Pavlova Topped with Zesty Lemon

Pavlova topped with zesty lemon is a delightful dessert that combines the lightness of meringue with the brightness of lemon. This recipe creates a crisp and chewy meringue base topped with whipped cream and a tangy lemon syrup, resulting in a perfect balance of flavors and textures.


For the Pavlova Base:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Lemon Topping:

  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Fresh berries, for garnish (optional)

Equipment Needed

  • Stand mixer or hand mixer
  • Baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Mixing bowls
  • Saucepan
  • Whisk


Making the Pavlova Base

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.
  3. Gradually add the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and the mixture is glossy.
  4. Gently fold in the cornstarch, white vinegar, and vanilla extract until well combined.
  5. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, forming a circle approximately 8 inches in diameter with slightly raised edges.
  6. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the pavlova is crisp on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova to cool completely with the oven door slightly ajar.

Preparing the Lemon Topping

  1. In a saucepan, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, and granulated sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Assembling the Pavlova

  1. In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form.
  2. Carefully transfer the pavlova base to a serving platter.
  3. Spoon the whipped cream onto the center of the pavlova and spread it out evenly.
  4. Drizzle the cooled lemon syrup over the whipped cream.
  5. Garnish with fresh berries, if desired.

Tips for Success

  1. Use Fresh, High-Quality Ingredients: Start with fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best flavor and texture. This includes using fresh eggs for the meringue and ripe, juicy lemons for the lemon topping.
  2. Room Temperature Egg Whites: Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature before whipping them. Room temperature egg whites whip up to a greater volume and create a more stable meringue.
  3. Clean Equipment: Ensure that your mixing bowl and whisk are clean and completely dry before whipping the egg whites. Any grease or moisture can prevent the egg whites from reaching their full volume.
  4. Gradually Add Sugar: When making the meringue, gradually add the granulated sugar to the whipped egg whites, one tablespoon at a time. This helps the sugar dissolve evenly and creates a smooth, glossy meringue.
  5. Stiff Peaks: Whip the egg whites until they reach stiff peaks. This means that when you lift the whisk, the peaks of meringue should stand up straight without collapsing.
  6. Low and Slow Baking: Bake the pavlova at a low temperature (around 250°F or 120°C) for a longer period of time. This low and slow baking process helps to dry out the meringue without browning it too much.
  7. Cooling Period: After baking, allow the pavlova to cool completely in the oven with the door slightly ajar. This gradual cooling helps prevent the meringue from collapsing or cracking.
  8. Fresh Lemon Zest and Juice: For the zesty lemon topping, use freshly grated lemon zest and juice for the best flavor. Avoid using bottled lemon juice, as it may lack the fresh, vibrant flavor of fresh lemons.
  9. Balance of Sweetness and Tartness: Adjust the amount of sugar in the lemon syrup to balance the sweetness with the tartness of the lemons. Taste the syrup as you cook it, and add more sugar if needed.
  10. Whipped Cream Stability: Whip the heavy cream until it reaches stiff peaks before topping the pavlova. This helps the whipped cream hold its shape and prevents it from becoming too runny.

Variations and Serving Suggestions


  1. Berry Bliss: Instead of lemon, top your Pavlova with a medley of fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. The vibrant colors and sweet-tart flavors will complement the light and airy meringue beautifully.
  2. Citrus Burst: Experiment with different citrus fruits for a refreshing twist. Try topping your Pavlova with segments of oranges, grapefruits, or a combination of both. The citrusy flavors will add a bright and zesty contrast to the sweet meringue base.
  3. Tropical Paradise: Transport yourself to a tropical paradise by topping your Pavlova with slices of ripe mango, pineapple chunks, and toasted coconut flakes. Drizzle with a passion fruit or mango coulis for an extra burst of exotic flavor.
  4. Chocolate Indulgence: For all the chocolate lovers out there, consider adding a decadent touch to your Pavlova by sprinkling it with grated dark chocolate or cocoa powder. Pair it with fresh strawberries or raspberries for a delightful chocolate-berry combination.
  5. Nutty Delight: Add a crunchy texture to your Pavlova by sprinkling chopped nuts such as toasted almonds, hazelnuts, or pistachios on top. The nutty flavor complements the sweetness of the meringue and adds a delightful contrast.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Whipped Cream Swirls: Serve each slice of Pavlova with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream on top. You can also swirl the whipped cream using a piping bag for an elegant presentation.
  2. Fresh Mint Garnish: Add a pop of color and freshness to your Pavlova by garnishing it with fresh mint leaves. The vibrant green leaves not only enhance the visual appeal but also complement the citrusy flavors.
  3. Edible Flowers: For a touch of elegance, decorate your Pavlova with edible flowers such as pansies, violets, or rose petals. These delicate blooms add a whimsical charm to the dessert and make it perfect for special occasions.
  4. Lemon Curd Drizzle: Elevate the zesty lemon flavor by drizzling a spoonful of homemade or store-bought lemon curd over each slice of Pavlova. The tangy curd adds an extra layer of indulgence and complements the sweetness of the meringue.
  5. Fresh Fruit Coulis: Create a vibrant fruit coulis by blending your favorite berries or tropical fruits with a touch of sugar and lemon juice. Drizzle the coulis over the Pavlova just before serving for a burst of fruity flavor and a stunning presentation.

Health Benefits of Lemon

  • Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system and may help protect against colds and flu.
  • The citric acid in lemons may aid digestion and promote healthy skin.
  • Adding lemon zest to dishes can enhance flavor without adding extra calories or sodium.


Pavlova topped with zesty lemon is a refreshing and elegant dessert that is perfect for any occasion. With its crisp meringue base, creamy whipped cream, and tangy lemon topping, it’s sure to impress your guests and leave them craving more.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can I make the pavlova base ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can make the pavlova base up to one day in advance. Store it in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to assemble.
  2. Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons?
    • While fresh lemon juice is preferred for the best flavor, bottled lemon juice can be used as a substitute if necessary.
  3. How long will the assembled pavlova keep?
    • The assembled pavlova is best enjoyed the same day it is made. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days, though the texture may soften slightly.
  4. Can I freeze the pavlova base?
    • Yes, the pavlova base can be frozen for up to one month. Thaw it in the refrigerator before assembling and serving.
  5. Can I use a different type of fruit for the topping?
    • Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different fruits such as berries, kiwi, or passionfruit to create your own unique pavlova creation.

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