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The Great Australian Pavlova

Updated on December 5, 2014

I'm Passionate about Pavlova

The Pavlova was first created in 1925 by Chef Herbert Sachse of the Hotel Esplanade in Perth, Western Australia, to celebrate the visit of the legendary Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova.

It has been suggested (only in New Zealand) that this enticing dessert was originally created in the North Island of New Zealand, but let me assure you that the Pavlova is definitely an Australian invention.

In no way do I call the New Zealand Claim an outright cold-blooded lie - I merely point out that New Zealanders are grossly misinformed. It's an understandable mistake, the Kiwis (as we Australians call New Zealanders) across the Tasman are constantly claiming Australian inventions, innovations and inspirations as their own.

Now, let me introduce you to that most delightful Australian dessert, the perfect Pavlova.


The Kiwis are wrong!

The Pavlova is Aussie

Pavlova with Mango and Banana - Absolutely Australian

Before you start the Meringue Base

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F - 130 degrees C.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and draw a 7 inch (18 cm) circle on the paper. Place this on a tray.

Be careful with the eggs . Let them come to room temperature, cold eggs don't whip to such a light, fluffy mass. Separate them.

You need a really clean glass bowl to whip up egg whites. To clean any unseen oily marks, wipe your bowl with a little lemon juice.

Ingredients for the Meringue base

The Pavlova is essentially a large meringue with a light, delicate, crisp crust and soft sweet centre served with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

You can make the base the day before.

* 4 large egg whites

* 1 cup caster(superfine) sugar

* 1 teaspoon white vinegar

* 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)

Making the Meringue Base

The Traditional Method

Whip the eggs until they are standing in 'soft peaks' (ie the mixture forms a little peak when you lift out the whisk). I use my electric mixer although my mother, in what she used to call the traditional recipe, always whisked the eggs by hand.

Tip one third of the sugar into the whites and whisk it in thoroughly.

Add the rest of the sugar in two parts, whisking between adding them.

Finally stir the vinegar and cornflour over the top of the meringue and gently fold in with either a silicon spatula, or a metal spoon.

Dollop the mixture onto the prepared tray and spread it out to fit the circle, smoothing the edges, and make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the.centre.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.

Pavlova with Strawberry and Banana - Another Absolutely Australian Pavlova

How to make the Meringue Base

Whip the eggs until they are standing in 'soft peaks' (ie the mixture forms a little peak when you lift out the whisk). I use my electric mixer although my mother, in what she used to call the traditional recipe, always whisked the eggs by hand.

Tip one third of the sugar into the whites and whisk it in thoroughly.

Add the rest of the sugar in two parts, whisking between adding them.

Finally stir the vinegar and cornflour over the top of the meringue and gently fold in with either a silicon spatula, or a metal spoon.

Dollop the mixture onto the prepared tray and spread it out to fit the circle, smoothing the edges, and make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher than the.centre.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until the outside is dry and takes on a very pale cream color. Turn the oven off, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the meringue cool completely in the oven.

How to cut your mango - Three Easy Steps

Pavlova with Mangoes and Bananas is heavenly.

It's simple to cut a mango - once you see how easy it is in this excellent little video, you'll be cutting up mangoes in your sleep.

Make the Filling

Just before serving

Gently place the meringue onto a serving plate.

Whip 1 cup double cream in your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment, until soft peaks form.

Sweeten with 1 and a half tablespoons of granulated white sugar and half a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Mound the whipped cream into the centre of the meringue.

Arrange the fruit and serve immediately.

Pavlova with Rhubarb - Most definitely Australian


The tartness of rhubarb gives an unforgettable taste sensation to the sweet meringue. I love rhubarb!

What's best on a Pavlova?

What do you prefer on your Pav?

See results

I wouldn't be at all surprised if New Zealanders bought a ready made Pavlova Shell from Australia and then slathered it with cream and their ubiquitious ghastly green kiwifruit

Have your say!

© 2009 Susanna Duffy

Leave a message for the Cook - (Do you care where the Pavlova began?)

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    • bluewren56 lm profile image

      bluewren56 lm 4 years ago

      Pavlova is always a favourite dessert. Always fantastic after a b-b-q.

    • profile image

      crstnblue 4 years ago

      Never tried this cake before, but seeing your work here, definitely it's a masterpiece and noted as mandatory trial to me this coming weekend! : ))

      Thanks for sharing!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 4 years ago

      I have not tried making or eaten a pavlova before. Mmm! to your recipe and your Aussie vs Kiwi debate is lots of fun. Congrats for being one of Squidoo's favorite lenses of 2012! (http://hq.squidoo.com/lensmaster-spotlight/more-of...

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Doesn't matter, I just want the walls of my Pavlova to stay up! Congrats on making the 2012 favorites list!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Um... Not really. I just want a mouth watering slice!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My mouth is watering. I have to resist all these sweets.

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 4 years ago from California

      It really doesn't matter where it came from...how about I say France, it is like meringues anyways.

    • BestMassageChairs profile image

      BestMassageChairs 4 years ago

      Love Pavlova - yummy - nice lens :)

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 4 years ago from New Zealand

      Despite its obviously lack of accuracy, this is one of my favorite lenses :) Left a blessing.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      i have to try this Pavlova, thanks for a great recipe.

    • LynetteBell profile image

      LynetteBell 5 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Let's bury the hatchet...

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 5 years ago

      Pavlova is asolutely delicious no matter where it's from!

    • Kae Yo profile image

      Kae Yo 5 years ago

      I love Pavlova. I first tried it in the States from an Aussie family. So, to me, it's Australian. I love it with all sorts of good fruits on top, including kiwi. It's an incredibly divine dessert. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Looks delicious, and makes a great presentation.

    • profile image

      Labyrinth 5 years ago

      The majestic Pavlova is Australian but the Kiwis make a good one too

    • Frugal Bride profile image

      Frugal Bride 5 years ago

      I have never heard of Pavlova before, but it looks sooo good! I want some with strawberries and bananas!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Don't know if I should admit this publicly. Ours usually falls, so my daughter says she is going to try this recipe next time :)

    • sharioleary profile image

      Shari O'Leary 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I hadn't ever heard of Pavlova before, but it sounds wonderful. I will have to bookmark this lens for later.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I'd never heard of Pavlova before. Definitely will give this one a go (probably the strawberry banana one - not a big fan of rhubarb).

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the probable source.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image
      Author

      Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @Mayapearl: Most definitely has to be Kiwi. Jelly indeed!

    • rorymullen lm profile image

      rorymullen lm 5 years ago

      Yes, I am interested in trying and cooking many new types of food. Is tropical fruits always intertwined with deserts or can they also be used in Meats and Pastas?

    • snazzy lm profile image

      snazzy lm 6 years ago

      Today's Sunday Telegraph has an article on p15 about the Kiwi version of pavlova which was originally a layered jelly dessert. I quote "they must have thought she was a belly dancer"!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Awesome lens! Love this pavlova!

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 7 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      Thanks for this yummy and fun debate - and for helping to set those across the ditch right.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 7 years ago from Australia

      I adore pav!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      i dont want anyone to be offended but pavlova is originaly from nz ,seriously it is and just look it upit actually says that the biographer of anna pavlova saw a chef in wellington name it after anna pavlova when they were the in 1926 on her world tour.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image
      Author

      Susanna Duffy 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      A quick note :Thank you for those personal comments Baaileyy. I hadn't realised the humble pavlova could stir up so much anger. Even more thanks for your IP address and your details on Squidoo.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Just checking in to see if you are still confused about where the New Zealand Pavlova originated. Sadly, it looks like you are still confused :)

    • SusannaDuffy profile image
      Author

      Susanna Duffy 7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @mythphile: I'm so pleased you were able to sample our delicious Australian dessert in sunny Cairns.Hopefully with mangoes, or at least pawpaws

    • rubyandmahoney profile image

      rubyandmahoney 7 years ago

      Hmm...I am not sure which way to vote on this issue. Both sides seem to know what they are talking about. :-)

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 7 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      You two are so funny! It looks like it would be delicious whether from Australia or New Zealand!

    • mythphile profile image

      Ellen Brundige 7 years ago from California

      I am so grateful for you two loonies. I had completely forgotten Pavlova, as it's been 23 years since I last had any! It was gooooood.

      I spent part of a summer in Cairns, and it was definitely a highlight.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 7 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Once again, I'm staying neutral on this one. Now I see how serious this Pavlova war really is. You two had better not make me come over there to settle this. It wouldn't be good for my diet.