Mary Berry’s Pavlova: A Sweet Symphony in 7 Steps

When it comes to classic British baking, few names are as revered as Mary Berry. Her recipes have become synonymous with perfection, simplicity, and tradition. Among her many iconic creations, the Pavlova stands out as a dessert that embodies elegance and delight. Named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, this meringue-based confection is as light and airy as its namesake’s dance, and Mary Berry’s version captures this ethereal quality perfectly.

The Origins of Pavlova

The Pavlova has a somewhat disputed origin, with both Australia and New Zealand claiming it as their own. What is agreed upon, however, is that it was created in honor of Anna Pavlova during her tours in the 1920s. This dessert, with its crisp meringue shell, soft marshmallow-like interior, and luscious toppings of cream and fresh fruit, quickly became a beloved treat in both countries and beyond.

Mary Berry: The Queen of Baking

Mary Berry, with her decades of experience and countless recipes, has perfected the art of the Pavlova. Known for her meticulous approach and an innate understanding of flavors, she has crafted a version that is both traditional and timeless. Her recipe strikes a perfect balance between the sweetness of the meringue and the tartness of the fresh fruits, with a generous layer of whipped cream adding richness and decadence.

The Perfect Pavlova: Step-by-Step

Creating a Pavlova might seem daunting, but with Mary Berry’s guidance, it becomes a manageable and enjoyable process. Here’s a detailed look at how to make her famous Pavlova:


  • 6 large egg whites
  • 350 grams of caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 600 ml of double cream
  • Fresh fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and passion fruit


  1. Preheat and Prepare: Preheat your oven to 150°C (130°C fan). Line a baking tray with parchment paper and draw a 20cm circle on it as a guide for your meringue.
  2. Whip the Egg Whites: In a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. It’s crucial to ensure there is no trace of yolk in the whites as this will prevent them from whipping properly.
  3. Add Sugar Gradually: Gradually add the caster sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking continuously until the meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks. The sugar should be fully dissolved in the egg whites.
  4. Incorporate the Essentials: Gently fold in the white wine vinegar, cornflour, and vanilla extract. These ingredients help stabilize the meringue and give it its characteristic texture.
  5. Shape the Meringue: Spoon the meringue onto the prepared baking tray, using the circle as a guide. Create a slight indent in the center to hold the cream and fruit later.
  6. Bake: Place the meringue in the preheated oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 140°C (120°C fan). Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and let the meringue cool completely inside the oven. This slow cooling helps prevent cracks.
  7. Prepare the Cream: Whip the double cream until it holds soft peaks. Be careful not to overwhip, as the cream should be light and fluffy.
  8. Assemble: Once the meringue is completely cool, transfer it to a serving plate. Spoon the whipped cream into the center of the meringue, spreading it out gently.
  9. Add the Fruits: Top with a generous selection of fresh fruits. Mary Berry suggests using a mix of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and passion fruit for a burst of color and flavor.
  10. Serve: Serve immediately to enjoy the perfect contrast of textures and flavors.

Tips for the Perfect Pavlova

  • Egg Whites at Room Temperature: Ensure your egg whites are at room temperature before whipping; this allows them to reach maximum volume.
  • Gradual Addition of Sugar: Adding sugar slowly is crucial for achieving a smooth, glossy meringue without graininess.
  • Cooling in the Oven: Allowing the Pavlova to cool in the oven prevents sudden temperature changes that can cause cracks.
  • Fresh and Seasonal Fruits: Use fresh, seasonal fruits for the best flavor and presentation. The acidity and freshness of the fruits complement the sweetness of the meringue beautifully.

A Culinary Tradition – Mary Berry’s Pavlova

Mary Berry’s Pavlova is more than just a dessert; it’s a celebration of culinary tradition and elegance. It’s a dessert that brings people together, perfect for any occasion from casual family gatherings to formal celebrations. The combination of textures—the crisp outer shell, the soft interior, the rich cream, and the fresh fruits—creates a symphony of flavors that is both satisfying and delightful.


In the world of baking, few names inspire as much confidence and admiration as Mary Berry. Her Pavlova recipe is a testament to her skill and passion for creating delightful culinary experiences. By following her meticulous instructions, anyone can create a Pavlova that not only looks stunning but tastes divine. Whether you’re an experienced baker or a novice in the kitchen, Mary Berry’s Pavlova is a recipe that promises success and brings joy to any table.

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