Individual Pavlovas with Strawberry Compote and Mango Coulis

I love the story behind the eponymous Pavlova. The marshmallowy meringue-style dessert originated in the 1920s or 30s in honor of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. There’s something particularly romantic about a delicate, cloud-like confection named for a graceful dancer. It’s one of those dishes whose history – beyond the fact that it was named for Anna Pavlova – is murky and contested. Was it created in 1926 in Wellington, New Zealand or 1935 in Perth, Australia, by a hotel chef or a cookbook author? It’s been the cause of some debate between the two countries, both of whom proudly claim it as their own. If you live in the Middle East then you are fully aware of the hummus wars. Well, New Zealand and Australia have their own Pavlova wars, with New Zealand holding claim to the world’s largest.


Differences aside, I think we can all agree it’s a tasty, elegant dessert. What sets a Pavlova and meringue apart is the use of corn starch (ie corn flour) and a dash of vinegar in the former. I can’t speak to the science behind it, but I can tell you that this addition yields a treat with a fragile meringue crust  and a soft, pillowy interior reminiscent of marshmallow. And, although I’ve enjoyed Pavlovas on many occasions I had yet to make one. Which is why I was so excited when Jennifer from the fabulous food blog Delicieux invited me to join the Great Australian Pavlova Blog Hop! You know I can’t resist a blog hop, and this one sounded particularly fun! I can’t wait to see what everyone else comes up with.

Pavlovas are typically large and topped with whipped cream and fruit. My first decision was to make smaller, individual Pavlovas, which I thought would be more fun and easier to eat. And despite the fall chill, my mind turned to tropical toppings. I had the end of last spring’s strawberries in my freezer as well as a generous amount of frozen chopped mango. I decided on whipped cream topped with strawberry compote and mango coulis (a fancy name for fruit sauce). Chocolate lovers take note: I also considered a chocolate sauce instead of the mango coulis, which I think would be equally fantastic. That’s part of the fun of Pavlovas: you can top them however you want. An idea for entertaining would be to set up a Pavlova bar where people can choose from a variety of fruit, chocolate, and candy toppings. Do you have a favorite Pavlova recipe? Head on over to Delicieux to link up!

5.0 from 8 reviews
Individual Pavlovas with Strawberry Compote and Mango Coulis
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
These individual Pavlovas make an elegant dessert that is easily prepared in advance. Feel free to make one large Pavlova instead, and/or to switch up the toppings.
Recipe Type: Dessert
Yield: 6 Servings
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup superfine/castor sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch/corn flour
Mango Coulis: (Yield: 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces chopped mango (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup simple syrup
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cup water
Strawberry Compote:
  • 12 ounces strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
To Assemble and Serve:
  • Whipped cream (preferably homemade)
For the Pavlova:
  1. Preheat oven to 250F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw six evenly spaced, 4½-inch circles on the paper. Turn the parchment paper over so the circles are on the reverse side.
  3. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks (using an electric whisk will make easy work of this).
  4. Slowly add the sugar, a bit at a time, and beat vigorously until the meringue holds very stiff and shiny peaks and the sugar is completely dissolved.
  5. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  6. Drizzle the vinegar and cornstarch over the top of the meringue and gently fold in with a rubber spatula.
  7. Use the spatula to spread the meringue inside the circles drawn on the parchment paper. Make the edges of the meringue slightly higher than the center so there is a well to hold the whipped cream and fruit.
  8. Bake for an hour to 75 minutes, or until the outside is dry and very light pink in color.
  9. Shut off the oven, open the door slightly, and allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven. As the pavlova cools you it will crack slightly and the inside will become marshmallowy.
  10. The cooled meringue can be made and stored in a cool dry place, in an airtight container, for a few days.
For the Mango Coulis:
  1. Put the simple syrup, chopped mango, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency (it should not be as thick as a puree but also should not be watery; use more if necessary. It can be made up to a week ahead and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.)
For the Strawberry Compote:
  1. Put the strawberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until strawberries are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.)
To Assemble and Serve:
  1. Carefully remove the Pavlova from the parchment paper. If you find they are sticking cut the paper, turn upside down, and gently peel the paper off.
  2. Place each Pavlova on a dessert plate. Spoon whipped cream into the center and top with a dollop of strawberry compote.
  3. Drizzle with mango coulis and serve immediately.
Gluten free (make sure to use GF cornstarch) and Vegetarian Parve (if whipped cream is omitted or made using parve cream)

62 thoughts on “Individual Pavlovas with Strawberry Compote and Mango Coulis

  1. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Katherine, your pavlovas look fantastic. I love the individual serves, a good way to manage portion control too!! And that mango coulis looks divine!

    I’m so glad you took me up on my invitation and joined our blog hop. 🙂

  2. Terra

    I am so happy I found your blog, and I love the bloghop! What a great idea to make individual Pavlovas:-) Your mango coulis sounds so beautiful with the Pavlovas! Take care, Terra

  3. cecilia g

    stunning array of goodness. NZ definitely had the original pavlova!! This is my vote anyway. I am going to take my own pavlova recipe out for an airing at christmas time. It has become very popular out here on the prairies with a NZer in the kitchen! c

  4. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    I had never had pavlovas before and I didn’t know about the story behind this sweets either! Your pavlovas look delicious with fruit sauce. It looks like it’s very common to make a big one, so I really like your individual serving idea!

    • Katherine

      Thank you Winnie! I was so pleased with how easy they are to make. And great for entertaining because you can easily make all the components the day before.

  5. Eri

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I’m going to faint!!! Katherine Pavlova is my very best dessert recipe!!! I think I’ll go crazy with all these Pavlova recipes! Love your version with mango coulis! I’m pining the post.
    Absolutely thank you!!!!

    • Katherine

      Yay!!! I love your enthusiasm 😀 There are a ton of great pavlova recipes in the hop, I hope you check them out. I think it’s my new favorite dessert too!!

  6. Biren @ Roti n Rice

    I have heard of pavlova but I don’t remember ever eating it. Yours with strawberry compote and mango coulis looks stunning! I like the contrasting colors. Seems like a lot of people are very passionate about his dessert. 🙂

    • Katherine

      It’s a lot like a meringue but I like it even better because it is slightly chewy and marshmallowy inside! Thank you Biren. Yes I had no idea how passionate people were about Pavlovas! They are pretty good… 😀

    • Katherine

      I know – having gone through the whole hop I’m just left with an intense desire for more Pavlova! Hope you participate in the next one too, it’s been fun!

  7. Asmita

    I love the individual meringues topped with fruit. Individual portions look much cuter. I haven’r made Pavlova before or even tasted it but will now after seeing this! Looks fantastic!

    • Katherine

      Thank you Asmita! I agree, I like the individual portions. I think they can be made even smaller for more portions too. I hope you try Pavlova – it was easy to make and really tasty! And can be topped with anything you like!

  8. Hannah

    Mmmm, Pavlova is one of my very favorite desserts. I can’t resist the cream and fruit combo (shortcake is another favorite for this reason!) and the texture of the Pavlova is wonderful. You’ve created beautiful individual ones here! We’re headed to Australia next month and I’m looking forward to trying Pavlova there. To be fair, we should stop in New Zealand, too!

    • Katherine

      Pavlova is definitely a new favorite for me, for all the reasons you’ve listed! That is so cool that you are going to Australia!!!! It’s very high on my list of places to travel. I can’t wait to hear about your journey!

  9. Leah

    These look beautiful! For some reason, I love all individually baked desserts – cupcakes, tarts, anything in a ramekin…there’s something special about it.
    Individual pavlovas are definitely my next move!

  10. kitchenriffs

    I love meringues so these are right up my alley. I’ll have to give them a try sometime – really pretty dish! BTW, the vinegar acts like cream of tartar when whipping egg whites: the acid helps stabilize the whites (you can use lemon juice too, or nothing).

    • Katherine

      Thank you! Yes, if you like meringues then you will almost certainly like Pavlovas. I think I like Pavlovas even better because they have that chewy center. And I should have just come straight to you for the scientific explanation! Thanks 🙂

  11. Joanna @ Chic & Gorgeous Treats

    Hi Katherine! Thanks for stopping over at my blog. I truly appreciate that even though I have not been posting much recipes lately. I had a great time in Foodbuzz, and meeting Nami was such joy. Hopefully you do attend too one day and I get to meet you there. I really like the idea of individual servings and having a mango coulis and raspberry compote is such a great idea of toning down the sweetness of the pav. Though I have not tried a raspberry and mango combination before, so this I must give a try to see how the flavours blend. Till then, you have a good week ahead!! Cheers, Jo

    • Katherine

      I was so happy to stop by your blog Joanna! I love Nami and hope to attend the Foodbuzz conference some time and meet everyone! The strawberry and mango together made for a nice tropical flavor in the Pavlovas and definitely helped cut the sweetness of the pav itself. Have a great week/weekend too!

  12. Sharon | Chinese Soup Pot

    I first learned to make a lemon meringue pie from a dear friend who is a very sweet 83 yr old grandma. I’ve fallen in love with meringue pies ever since. I’ve honestly never heard of a pavlova before. But looking at the recipe, the ingredients and cooking method is indeed very similar! I will need to try this out sometime and compare it with the meringue pie. =)

    • Katherine

      That is so wonderful! I would love to learn to make some desserts like that from a grandma. I do love meringue pies. Pavlovas are definitely similar, but instead of the topping they are the base of the dessert! And they are chewier inside, quite like the texture of a marshmallow! I hope you try it and let me know what you think!

  13. Dara

    I am such a sucker for individual serving desserts! This looks gorgeous. I’ve only ever enjoyed pavlova in restaurants, this makes it seem so easy.

    • Katherine

      Haha me too! Thank you Dara 🙂 I was the same way, having only eaten Pavlova in restaurants, but I was so happy to find that it was not that difficult to recreate at home.

  14. thelittleloaf

    I’m absolutely loving reading all the posts for this pavlova blog hop and yours looks incredible! All that pillowy white meringue, cream and bright, sharp fruit…delicious. I haven’t made pavlova for a while – reading this post makes me want to whizz some up right now.

    • Katherine

      Thank you! I also had so much fun going through all the Pavlovas. So much inspiration. Get out there and make some Pavlova! I’ve definitely caught the pav bug 🙂

  15. Jayne Georgette

    Hi Katherine,

    I almost missed this post; did you forget about me? Did you forget the pavlova post I did for Yael? I just love these wonderful delights and it always amazes me how many different variations you can create from one basic recipe;

    It is open to any one? I would be delighted to join, but I am not sure what “Blog Hop” means? Does it mean that people “hopping” from one blog to another? What is the purpose or goal of a hop?

    Your creations look amazing. These pavlovas are ready to jump off the page right on to my tongue.

    Another thing is good about this dessert is that it is easy to make, but they look as if you labored for hours. There is nothing better for last minute dessert when unexpected guessed arrive

    I am placing this into my December newsletter; you may get lots visitors with questions.

    I guess I blah, blah’d enough

    • Katherine

      Hi Jayne, of course I haven’t forgotten about you! For information about the blog hop check out Delicieux They are going to host other events like this so leave her a comment and let her know if you’d like to be notified in the future. You’ve got the meaning of blog hop exactly right! People link up their recipes and then you hop from blog to blog. It’s a fun way to discover new blogs, build community, and be inspired. I totally agree with you about the qualities of a Pavlova! Thank you for including me in your newsletter!

  16. Debra

    A hit with all ages! My toddler proclaimed the meringues to be “Good Fluffmallows (marshmallows)” and my husband went back for seconds, a rarity for a guy who doesn’t care for sweets.
    This is the most successful Pavlova recipe I’ve tried, and I’ve tried quite a few. Just the right blend of fluffy and chewy and a very simple method, too.

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