Posted by: Catherine | October 18, 2009

Pavlova with Passion Fruit (RR*, The Third Unconfidential Cooks’ Dinner)



(*Reader Recipe)

I believe every party should have at least one mystery guest, so as I usually do at the U-C Dinners I asked a couple of my friends to bring friends nobody at the party knew. Nancy brought Pauline, a neighbor with whom she became fast friends after they discovered they were both food writers, and she made this amazing Pavlova with Passion Fruit. I’ve had strawberries and raspberries, but never passion fruit…and was it great! No wonder–Pauline has completed a family cookbook (as well as Young Adult novels)  and obviously knows her way around a kitchen. The tart passion fruit with its gooey texture was perfect with the meringue and whipped cream, and we all wondered aloud why it isn’t used more often in a pavlova. You mustmustmust try Pauline’s pavlova…and also check out, her site that keeps us all up-to-date on the cultural goings-on in LA.

4 egg whites

Pinch of cream of tartar

1 cup superfine sugar

1 teaspoon cornflour

1 teaspoon white wine (or champagne) vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or scrape the seeds from a dried vanilla pod)

About ½ pint heavy cream, whipped

Pulp of 2 or 3 passion fruit

1 or 2 bananas, sliced or sliced strawberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees for at least 10 minutes before cooking. Have all your ingredients measured and laid out before you commence (mise en place). Eggs should be at room temperature and carefully separated, with no trace of yolk (perhaps make some chocolate pots de creme, sabayon or mayonnaise with those yolks).

Whip egg whites and cream of tartar, building to high speed, until they are stiff. Gradually add the sugar, a little at a time, beating well to dissolve each addition.

Add the cornflour with the last bit of sugar. Meringue will be smooth and glossy.

By hand, gently fold in the vinegar and the vanilla, lifting as you go to preserve the fluffiness of the meringue.

Pile the meringue in the middle of a cookie sheet covered with lightly greased parchment paper, shaping the mixture into as high a dome as possible. Meringue will expand a little bit and crack as it is cooking. It may also sink a bit in the middle once cooled, but that’s the part you fill with cream.

Bake for 1½ hours. Turn off heat and let cool in oven for three hours.

When cool, decorate with whipped cream (lightly sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla essence) and passionfruit pulp. If you care to go overboard,  top with fresh, sliced strawberries or sliced bananas, too.



  1. I’ve never heard of bringing a mystery guest. What a lovely idea!

  2. Passion fruit must set off the sweetness of the pavlova perfectly. Nice recipe!
    Sweet of you to have guests bring someone new.

  3. As one of the fortunate guests at this dinner, I was delighted to try Pavlova for the first time. I LOVED it! And how great to have a virgin experience prepared by someone from Australia, where this dessert originated.

  4. Thanks for the shout-out to my Arts webmagazine!

    I agree that tart passion fruit is an essential element to offset the foamy sweetness of this meringue dessert. Always a hit!

  5. This has been a nice dinner wo watch unfold over the last few days. The pasta salad looks divine and then to end it with pavlova-heaven!

  6. A mystery guest–cool!

    That pavlova is so neat looking! All puffed up and busting out!

  7. That sounds wonderful. I love the lightness of a pavlova and the passion fruit sounds like it pairs wonderful with it.

  8. Oh I love the looks of that pavlova! The pasion fruit is a nice touch, I bet it gives a nice flavor too!

  9. I love that idea of a mystery guest, always makes it exciting.

  10. Love Pavlova, and oh … so jealous that you able to find passion fruit. I see them sometimes in the grocery store, but it cost a fortune.

  11. Your pavlova looks divine, doesn’t it???


  12. What a beautiful pavlova! It’s just bursting with goodness. The passion fruit is so different – but so delicious sounding!

  13. Miss Pickles is always fun!

  14. I’ve never seen such a thing before, looks amazing! I need to do some research, clearly. Heh.

  15. Pavlova with passion fruit sounds really wonderful! Would love to try this!

  16. I wish I was the mystery guest…that dessert looks AMAZING! So impressive, and beautiful!

  17. To me this Pavlova is pure heaven! I love Pavlova and passion fruit! Look amazing! xxgloria

  18. I’ve never had pavlova but my MIL made a chocolate cream pie that was put into an egg white crust. it was delicious as I’m sure this was.

  19. Thank you for appreciating my tacky dress!

  20. Yes, passionfruit are absurdly overpriced. I grow my own, from a Passiflora edulis plant, and I get 2-3 crops per summer. They do, however, take an interminable 2-3 months to ripen on the vine…

  21. This pavlova looks gorgeous.

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