Australia, blogging, Cakes, Food, History & Traditions

The Challenge of Making the Perfect Pavlova

Christmas has been and gone and with it the traditionally festive dessert of choice in Australia, (with its warm weather), the humble ‘Pavlova.’ This ubiquitous dessert really needs no introduction and not wishing to trigger my New Zealand counterparts, I won’t mention its origins, but will note the recipe has Australian variations!

Photo by Sandra Filipe on

Discussions around this dessert led to a four way cooking challenge which I will explain further in the post.

Modern Take on Traditional Pavlova

My take on the Traditional Pavlova Recipe, is mainly decorative but it works well to add to the festive appearance for a special occasion or to spoil a family member.

Still piled high with a delicious marshmallow centre and surrounded by the crunchy meringue shell that we all know and love, this pavlova is topped high with seasonal fruits, whipped cream, or custard as well as cream, (depending on your cholesterol level).

As Pavlova is generally Gluten-free, (omit the cornflour), you can serve this to sensitive tummies as well! Just check the chocolate you use is gluten-free too, if you have Coeliac guests.

What’s Different about this Pavlova?

It is perfect for a birthday dinner, a party, or just a treat to spoil yourself in lockdown and has a Chocolate Dome that you can smash with a rolling pin or large serving spoon, when slicing up.

What fun! Especially for kids!


Smashed Pavlova Chocolate Dome Recipe


  • Olive oil or cooking spray
  • 800g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 600g thickened cream
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 pre-prepared pavlovaRecipe here
  • Topping of seasonal fruits: eg. cherries, mangoes, raspberries or kiwifruit

N.B. Undecorated pavlova can be made several days ahead; store in an airtight container, prior to decoration.

Method – Making a Chocolate Dome

  1. Spray a 12″ or 28cm plastic or pyrex bowl lightly with oil and place in the freezer. Melt chocolate on low heat on the stove in a double boiler or in the microwave if you prefer.
  2. Remove the bowl from the freezer and pour in half of the melted chocolate. Rotate the bowl to cover as much of the inside surface as possible, using a pastry brush to push the chocolate out to the rim. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. To finish the chocolate dome, use a pastry brush to brush remaining melted chocolate over existing layer, ensuring any thin areas are touched up. Place back in the freezer for 15 minutes or until set.
  4. Remove the bowl from the freezer. Trim the chocolate on the lip of the bowl to create an even base line and then gently rotate and tap the sides of the bowl to release the dome with a rolling pin. Run a knife along the sides of the bowl to release the dome slightly. Once chocolate comes away from the edge on all sides of the bowl the dome is ready.

3. Meanwhile, top the pavlova with cream and decorate with mango slices, cherries and raspberries. Carefully cover finished pavlova with the chocolate dome. Serve immediately.

Tip: use a wooden rolling pin or similar utensil to “smash” the chocolate casing when serving and prior to slicing.

Food Blogger Bake Off Challenge

pavlova recipe

When Sandy at The Sandy Chronicles mentioned a delicious dessert of her own a Blogging Bake-off idea was conceived. Thus, I’ve invited other blogging cooks such as Ju-Lyn from All Things Bright and Beautiful and Moon from Bits and Pieces to take up the Pavlova Bake off Challenge with me!

Have you previously posted about Pavlova? Would you like to try making a pavlova or another meringue like dessert?

Join in on the Pavlova Bake- off challenge by adding a pingback to this address in your post and it will update with your link.

Amanda – Something delicious to Ponder About


86 thoughts on “The Challenge of Making the Perfect Pavlova”

  1. I did my very first pavlova this year at Christmas. The meringue was slightly under baked but for a first try, it wasn’t bad!!
    Maybe I’ll try again…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Do try again, Vero. It can be very forgiving and you can alter it from completely dry and crunchy to more soft and gooey if you like. Did you leave it in the oven to completely cool? Even overnight?

      Liked by 1 person

        1. You could try leaving in the oven, (that has been turned off at the end of its cooking time, til its completely cold. Or a wooden spoon in the door to keep it slightly ajar – and thus it cools slowly. The retained heat inside the oven, will cook the inner meringue without over-cooking the outer shell.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Pavlova is the easiest dessert to make. My sister in law is the pavlova queen. They have chickens so she always has a plentiful supply of eggs. She regularly takes a pav to work for her colleagues and she made a spectacular and very large pav for dessert at our daughter’s wedding. I often make one at Christmas time and mini pavs are great to take when you need to bring a dessert to an event.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Meringue based desserts are so versatile, aren’t they? .
      Did you happen to post about the wedding pavlova, Carol? I’d like to see a photo of that. It sounds impressive. You could join in the challenge too!


    1. Thank you so much for those kind words! A pavlova is really very easy. Do try it and the step by step photos in the recipe page image do help those a bit hesitant. Just don’t use really super fresh eggs. They don’t whip up as well as they a few days old.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know if I could come at the chocolate one, Amanda. I am a traditionalist. The other one looks like my sort of heaven. I bought a supermarket one last Christmas. It was awful! I was expecting not great, but not inedible. I’m excited about your challenge. Good luck to the participants. I look forward to seeing the results. Do you think Sheree could be encouraged to enter as well?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The supermarket varieties are disappointing. Far too soft and gooey or hard as a rock. I guess a chocolate dome is not for everyone but even if you didn’t eat it, I think you would have lots of fun breaking the dome and slicing it. So you are going to join in? Maybe you can talk Sheree into it. Is she quite the cook?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Great! Can’t wait to see your version, Dorothy. It is a bit fiddly getting the chocolate out of the bowl, so I suggest to grease it well and coat the bowl with chocolate that is even and reasonably thick. The thinner areas of chocolate splintered into pieces when I tried to lift them out. I just sprinkled them around the plate, as decoration, as you can see in the photo. Good luck!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I was so surprised it worked so well. I don’t have a great history of successful cooking with chocolate. It took some fiddling but then the dome lifted out if the bowl in one piece!


  4. Yuuuuuummmmm, Your pav looks soooo delicious. Pavlovas are so my thing to bake. I make one every birthday for myself & anyone else in the family who wants one as well as Christmas & well anytime really. I have started making them into shapes like the number of your birthday it works. You can make a pav any shape you want my next will be a unicorn. All I can say is I’m glad I have chooks for the great eggs. Hopefully will try duck eggs one day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Using duck eggs for a pavlova would be a fun experiment. Would it taste any different? Probably not. I think the sugar would override that?
      Great idea to make them into shapes, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the duck egg taste could be a bit strong which is why I have hesitated in the past. I also don’t add as much sugar as required its not needed. I have made them using only a half cup of sugar as with all the sugar in the toppings eg: fruits & cream it doesn’t need it.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. You make me smile, Linda! It is a warm one down here. I’ve been for an early walk on the beach with the dogs, so will have a fairly laid back Saturday with some reading, blogging and drawing. What are you up to?

              Liked by 1 person

  5. What a fabulous idea. Pauli’s not a fan of pavlova so it’s something I don’t make. Mu go to desert is a cheats ice cream cake, often made in a pudding bowl. I may steal this idea for a variation though next time. I rather fancy the idea of concave white chocolate and ice cream cake filled with mangoes, and a white chocolate dome over it may look the part for a special occasion. I’m off up to Darwin next week for a fortnight. I may give that a go up there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Fantastic idea, Chris. The chocolate dome could be filled with all sorts of fruit goodies. White chocolate or Dark, whichever is your chosen vice!! One could even turn it out on a sponge cake or fruit flan. The sky is the limit!
      Have a lovely time in Darwin. Stay cool! Will you be able to catch up with your son during your time there?


  6. Your pavs are stunning, Amanda! I am so inspired (although still a little nervous as I’ve never ventured this far into whipping egg whites before).

    I have been dreaming of a layered pav with fresh strawberries & mango, and some sort of cream or custard nestled inside …. had such a dessert some time ago (from a fancy patisserie) and now i’m wondering ….

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’ve been hunting down your posts because they stopped showing up. I was getting worried. This post makes me so happy! I’m not sure you remember my birthday posts about the Boconne Dolce. That is the Italian version of Pavlova. It’s my FAVORITE dessert but I have never tried to make it. I’m not much of a baker or cook. Now my mouth is watering for some but we have to wait for a birthday. Love this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have been having some trouble with my editor. Html showing up in posts. Maybe they bumped me off the reader due to that? Anyway, I am still here and won’t be ticking amp loading fit text to container on my editor as I think that was to blame.
      Can you give me a link to your post on the Italian version, Marlene? I would love to read it again.
      Desserts like this should not have to wait for a birthday.


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