Julia’s Perfect Tropical Summer Pavlova

Nothing smells like summer quite like pavlova. And who better than the reigning queen of deliciousness to teach us how to make the perfect pav?

Julia Busuttil Nishimura takes out the year the only way she knows how – with a killer recipe for one drop dead gorgeous dessert. Topped with fragrant mangoes, tart passionfruit and coconut shards – this takes the classic Christmas pav to new dizzy new heights!

Julia Busuttil Nishimura

The meringue base should have a crisp and shattery shell and a pillowy soft marshmallow centre. Photo – Julia Busuttil Nishimura.

Though cream is the traditional topping, Julia mixes in some crème fraîche to make it slightly more sour. Photo – Julia Busuttil Nishimura.

Julia Busuttil Nishimura
8th of December 2020

Pavlova is a quintessential summer dessert and perfect for Christmas, which lucky for us in Australia, happily coincides with a bounty of tropical and stone fruits and berries. Marshmallowy on the inside and light and crisp on the outside, a good pavlova is a thing of beauty. I like to keep mine really simple with two, maybe three different fruits. Here I’ve gone with a tropical mix of mango and passionfruit but also scattered over some coconut flakes and lime zest to brighten it up.

While whipped cream is traditional, I like a combination of cream and crème fraîche which cuts through the sweetness. Just be sure to begin this recipe the day before, or at the very least 3 -4 hours before you want to eat it. Top your pavlova shell just before serving.

The toppings are up to the whims and fancies of the chef, but Julia’s is decked out with sliced mango, passionfruit, lime zest and coconut flakes. Photo – Julia Busuttil Nishimura.


(Serves 10)

Pavlova shell
7 egg whites
Pinch of salt
460g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
Zest of a lime

250ml pure cream
200ml crème fraîche
1 mango, sliced into wedges
The pulp from two passionfruit
2tbsp coconut flakes
Zest of a lime


Preheat the oven to 150C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.

In a very clean bowl, place the egg whites with the pinch of salt in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on a low speed until the whites begin to break up. Increase the speed to low-medium and continue to whisk until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar, one teaspoon at a time. This will take around 10 minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat for two minutes. You should have a stiff and glossy meringue.

Fold in the corn flour, vinegar and lime zest by hand. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking tray and use a palette knife or spatula to form a circle around 23cm in diameter. Create a dome shape by smoothing the edges towards the centre and then create a slight dip in the centre, making the edges slightly higher than the centre.

Reduce the oven to 120C and bake the pavlova for approximately 1 hour or until the exterior has formed a crust. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova shell to cool in the oven completely for at least 3 hours.

Just before serving, whip the cream and crème fraîche to soft pillowy peaks. Spoon onto the pavlova shell and top with the mango and passionfruit. Scatter over the coconut flakes and the lime zest.

What else I’m cooking…

Galettes made with new season stone fruit. The last one I made had the flakiest pastry, a thin layer of frangipane and topped with slices of striking blood plums.

What else I’m eating…

Mince pies from Bread Club in North Melbourne. They are the most anti-mince pies mince pies I’ve ever had. These ones are subtle and not-too-sweet and are almost more apple than mince pie, which is maybe why I love them so much!

Click here to download recipe printout!

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