Aunty Pat’s never-fail pavlova

Having just outed myself as a pavlova-denier, I should probably head into witness protection for a while. To prove that I’m not a complete monster, here’s my wonderful Aunty Pat’s peerless recipe. It’s unbeatable!

Aunty’s Pat’s never-fail pavlova

At the risk of offending everyone else I know, no one makes a pavlova quite like Aunty Pat’s. She’s got no time for fussy recipes with fancy ingredients or complicated instructions – her pavlova (which may have originally sprung from a Plunket cookbook) is a ‘bung it all in the bowl and beat like hell’ number (my words, not hers). 

3 egg whites

2 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp vinegar

Pinch of salt

3 Tbsp boiling water

Heat the oven to 160C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.

Put all the ingredients, except the boiling water, in a bowl. Start beating, then add the boiling water. Beat on high for 15 minutes, then scrape the mixture onto the baking paper in a rounded shape. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven to 100C and bake for another hour. Turn off the oven and let cool as long as possible (Aunty Pat suggests leaving it in overnight). Serve topped with whipped cream and seasonal fruit.


  1. December 14, 2018 / 11:14 pm

    Now that’s a great classic in a no-nonsense and unimpeachable form. When I read it I think how much I really like pavlova. Then I remember that I haven’t made one for 20 years or so. Maybe I don’t like it as much as I think I do. That thought might give me sleepless nights.

  2. December 31, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    Lucy, it’s funny, Phil’s comment might have been written by me! I think I’ll have to make one soon just to see if I really do like it as much as I think I do despite my years of going without!

  3. Helene
    April 15, 2019 / 6:10 am

    Thank you Lucy for this wonderful recipe. I had not made a pavlova for at least 10 years until this weekend when I tried your Aunty Pat’s recipe. I might add until this weekend I have never made a successful pavlova. This recipe however is amazing. The result was just like the photo in your post. And it tasted as good as it looked. A question for you. Is the oven temperature listed in the recipe fan bake or conventional?

    • lucycorry
      April 18, 2019 / 7:56 am

      Hi Helene, I’m so pleased the recipe worked for you! Aunty Pat will be too! Aunty Pat specifies conventional rather than fan bake – I think if you were using fan bake you could lower the temperature to 140C? Some people think using fan-forced heat gives a crisper shell, but I’m not enough of a pavlova expert to judge. An experiment for Easter weekend, perhaps?

  4. Tracey
    December 20, 2022 / 8:12 pm

    Hi Is the vinegar malt?

    • lucycorry
      December 20, 2022 / 8:51 pm

      Hi Tracey, you can use any kind of vinegar (I generally use white wine vinegar because it’s what I have). Malt vinegar will work – but it isn’t gluten-free, if that’s a consideration for you.

  5. Cynthia
    December 20, 2022 / 9:23 pm

    Did I miss this ? What is the first oven Temperature before you turn the oven to 100

    • lucycorry
      December 20, 2022 / 11:02 pm

      Hi Cynthia, the start temperature is 160C, normal bake. Good luck!

  6. Chris
    December 20, 2022 / 10:31 pm

    Hi, is it normal sugar or caster sugar? Thanks

    • lucycorry
      December 20, 2022 / 11:02 pm

      Hi Chris – caster sugar dissolves faster, but normal sugar is fine if that’s what you’ve got. Happy making!

  7. Cynthia
    January 16, 2023 / 4:11 am

    Wonderful pav easy to make and enjoyed by everyone

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