Who actually invented pavlova? Which side of the Tasman did it really come from? Australians are always quick to claim the origin of anything great from our part of the world, but to solve the mystery of the pavlova's beginnings, there is cold, hard evidence that proves pavlova was first made in New Zealand.
The first reference to the pav can be found in Keith Money's biography of the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova, the first ballerina to tour ballet around the world. In 1926, on the New Zealand leg of her world tour, a chef at a Wellington hotel created the masterpiece dessert for her. The white meringue and fresh cream was modelled to look like the ballerina's tutu and it is rumoured that it was one of the reasons she returned for her encore in 1929.
Many Australians have claimed that it was the Herbie Bert Sachse who fashioned the pud from his imagination in the kitchen of the Esplanade Hotel in Perth. The trouble is, that was a few years too late, in 1935. And it wasn't really until the 1940s when pavlovas started showing up in Australian cookbooks.
If you still need more proof, it comes from the reputable Oxford Dictionary, declaring the first recorded recipe of pavlova was published in 1927 in New Zealand.
So next time a spoonful of pavlova is melting in your mouth, think of lush green bush, pristine rivers, lakes and mountains, not red dust and rocks - it's how it was meant to be!
Anna Pavlova in The Dying Swan, in an outfit that inspired the meringue and cream of the pavlova.
Mmmm, pavlova. Who doesn't love it? Smothered with whipped cream and covered in kiwifruit or strawberries; The perfect dessert for those warm summer evenings.
Here are a couple of recipes to create your masterpiece. The first one easier but sweeter. Always have egg whites at room temperature and not too fresh. Make sure you don't get any yoke in them.
Garnish with fresh whipped cream and fruit (kiwifruit and strawberries recommended).
Recipes based on conventional ovens - not fan.
Yield: 1 delicious pav
2 egg whites
1-1/2 cups castor sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon cornflour
4 tablespoons boiling water
Combine all ingredients in mixer bowl. Beat on high speed until mixture is very stiff (approx 15 mins).
Brush tray lightly with melted butter, dust with sifted cornflour, shake off excess.
Pile mixture onto prepared tray. Shape as desired.
Place in preheated oven. Bake for 10 mins at 160C. Reduce heat to 100C. Bake for a further 30 mins. Turn heat off. Open oven door 4 to 5 cm and leave pavlova to cool in oven.
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 cup castor sugar
1 teasp vinegar
Beat egg whites till very stiff. Add pinch of salt. Add 3/4 cup sugar gradually, beating all the time. Lastly fold in 1/4 cup castor sugar and 1 teasp. vinegar.
Place on greased paper or tray, a small round, piled high. 130C 1-1/2hrs.