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Custard Powder Pavlova

Custard powder pavlova topped with strawberries

Every good cook has a secret ingredient up their sleeves that can transform a recipe. Sometimes the ingredient is a long-term favourite or an accidental discovery. I’ve known for a while that a cheeky spoonful of cornflour to meringue mixture gives the centre that glorious chewiness that most shop bought meringues lack. I’ve also used cornflour in sponge mix to make them fluffier.

Piped pavlova base

Bird’s Custard Powder was invented by Mr Bird for his wife who was allergic to the main ingredient in traditional custard; eggs. Custard powder is essentially vanilla flavoured cornflour with a pinch of salt and tiny bit of colour, so I decided if bog-standard cornflour works in meringue surely custard powder must work too. As well as the chewy meringue centre, the custard powder gives subtle vanilla taste along with a golden colour. Similar hue to when you make meringues with golden caster sugar. Of course if you don’t have custard powder to hand just use cornflour.

Custard powder pavlova base with red  swirls

What I love about pavlova is that they are the kind of dessert that everyone loves and this was perfect for our housewarming BBQ. It was made even sweeter when one of my pupils gave me a couple of punnets of deliciously sweet local strawberries grown on her parent’s farm. In fact if you have bought some strawberries from a certain supermarket recently it’s likely you will have eaten some from this particular farm.

Meringue, cream and strawberries. A perfect summertime combination.

Custard Powder Pavlova
Serves 8-12

  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon custard powder
  • 300ml whipping cream
  • punnet of strawberries


  1. In a clean metal bowl whip the egg whites until you have soft peaks.
  2. While continuing to whip the eggs whites (this is when a free-standing mixer comes in handy) add the sugar one tablespoon at a time waiting 5 seconds before adding the next spoonful. You’ll notice the egg whites begin to take on a glossy appearance.
  3. Sprinkle the custard power over the meringue and whisk for a further 5 seconds.
  4. Using a metal spoon (to help make sure the egg whites don’t collapse) transfer the mixture into a piping bag then on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment pipe a base with an approximate diameter of 8 inches.
  5. Use the remaining meringe mixture to pipe blobs (technical term) around the edge of the base. To get the  coloured swirls, dip a clean cocktail stick in some red food dye then swirl in the blobs.
  6. Bake at 140°c for 1 hour then without opening the door, switch off oven then leave in the oven overnight to finish drying out.
  7. When ready to serve beat the whipping cream until you have soft peaks. Spoon on top of the meringue then top with fresh strawberries.

Custard Powder Pavlova with strawberries

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Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2013/06/18/custard-powder-pavlova/


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  1. George@CulinaryTravels

    Looks lovely Jules. Loving the red swirls.

  2. caro

    looks great and I always throw a spoonful of custard powder in the cheesecake mix

    1. Jules

      Caro, I’ll have to try custard powder next time I make cheesecake.

  3. trixpin

    Stunning. It looks amazing!

  4. Kirsty Brown

    Looks fab! What do you do with the egg yolks though. I’d hate to just throw them away

    1. Jules

      I often use the extra yolks in something like custard or quiche. The quiche can then be frozen.

  5. thelittleloaf

    That does look like a very delicious meringue – intrigued about the custard powder!

  6. thingswemake.co.uk

    You are right…everyone loves a pav. I shall use your recipe next time I make one.

  7. sliceofbarnes

    Custard powder in meringue…. genius!

  8. Hip Hop Shop

    It looks amazing!!!!!!!

  9. Lauren Gurteen

    Nice idea -I’ll have to try it out! :) Like the history to the birds eye custard!

  10. Glenda - Dining In

    Think I will give this a go.

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