Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

The Difference between Meringue and Pavlova

Sweets! Sweets! Sweets! Don’t you get excited what dessert you’ll be having after a hearty meal? I always do, especially when I am in my grandmother’s house. My granny always creates the best desserts in the world. I remember, when we were little ones, whenever we saw a picture of a scrumptious looking dessert in a magazine, we run to her, show it and ask her to make one. She never failed to satisfy our sweet tooth. And when my mom or my aunts try to make one, it is just so different from hers. We really don’t know why this happens – maybe, just maybe, my granny has sweet powers.

I always love those elegant, sweet, crispy, thin crust with soft and gooey insides, top with whip cream and all the yummy fruits you can think of – All my life I thought they were undercooked meringue (because the center is marshmallow in consistency). It was only recently that I learned that those were not, they are actually Pavlova.

Oh well, if you are a lover of sweet stuff like me, then you must know the difference between Meringue and Pavlova. Otherwise, you might end up ordering the wrong dessert and get frustrated.


1Meringue had been claimed to originate from a Swiss village known as Meringue and during the 18th century, Gasparini, an Italian chef perfected the recipe. However, this was disputed and contested, stating that the origin was unknown. According to some sources, Meringue first appeared in Francois Massalot’s cookbook in 1962 and was translated in English in 1706. Nonetheless, whenever or wherever this awesome confection originated, we have to be grateful that we get to enjoy it today.

Meringue had defined the word crispy in the baking world.  A delightful meringue is crispy all the way through, which crumbles away and melts in the mouth.  But there are some that are chewy in the center (the kind that stubbornly sticks between the teeth). This results from high temperature baking or taking them out from the oven too soon. Of course, some people want this kind of meringue, as for me I really don’t.

Meringue is less complicated to make, compared to Pavlova. The basic ingredients are egg whites and sugar. Some add other flavorings such as lemon zest, vanilla, almond oil or the like and the key to perfect meringue is to bake it at low temperature. Ideally, this should turn out crisp and dry all throughout.


2Pavlova is a hugely popular dessert in the Australia and New Zealand regions. It is actually branded as their national dessert. It was created in honor of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova during her tour in both countries during the1920s. Pavlova has been a part of their national cuisine and often served celebrations and holidays.

The main difference between Meringue and Pavlova are the ingredients. While Pavlova is a Meringue based dessert, you have to add vinegar and cornflour to the basic ingredients of Meringue which are egg whites and sugar to achieve a marshmallow interior.

It is quite difficult to create a luxurious Pavlova, you have to follow a true recipe and adhere to its golden rule to avoid disasters. Some Pavlova “deflates” or sinks after baking, to avoid this you have to beat the egg whites until it is totally stiff and then beat it again upon adding sugar. But don‘t worry about it. The good thing about Pavlova is you can hide all the damages by decorating it with whip cream and fruits.

Final Sweet Thought!

Desserts are part of every meal, especially during special occasions and I am completely puzzled why these confections are able to make someone (especially me) smile and happy. So, whether you choose a delectable Meringue or a lovely Pavlova, I’m sure your dining experience will be quite unique and unforgettable.

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