Secret Centre Mini Pavlovas

11:30 am on 2 September 2013

These instructions are lengthy, but only because I want to hold your hand every step of the way. Once you've got the hang of them you'll probably never need to consult this recipe again, as it's so easy. Crisp, dissolvingly-sugary meringue encases a sneaky melting chunk of chocolate or a saucy spoonful of jam. I love these with the darkest of chocolate, or with apricot or raspberry jam. I've also tried a spoonful of brown sugar to see what happened – it kind of bled into the mixture, but wasn't unsuccessful. Chocolate is probably my favourite, though. I suppose you could use chocolate buttons here, since they're a good size, but I have trouble finding any that actually taste like chocolate – hence going to the trouble of breaking squares from a block. You're also welcome to use an electric beater, I just didn't have one at the time, but they do come together a lot faster than these lengthy paragraphs would suggest.


  • 2 egg whites
  • a pinch of salt
  • 100g sugar
  • 8 squares of dark chocolate or jam of your choice (or both!) for filling


Preheat your oven to 150 C, and line a baking tray with baking paper. Break the chocolate, if you're using it, into individual squares.

Place the egg whites and the pinch of salt in a clean, non-plastic bowl. I like to quickly wipe out the inside of the bowl with a vinegar-dampened paper towel or half a cut lemon first just to really remove any traces of pavlova-crushing fat. Whisk the egg whites for around five minutes, or until you can lift the whisk up out of the bowl and a peak of foamy egg white remains below it. If it's still kind of liquid and flat, then keep whisking. Once you have achieved that soft-peak stage, continue to whisk as you add the sugar a teaspoon at a time. The mixture will grow thicker and thicker. You can add the sugar in larger amounts as you go along. Continue whisking energetically until the mixture is very stiff and shiny.

Dollop a tablespoonful of the egg white mixture onto the baking tray. Carefully place a piece of chocolate or a half-teaspoon of jam in the centre, on top. Then, spoon a smaller dollop of egg white mixture over the top to seal in the filling completely. Continue, till you have eight fat mini-pavlovas.

Bake for 30 minutes – although check after 25 – to see how brown they are on top. Turn off the oven and leave them undisturbed for 10 minutes, before removing the tray. These are just as enthralling with the centres warmly gushing into your mouth as you bite into them, as they are cold later on.