Lucy's Crowd-Pleasing Berry Pavlova!

I’m no chef, cook or food columnist, but I do have one signature recipe, and it really is worth sharing!

My berry pavlova is a staple at our Christmas table every year. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser and honestly, it’s fail-safe. You simply cannot go wrong with this delicious, easy recipe.

Messy, crunchy, gooey and served with lashings of velvety cream, raspberry coulis and fresh berries, this truly is the ultimate summer dessert.

Lucy Feagins

Sarah Hendriks

It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser!

Lucy’s berry pavlova is a TDF favourite!

Lucy Feagins

Sarah Hendriks

22nd of December 2023

Don’t be intimidated by pavlova. It’s truly one of the easiest desserts you can make. Much easier than baking a cake, in my humble opinion!

The perfect meringue base has a crunchy, crumbly outer shell and a marshmallow-like centre. This isn’t hard to achieve, it just requires baking at two different temperatures in sequence. You start at a higher heat for the first 20-25 mins, which crisps the shell, then turn the oven down to a lower heat for around 45 minutes to cook the gooey filling.

Also, don’t fret about ‘neatness’. If there’s one dish you can get away with being messy, it’s pavlova. Your meringue base will crack and drop a little after it cools. That’s normal. Don’t stress as you will just be covering the whole top with cream and berries anyway. And no matter how messy, pavlova always brings the wow-factor to any celebration!

I recommend baking the pavlova base the day before to allow it to completely cool before serving (and to take the stress out of cooking it on the day!)

You can also whip your cream and prepare your berries on the morning of the day you intend to serve the pavlova — simply store them in separate airtight containers in the fridge until it is ready to be assembled. 

Be generous with the whipped cream!

Don’t worry if the top of your pavlova cracks, you’ll be covering it with cream and berries anyway!

The season’s best.

The more berries the better we say!

Lucy’s Berry Pavlova

(Serves 8-12)

6 egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
375g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 ½ tsp white wine vinegar
¼ tsp vanilla essence (or a few drops)

Raspberry coulis

500g frozen raspberries
Juice of 1 orange (or 1/2 cup store-bought orange juice)
½ cup icing sugar

To serve

800ml thickened cream
¼ tsp vanilla essence (or a few drops)
2 tsp icing sugar (or to taste)
2 punnets strawberries
1 punnet raspberries


Preheat oven to 200C.

Line a flat baking tray with baking paper. Using a pencil, trace around an entree-sized plate to draw an approx 22cm diameter circle on your baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl, add the egg whites and a pinch of salt, and beat for around 5 minutes with an electric hand whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks. (The yolks will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. At our house we have a tradition of making penne carbonara on boxing day to use up all the yolks!).

Add caster sugar to your egg whites, a third at a time, beating in with the electric whisk. It should only take about 5-8 minutes to integrate all the sugar into the mixture. Stop when the mixture is thick and glossy, and you can’t feel any grains of sugar when you rub a bit of it between your fingers.

Add cornflour, vinegar and a few drops of vanilla. Fold in with a spatula.

Pile the meringue mixture onto your baking paper in the centre of the circle. Use a spatula to coax the mixture into a cake-like shape with flat-ish top and sides. The mixture will expand in the oven so don’t worry if it looks a bit small at this stage. Also, do not worry about it looking neat! Messy is fine.

Reduce the oven heat to 150C and pop the pavlova in! Bake for 20-25 minutes to crisp the outer shell of the meringue. Then (without opening the oven) reduce heat to 120C and cook for another 40-45 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, do not open the oven door! Keep it closed and leave the oven to cool completely (ideally overnight) before taking your meringue out and carefully transferring it to a cake plate. The meringue base will keep for 2-3 days if you keep it covered in plastic.

Don’t be disappointed if your meringue drops a little in the centre after the oven cools. This is totally normal (you just fill that central part with cream). Also, don’t expect your meringue to be white. It will be a soft pinky/beige colour on the outside.

Whilst your meringue is in the oven, make your raspberry coulis.

Combine frozen raspberries and orange juice in a small saucepan on low heat. Simmer for around 5 minutes until the berries have melted and the mixture is starting to resemble a sauce. Add the icing sugar, tasting as you go (the sauce should be a little tart to cut through the sweetness of the meringue). Use a potato masher to get rid of any berry lumps. Allow to cool (it will thicken slightly when cooled). Store in an airtight container in the fridge until it’s ready to be served.

To serve

For the cream: Whisk cream, vanilla and icing sugar in a bowl with an electric hand whisk for about 5 minutes until the cream is thick and quadrupled in size.

For the berries: Wash your strawberries, pat dry and slice into quarters. (I must admit I don’t bother washing the raspberries as they get a bit squishy when wet, but if you prefer to wash them, now would be the time.)

Assemble your pavlova immediately before you’re about to serve it.

Pile HEAPS of cream onto the meringue base. Drizzle some of the raspberry coulis on top of the cream, then pile a generous amount of berries on top.

And you’re done! Serve with the excess coulis in a little jug or bowl on the table, for drizzling on each serving.

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