Pavlova, Australia’s counterpart to the Filipino Brazo de Mercedes, is Missy’s favored meringue dessert, packed with an irresistible vanilla flavor. This delightful treat traces its origins to the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova, who inspired a dessert as ethereal as her performance. Though its ownership may be a matter of debate between Australians and Kiwis, its deliciousness is universally agreed upon. 

Missy’s Vanilla-flavored Pavlova is a customizable delight that can be garnished with a variety of fruits. She beautifully decorates it with mango, passionfruit, blackberries, and edible flowers, but the options are limitless. A topping of ripe, juicy mango slices, for instance, can add a tropical twist to the dessert. Regardless of the choice of fruit, this meringue is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser at any gathering.

This meringue dessert is akin to the Pinoy Brazo de Mercedes in its luscious and light texture, but Missy adds her unique spin, making it her own. Her Pavlova carries a piece of her memorable semester abroad in Australia, and through her cooking, she shares this experience with everyone. So why not try recreating Missy’s Brazo de Mercedes at home? It might just be the dish to earn you the title of “the cool one” in your group. And while you’re at it, why not attempt the Pavlova as well? After all, whether it’s Australian Meringue or Pinoy Brazo de Mercedes, there’s always room for more dessert!

Ingredients: 6 servings

4 egg whites
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp white distilled vinegar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (optional: lightly draw a 7″ circle in the center of your parchment paper).
  2. In a small food processor or blender, process sugar until fine. Set aside 1/4 cup for later.
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat egg whites on low until stiff peaks form (about 2-3 minutes).
  4. Slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar to the egg whites, about 1 to 2 tsp at a time, continuing to beat constantly (about 20-25 minutes). Do not rush through, or meringue will flatten.
  5. After sugar is thoroughly dissolved into mixture, the meringue should be smooth and glossy.
  6. Mix cornstarch together with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, then use a rubber spatula to gently fold mixture into the meringue. Next, continuing to fold gently, add vinegar, followed by vanilla extract.
  7. Using rubber spatula, gently scoop meringue onto parchment paper in a 7″ circle, and create a shallow bowl in the center of the meringue.
  8. Set in the oven on the center rack and, immediately after closing the oven door, lower the heat to 250 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  9. After 1 hour and 15 minutes, turn the heat off – leave the oven door closed. Allow pavlova to cool in the oven for 30 minutes, then crack oven door open and let it cool completely for at least another 30 minutes before removing. Take note and follow the cooling instructions. Any rush through will flatten the meringue and could ruin the process.
  10. Pavlova should have a hard shell, but the inside will be moist. Some cracking is okay, but if the meringue weeps from the bottom it has been baked for too long.
  11. After cooling, top this delicious, vanilla-flavored pavlova with fresh whipped cream, then decorate with fresh fruits.

Tips: For a traditional Pavlova or Brazo de Mercedes recipe, top with a layer of freshly whipped cream followed by passionfruit, strawberries, and kiwis. While this delicious meringue and cream are already sweet, contrasting with a sour fruit (i.e. passionfruit) brings out a beautiful, flavorful balance that will keep you coming back for another piece.