand mixer has the best whipping power.



1 Ingram weighs out 250gm of eggwhites, which is about seven eggs' worth. Make sure there's no yolk in the whites, then transfer them to a clean, dry electric mixer. Ingram adds a pinch of salt at this point. Whites at room temperature will foam more rapidly than those straight out of the fridge.

2 Whisk on medium, and keep whisking until ribbons start forming on the surface (often the advice is to look for peaks, but you have to stop whisking to see peaks). Now start adding the sugar (Ingram uses two parts caster sugar to one part eggwhite - so 500gm sugar in this case). Add the sugar spoon by spoon to ensure it gets well incorporated into the eggwhite.

3 Increase the mixer speed to high. If you do this earlier you risk overaerating the mix, which can cause more cracks "than what's considered acceptable", says Ingram. Whip for 5 minutes, then turn off the mixer.

4 Stir in cornflour (20gm), trickle in a teaspoon of vinegar (7ml if you're measuring) and make a couple of turns with a spatula to fold it in. Have a baking tray lined with silicone (non-stick) baking paper ready so you can shape the pav immediately. If your oven has a fierce fan, dot some meringue underneath the corners of the paper so it'll stick.

Pile the meringue onto the tray, then run a palette knife back and forth over the top to cmpress it into a beehive shape. This compacts the meringue so it won't stick.

6 Run the palette knife around the meringue to give it a smooth, round shape, ensuring it has contact with the paper so it has something to spring off, then gently press down from the centre to expand it to 20cm diameter. This will also create a lip around the edge. Accentuate this and smooth the edge again.

7 Transfer tray to a 140°C oven, and immediately turn it down to 100°C. Bake for 1 hour - don't open it, don't poke it - then turn off the oven and leave the pavlova to finish cooking as the temperature slowly drops for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. This gives it time to set and helps form a thick crust.


The principles for toppings are straightforward: don't overpile, and remember you'll need to cut the pav, so distribute fruit and other toppings evenly. Scissors work well when you have soft toppings such as poached rhubarb.

For the cream, Ingram often uses a mix of mascarpone and single cream, but sometimes folds in crème chiboust to enrich it. And while she recommends versions with cherry and chocolate, tropical fruits with coconut, or straight-up berries and cream, the Flour and Stone signature remains fig and honeycomb.

The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

The cheat

Whether you’re entertaining on the hop or stuck for a midwee...

Our Baking Cookbook is here

Small cakes, stunning pies, impressive layer cakes, fruit-to...

Strawberry recipes

Strawberries are delicious on their own, but they really shi...

A-Class Cookies

There are many ways to spin a cookie, let's see just how man...

Honey recipes

Sweet and sticky, and also perfect with many savoury flavour...

Christmas ham recipes

The centrepiece of any Christmas feast, hams can be glazed w...

Pretty in pink recipes

Embrace soft shades of blush, rose and berry with these pink...

When you should use coconut sugar

With a rich toffee flavour, coconut sugar adds an extra dime...

The 10 baking cookbooks Australia's top bakers love

Ten of Australia's best bakers share the cookbooks that have...

Making sponge cake with whole grains

A feather-light white sponge is an elegant treat, but the le...

Baking with Emily Dickinson

You knew Emily Dickinson wrote a decent poem in her day and ...

Christmas ham recipes

The centrepiece of any Christmas feast, hams can be glazed w...