Strawberry Pavlova with Saffron Custard

Ben Batterbury

True South Dining Room at the Rees Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand

Ben Batterbury serves this light and elegant pavlova with a lemon verbena ice cream.



  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

Saffron Custard:

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 large pinch saffron
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Mascarpone Filling:

  • 8 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 4 tablespoons mashed strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Strawberry Sauce:

  • 2 cup washed and hulled strawberries, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon


To make the pavlova, preheat the oven to 220ºF. Place the egg whites, caster sugar, cornstarch, and white vinegar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until the mixture is thick, shiny, and holds stiff peaks. Spread the meringue into an 8-inch disc on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using a spatula, create an inch-wide border around the top. Place in the oven and bake for an hour, until the outside is crisp but the inside is still soft.

To make the saffron custard, place the milk and saffron in a small sauté pan and warm slightly over the stove. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse for an hour. Place the egg yolks, flour, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Bring the saffron milk to a boil, then slowly add to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the custard mixture into the sauté pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes, until the custard is very thick. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Reserve in the refrigerator until needed.

To make the filling, combine the mascarpone, mashed strawberries, icing sugar, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Reserve in the refrigerator until needed.

To make the strawberry sauce, place 1 cup of the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and purée until smooth. the sauce through a fine sieve and reserve until needed.

To serve, cut the remaining 1 cup strawberries into quarters. Mix 1/2 cup of the quartered strawberries with the strawberry sauce. Spoon the saffron custard onto a large serving plate and top with the pavlova, followed by the mascarpone filling. Spoon the strawberry sauce mixture on top. Finish with the remaining undressed strawberries.


6 to 8 servings