At first glance, one could think, by the name of this dessert, that it is a dessert of Slavic origin. Far from it! Pavlova is almost the national dessert in New Zealand.
It is a meringue crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. It is generously topped with whipped cream and garnished with a choice of fresh fruits, puree or coulis.
Pavlova was invented in honor of Anna Pavlova, the famous Russian ballerina, who happened to travel to New Zealand and Australia in the 20s. Until today, these two countries are fighting over the ownership of this dessert. However, Anna Pavlova’s biographers are clear: the manager of the hotel where the ballerina stayed at in Wellington (New Zealand), has created it in her honor in 1926.
I really enjoyed working the different layers of this dessert which, according to me, represents the essence of lightness. I was invited to a birthday party a few hours after I finished making the pavlova. I decided to take it with me as I sincerely wanted to have the opinion of my friends about this dessert that I made for the first time. They loved it!
I had the great pleasure of taking part in the friendliest and funniest scene: my friends Sarah, Laetitia, Yael, Eva, Vanessa and Vanessa (sorry if I forget anyone) sitting on a staircase laughing and talking about changing the world while sipping and enjoying (I hope) my pavlova!
One of my favorite tasters who shall remain nameless (Laure, I promised I would not tell that I am talking about you) has indeed found it airy, but much too sweet.
- 5 egg whites
- 1 cup icing sugar
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 vanilla pod
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Fruits (e.g. kiwis and strawberries)
- Food coloring (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200 F. Spread butter and sugar the edges of a springform pan.
- Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt, while slowly adding sugars, cornstarch, vinegar, and the seeds extracted from the vanilla bean.
- Beat until stiff peaks form. The meringue should be shiny and firm.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the springform pan on the parchment paper (or on the removable base).
- Using a pastry bag, form meringue sticks (or other shape) around the springform pan.
- Coat the entire bottom with a thick layer of meringue (about 2 in). Make sure to create a well where the cream will be placed after cooking.
- Bake for 2 hours.
- Turn off the oven and leave the meringue inside until completely cooled.
- Unmold the meringue gently and set aside.
- Whip the heavy cream while gradually adding coloring and vanilla extract.
- Spread the whipped cream on the meringue with a spatula or a pastry bag.
- Place fruits on top (kiwis, strawberries or others).