Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian
ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Colloquially referred to as "pav",
it is a cake of meringue with a crispy crust and a
soft, light interior.
Left: A pavlova garnished with strawberries,
bananas, kiwifruit and cream.
The dessert is believed to have been created to honour the dancer during or
after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Where it was
created and the nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between
the two nations for many years.
The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of
both countries, and is frequently served during celebratory or holiday meals
such as Christmas dinner.
Pavlova is made by beating egg whites (and sometimes salt) to
a very stiff consistency before folding in caster sugar, white vinegar,
cornstarch, and sometimes vanilla, and slow-baking the mixture to create the
meringue. This makes the outside of the pavlova a crisp crunchy shell, while
the interior remains soft and moist. The pavlova's internal consistency is thus
completely different from that normally associated with meringue, having more of
a soft marshmallow texture.
is traditionally decorated with a topping of whipped cream and fresh fruit of
sweet/tart flavours, such as strawberries and kiwifruit, or passionfruit and
banana or berries and peach slices. Raspberry is a popular topping in the United
Kingdom, with the tartness of raspberries contrasting with the sweetness of
Left: A homemade pavlova decorated
with pomegranate arils and Chantilly cream.
Leftover decorated pavlova can be refrigerated overnight, but the dessert will
absorb moisture from the air and lose its crispness. Undecorated pavlova can
safely be left overnight in the oven in which it was baked, to be decorated in