The Mystery Dessert: Pavlova

The mystery dessert I was attempting to make was a tiered pavlova!  Unfortunately, as you can probably tell by my word “attempting,” I failed to make it.

Pavlova is a meringue cake with a crisp outer crust and a chewy interior. I have never had pavlova, but it sounded a lot like a macaron in texture. What I made was nothing like that!  Josh and I have been watching the Great Australian Bakeoff and pavlova showed up as one of the technical challenges. Josh wanted us to try making it.

Maybe I should have stayed with making tiramisu instead!

I have had this compass forever. I used it to make  circles on parchment paper as a pattern for the meringue cakes.

I used a recipe from the BBC website. That might have been my first issue. I should have done more research first before picking a recipe. Finding a site that had pictures of what each step should look like would have been a big help to me. Pictures truly are worth a thousand words.


Second issue: Hand whipping the egg whites. I should have used my KitchenAid mixer. I don’t know why I didn’t. Maybe I just wanted to try it the old-fashioned way.

I was doing fine until right after the second picture – soft peak stage.


Then came my third issue:  Putting the sugar in. At this point was probably where I ruined the meringue. The recipe said to slowly add the sugar. It didn’t specify how slowly. I didn’t realize that it was supposed to be 1 teaspoon of sugar at a time! So of course, after pouring in about 1/4 cup of sugar at a time, I kept whipping and whipping the meringue and it wasn’t stiffening like it was supposed to.

I was afraid the meringue would “break” if I kept whipping it, so I just went with it as it was.


As you can see, the texture of the meringue is definitely not smooth and stiff in this picture. It was very pudding-like and didn’t hold its shape very well.

So we ended up with 3 very large crispy meringue cookies. Fortunately, all was not lost and the meringue “cake” was still edible. We ate it for dessert, just not in the extravagant way I wanted!


We smeared lemon cream on slices of the meringue cake for dessert. All of my kids except one loved them. In fact, I had to shoo them all away from the meringue crumbs on the baking sheet in the kitchen! The one who didn’t like them is not a fan of marshmallows, which is what these tasted like, so I wasn’t too surprised.

I do plan on trying pavlova again, but I won’t have time tomorrow. Perhaps on Friday!

The recipe that inspired us to try pavlova is here. I was going to have three tiers of pavlova, with the first tier having lemon curd, the second tier lemon cream, and then top off the third tier with mascarpone whipped cream and candied lemon peel.

There is also a recipe for a passion fruit tart on this page that I want to try once we have 20 or 30 passion fruit on hand. 🙂

To finish off the post, I wanted to write about how my lemon curd and candied lemon peel set.

The candied lemon peel is amazing, as Josh put it. I can’t wait to use it in desserts. My lemon curd did set, though it is probably not as thick as it should be. It will still be good for using on muffins, bread, etc.


I think this jar will go quickly. And the syrup the lemon peel is in is a great addition to lemonade.


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