Passion fruit pavlova to celebrate CookSister’s 7th birthday

PassionFruitPavlova © J Horak-Druiff 2011



So… what can you do in seven years?  Depending on who and where you are, you can:

Or alternatively you can write 1,000 blog posts, take thousands of pictures with four different digital cameras, meet dozens of amazing, talented, passionate people (including your long lost sister-from-another-mother!), cultivate a serious addiction to buying single place settings of pretty cutlery, and develop an inability to allow any morsel of food to pass your lips before photographing it.

Yup, you can become a food blogger.

Seven years ago today, I put up my first recipe post (boerewors and butternut risotto) late one Sunday night.  I had no digital camera so there was a fuzzy webcam picture to illustrate the post; html, jpeg, SEO and CSS were just a host of meaningless acronyms to me; and my entire page was a not-so-subtle mustard yellow (!).  Today, I am shooting with my second digital SLR; I have ditched the mustard yellow; and for the past three days, I have been one of the presenters of From Plate to Page, the first hands-on food writing and photography workshop in Europe, and people actually came to hear my advice on writing about food.  Baby, you’ve come a long way in seven years!!


I am always in awe of those bloggers who manage to plan far enough ahead to bake a cake and put up a proper birthday post full of highlights of the year in honour of their blog birthday.  And even after seven years, I am still not organised enough to do this… but I knew that I had to put up something sweet to honour a milestone in a world where many blogs don’t make it past the first six months!

I have written about granadilla (or passion fruit) Pavlova previously, for Barbara’s A Taste of Yellow event – but on that occasion I was pressed for time and I used meringue nests bought from the supermarket.  Now some store-bought ingredients are hard to distinguish from their home made versions, but let me assure you 100% that supermarket meringues are not on this list.  Store-bought meringues can never attain the crispy/chewy heights of deliciousness that home-made ones can, so when I recently made passion fruit pavlova again for an article in the South African Times magazine, I decided to make the meringue bases myself.  Store-bought meringues take on a ghostly white appearance, as if they are fresh snow in a slightly more solid form, with uniform ridges that are a dead giveaway of mass production.   By comparison, home-made meringues are a lightly caramelized colour, full of cracks, lumps and bumps – more like a living thing than a mass-produced sweet. But the biggest difference is on the inside.  Whereas the store-bought meringues crumble to fine dust in your fingers and melt instantly away on your tongue, the home-made variety may come coated in the same layer of brittle sweetness, but inside they are chewy and gooey and altogether more substantial, like an unexpected surprise gift.  The secret to achieving this texture is to start the baking process at a higher temperature but to reduce it immediately when you put the meringues in the oven.  In return for very little attention to detail, you will be rewarded with meringues that are not only prettier but far more intriguing than their store-bought cousins, and the tart granadilla pulp makes a wonderful partner to the sweet meringue.




PASSION FRUIT PAVLOVA (makes 2 large nests, enough for 4 people)


2 large egg whites
112g caster sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
175ml double cream
pulp from 3 fresh granadillas


Pre-heat the oven to 180C and cover a large baking sheet with baking parchment. Whisk the egg whites until they just form stiff and shiny peaks. Add the sugar gradually and mix whisk really well between additions. Continue whisking for another 3-4 minutes after all the sugar is added, until the meringue forms stiff and glossy peaks.  Whisk in the cornflour and vinegar.

With a pencil, draw two circles of about 10-15cm in diameter.  Spoon the egg mixture onto the baking parchment and use a palette knife to spread a thick layer of the egg mix in the circle.  You can also make a depression in the centre and build up a ridge around the circumference of each circle if you want nests.

Put the baking sheet in the oven and immediately turn down the temperature down to 120C.  Bake for 1½ hours, then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven until completely cold. (Don’t worry if the meringue looks cracked – that adds to its visual and textural appeal!)

Peel the baking parchment off the meringues and place on a serving dish. Whip the cream together with sugar until soft peaks start to form.  Halve the granadillas and scoop out the pulp.  Spoon half the cream onto the centre of each Pavlova and serve immediately.

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider sharing it using the social media buttons below the post. I'd also love to hear what you thought about this post so please do leave a comment below. Hope to see you again soon!

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  1. says

    In 7 years you’ve become an icon as witnessed by this well-written and beautifully illustrated blog. Congratulations…keep doing what you’re doing!

  2. says

    congratulations on 7 years – that seems such a lot of blogging and inspirational recipes – nice to see you are still going strong (though I miss WTSIM)

  3. says

    I can’t belive you have been blogging for 7 years. You must have been one of the very first bloggers around then. Wow! Happy blogoversary! And celebrating with such a devine looking dish…

  4. says

    Seven years… that is an impressively long time Jeanne! Congratulations on your blog-0-versary! I so loved meeting you in person this weekend at Plate2Page… Gorgeous pavlova too! Is that the one we didn’t get to make this weekend? :)

  5. says

    Congratulations on 7 amazing years of blogging. My life changed in so many good ways when I first came across Cooksister and that was not long after you started blogging. I was a lurker in those days teehee….too afraid to register and type comments. And now I have a second daughter :) Well done on the Plate2Page workshop. I have followed every tweet and am so proud of you. You so deserve all the recognition. Love you to bits. xx

  6. says

    Wow, 7 years! Congratulations! Thank you for publishing such an inspiring blog, especially to us South Africans! And what a beautiful picture of your pavlova…

  7. says

    Happy bloggiversary Jeanne – our very own blogging legend! Agree with you on homemade meringues – I just love that soft-chewy texture on the insides. Can’t be beaten.
    PS: I’d love to catch a glimpse of that mustard colour scheme… Hehe. If it makes you feel better, mine used to be purple!

  8. says

    7 years?! Thats a million years according to internet. Happy happy birthday to your fabulous blog. Its always so inspiring to see how people and blogs grow over time and brings such great joy to people’s life. Thank you! And here’s to another million years :-)
    P.S. I love that recipe!

  9. Ursula says

    Just think – I have about 6 years of archives to catch up on! 😉
    Where, oh where, do you get fresh granadillas in England? I’m hoping there might be some international supplier!

  10. says

    Congrats on seven years, what an amazing achievement!!! It was so wonderful to meet you this weekend at Plate to Page, and I have a feeling this pavlova will soon be made in my kitchen :)

  11. says

    There is a Jesuit Maxim which goes something like: ‘Give me a child until the age of seven, and I will show you the man’. Over the past seven years of writing ‘Cook Sister’ you have shown us all the way food blogging should be. We (your loyal readers) have got to know you, your friends and family, likes and dislikes, and your blog has just got better and better – and thats not only because of better cameras/pics etc. So this is a very special anniversary. Well done you.

  12. says

    Jeanne, congratulations on such a roaring success! Wow 7 years seems like forever to me and you have really gone far! And no matter if prepared or ill-prepared, each and every one of your blog posts are perfection to me and as a writer your posts are my favorites to read! I have learned so much from you and your encouragement and support means the world to me. And working/speaking/presenting with you has been an incredible experience – what a team – and I hope it goes on and on! I raise my glass and drink to not only many more years of blogging, writing and photographic success for you but to our friendship! xo

  13. says

    1. Happy Anniversary
    2. Pavlovas are my downfall
    3. Passion fruit…well hello! When ever I get a chance I do many things with this fruit, especially rum drinks
    4. Your 7th year anniversary coinsides with my granddaughter’s 7th birthday
    Have a wonderful weekend and I love your bloog…

  14. says

    7 YEARS? Wow, that’s huge! I have no idea where I and Indian Simmer will be in the next seven years but you sure have achieved great heights my friend with this gorgeous blog of yours! Congratulations to you cheers to many many more years of success and glory to you and to Cooksister blog :-)

  15. says

    Happy 7th anniversary – and congratulations on keeping up so many good and regular posts all this time – speaking as one who forgot her blogiversary altogether this year and let more than two months go by between posts, I know that regular is the hardest thing to sustain over several years!
    I love pavlovas amd granadilla goes so beautifully with them too.

  16. says

    Happy happy blog anniversary my dearest sister from another mother! If it was not for blogging – we would not have met so yeah you’ve come a long way baby and boy am I glad it brought us together. The pavlova looks incredible you’ll need to make this for me the next time.