With its crispiness on the outside and soft, marshmallow-like within, the pavlova can create a perfect ending to a dinner of any kind as well as stir up diplomatic debates over its ‘territoire’. Both Australian and New Zealand claim to have invented it.
In 1935, an Australian chef called Bert Sachse creates the pavlova at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, honoring the Russian famous ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited Australia in 1926 and 1929. New Zealanders’ claim that pavlova had made an appearance in their country long before, precisely in 1919. After years of intense research, the recipe of pavlova dessert has been found in New Zealand cookery books dating 1929.
The Sydney Morning Herald food critic, Matthew Evans, argued that apart from all these palavers, “people have been doing meringue-like desserts with cream and fruits for a long time.” Therefore, it is somehow hard to believe that Australians or New Zealanders were the first to create this seemingly innocent pavlova. We cannot help but be grateful that this playful fusion of textures and flavors has been invented. Whether it meets the juicy, ripe berries, kiwifruits, passion fruits or any other fruits combination, pavlova is always a delightful dessert for summer entertaining.
Ingredients (serves 6)
4 egg whites
1 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot water
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
8 fl oz heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1lb (16 oz) strawberries, hulled, sliced
2 kiwifruit, peeled, sliced
1/2 lb (8oz) blueberries
Step1. Preheat oven to 275°F. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Make sure, that the bowl you are going to use for mixing is dry otherwise the moisture will stop the whites from aerating. Begin by whisking the whites using an electric mixer; gradually add the sugar, occasionally scraping down the side of the bowl. Once all the sugar is added, whisk for a little while until the mixture is thick and glossy allowing the sugar to dissolve completely. Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract, and the hot water all at once and continue whisking further for about 5 minutes.
Step 2. Spoon meringue onto prepared baking sheet making 6 mounds (about 1/4 cup each), living space in between; flatten the tops and using the back of a spoon, make a wide depression in the center of each mound. Place it in the oven, and bake for about 70 minutes; the pavlovas will get golden on outside but still soft on the inside. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlovas inside to cool completely.
Step 3. Beat the cream and sugar using the electric mixer, to soft peaks. Fill each pavlovas with the cream, and mound fruits on top of the cream. If you prefer, you can dust with powder sugar and serve.
The meringues can be made up to three months ahead and can be stored in the fridge for later use. You can mound your pavlovas with any type of fruits, depending of season, a good reason to get creative.
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