The issue of the origins of the Pavlova dessert is a contentious one in the southwestern Pacific region. New Zealanders and Australians like to debate the topic of its national origins. I *think* it’s a friendly debate, though I can’t say for sure. Apparently, a chef at a hotel in Wellington created this light and sweet dessert for Anna Pavlova in the 20’s. Or was it the chef in Perth in 1935?
At any rate, it’s incredible. I encountered Pavlova as a recent transplant from the NH and have been addicted ever since. It’s crispy and light on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside. Its delicious and melts on your tongue, leaving behind a soft kiss of sugar.
The meringue base is typically made of egg whites, vinegar, sugar, cornflour (or in American-speak, cornstarch) and a bit of salt. I’ve also seen recipes that include cream of tartar, vanilla and etc but I’m not sure if that’s allowed. I’m not from around here.
Once the dreamy meringue base cools, antipodean cooks top it with whipped cream and fruit. My favorite is strawberry, blueberry and kiwi. My husband says a Pavlova isn’t a Pavlova without passionfruit, though. Isn’t it a pretty pretty dish?
It’s so pretty, I used the fruity colors and the shades of meringue to create the color palette we used for the Pavlova Wrap Top & Skirt’s cover art. How’s that for thematic harmony?
At any rate, I recently asked my Australian mother-in-law if she’d mind teaching us all to make Pavlova. I adore the dish, and hers is the best I’ve ever had. She said yes! The trick is to coordinate, and get all the good action shots and etc. We’ll do that in the next few weeks, and I’ll be sure to share!
Meanwhile- Kiwis and Aussies, tell me who has the best claim to the creation of the Pavlova, or did the OED ruling in 2010 end the discussion? What do you top yours with? What goes into the base? Want to share your recipe? Everyone else: have you had the privilege of feasting on this delicacy? Have you ever heard of it?
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