Which country the great New Zealand pavlova originates from has caused as many arguments amongst Kiwi’s and Aussies. Almost as much as where the band Crowded House are from. It’s an age old debate which may result in the answer being neither. Wherever it was created really doesn’t matter. It’s a delicious dessert and timelessly unfashionable. It is also a dessert best enjoyed in big portions.
Actually, the New Zealand pavlova is more soft and marshmallowy inside with cream and kiwifruit, whereas the Australian meringue is much crunchier and the classic topping is cream and passionfruit.
The pavlova is named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer, after one of her tours in New Zealand and Australia. Later it was claimed that the dessert was based on a German dish and was first cooked in the United States. Wherever it originated, the recipe below is definitely a classic Kiwi masterpiece and will give you a centre which is soft and sweet.
6 egg whites (older eggs work best)
2 cups of caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons cornflour
How to get create the perfect Kiwi pavlova
Pre-heat the oven to 110ºC
Line a baking tray with grease proof paper
Beat in the egg whites in a metal or ceramic bowl (not plastic) and begin to add in the sugar slowly one spoonful at a time until soft peaks form. You’ll know its ready when peaks begin to form and they don’t move or drop down. You should be beating for approximately 20 minutes and want to be sure that all the sugar is properly dissolved. Next beat in the vinegar, vanilla and cornflour.
Once it is ready, heap the pavlova onto the grease proof paper in a circular shape and with a fork, form peaks on top for design. Bake on 110ºC for 1.5 hours and do not open the oven door until the cooking is finished and the oven has cooled. This is really important.
Once it’s done, you can decorate with cream and fruit. Physalis, Kiwifruit and strawberries work very well. Next is the acid test and my favourite part, the eating.