Pavlova is a light and fluffy meringue dessert named after the ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova.

For the Australian recipe, see Australian Pavlova.
For the New Zealand recipe, see New Zealand Pavlova.

The origin of pavlova is uncertain, with Australians and New Zealanders both claiming the recipe as their own. Keith Money, a biographer of Anna Pavlova, wrote that a chef at a hotel in Wellington, New Zealand, created the dish when Pavlova visited there in 1926 on her world tour. Professor Helen Leach of Otago University in New Zealand found a pavlova recipe in a 1933 Rangiora Mothers' Union cookery book, including the correct name of the dish, the correct ingredients, and the correct cooking method. Professor Leach also has a copy of a pavlova recipe from a 1929 rural New Zealand magazine. Australians say the pavlova is based on a cake baked by Bert Sachse at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth on 3 October 1935, but Sachse's descendants believe that he may have come up with the recipe earlier, since Anna Pavlova visited Australia in 1926 and 1929 and died in 1931.

Pavlova is made by beating egg whites and salt to a very stiff consistency before folding in caster sugar, vanilla, and vinegar, and slow-baking the mixture to create the meringue. This makes the outside of the pavlova a crisp crunchy shell, while the interior remains soft and moist.

Pavlova is traditionally decorated with fresh fruit and whipped cream, notably strawberries, peach slices, passionfruit, and/or kiwifruit. Another common topping in Australia is grated Peppermint Crisp, a chocolate bar with hard peppermint flavouring. Factory-made pavlovas can be purchased at supermarkets and decorated as desired, but rarely achieve home-baked quality.

Leftover decorated pavlova can be stored in the fridge overnight, but will absorb moisture from the air and lose its crispness. Undecorated pavlova can safely be left overnight in the oven in which it was baked, to be decorated in the morning.

Further reading Edit

  • Leach, Helen M. (1997). The pavlova cake: the evolution of a national dish. In Harlan Walker (ed.), Food on the Move: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 1996 (pp. 219-223). Devon, England: Prospect Books. ISBN 0-907325-79-3.

References Edit

  • Boylen, Jeremy (reporter) (2004, August 20). Pavlova. George Negus Tonight, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
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