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Baking Lemon Pavlova Meringue

Asked by Olga_19. Answered on 11th April 2019

Full question

Hello! I tried to cook the Lemon Pavlova and it went pretty well until I got it out of the oven after 1 hour of baking and 30 min of resting inside. It all cracked immediately. And when I cut it, it was raw inside. I followed all the instructions: baked at 130°C for 1 hour (convection mode). Why?

Lemon Pavlova
Photo by Keiko Oikawa
Lemon Pavlova
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Lemon Pavlova (from SIMPLY NIGELLA) has a large meringue base that is flavoured with lemon zest. Pavlova meringues are different to regular meringues as they have a crisp crust and a soft interior. They do tend to crack slightly so some cracking is normal and as the meringue is to be covered with lemon curd and whipped cream then this usually doesn't matter. If you take the meringue out of a warm oven to a cold or draughty place then this can also increase the likelihood of the meringue cracking. If possible, try to leave the meringue in the switched off oven, with the door ajar, until completely cold (preferably overnight). Nigella also often flips the meringue over to serve, so that the soft underside can meld with the topping.

We suspect that the centre is not actually undercooked but is typical of a classic pavlova meringue, with a soft, marshmallow-like centre. It should not be crisp and dried out all the way through. However, if it is wet or humid weather then this can affect the baking of all meringues and can lead to the meringue being slightly sticky (as the sugar in the meringue mixture attracts moisture from the air), though the meringue is still fine to eat.

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