Pavlova, or pav as it’s often called in Australia and New Zealand is a meringue-based dessert that is very popular in these two countries, who each claim it as their own creation. The dish is named in honour of the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova who apparently left an impression during one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.
The actual name of the creator and which of the two countries was this persons home is a source of much debate and the recipe has become a national dish in both. This dessert is frequently served during holiday meals such as Christmas dinner in both countries. I’ve put it as part of my Australia recipe collection since as a national dish the argument as to origin is meaningless.
- 4 egg whites at room temperature
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup fresh fruit (kiwis and strawberries are traditional)
a pastry bag and star tips (a pastry bag is not essential, it just makes your meringue look better)
baking parchment paper
- Pre-heat oven to 250º F.
- Put the egg whites in a large glass bowl. Add vinegar and whisk until it becomes foamy.
- Slowly add in sugar and continue to whisk until a stiff meringue is formed.(will peak when a spoon is inserted and removed)
- Add the cornstarch and vanilla, whisking a few more times. (Do not over-whisk)
- Wet the baking paper, crinkle it up and line the baking sheet with it. Draw a circle on the paper as an outline for the meringue, then turn it over. Add a tip to your pastry bag. (Star tips, open or closed, work well). Fill your pastry bag about half full with the meringue and twist it closed. Squeeze the pastry bag and make a meringue circle about 10 inches in diameter on the paper following the outline. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, use a spoon to mound the meringue on the paper and make a well in the middle, creating a bowl-shaped shell).
- When your circle is done, pipe individual stars along the edge, following the circle you created. Continue to layer these until you have a deep bowl.
- Place the meringue in the oven for 45 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the meringue in for another hour, or until it is completely cool. You can even leave it overnight.
- While the meringue is in the oven, cut up your fruit.
- Remove the meringue bowl from the oven. Make sure it’s nice and cool.
- Whip the cream until stiff.
- Fill the meringue bowl with whipped cream and put the fruit on top.
- Serve promptly, so the meringue doesn’t get soggy from the cream.