by Karen Douglas

There has been a friendly, or in some cases not so friendly, rivalry between New Zealand and Australia for many years over who invented the Pavlova (a meringue topped with cream and seasonal fruits).  Although the meringue has been around in Europe since the 1600’s, these two fierce rivals both claim to have adapted it into the dessert we know today as the Pavlova.

Both countries agree that the Pavlova was named after Anna Pavlova the famous Russian Ballerina after her tour of New Zealand and Australia claiming that it was meant to represent her tutu. Pretty much anything other than that is hotly contested with both sides laying claim to inventing it first.

On the Australian side it was invented by Bert Sachse at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, Australia in 1935.

According to one biographer of the famous ballerina it was invented by a Kiwi Chef in Wellington during Anna Pavlova’s tour in 1926.

Whatever the truth of its origin the Pavlova remains a stalwart of the Christmas lunch on both sides of the Tasman and will no doubt be the cause of a lively debate between us for some time to come. Of course, you can always forget the rivalry, embrace your inner ballerina, do a few ballerina twirls and just enjoy the fact that someone somewhere did indeed invent this yummy dessert.

Lemon curd and raspberry Pavlova

Makes: 5

Ingredients

  • Egg whites from 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100gm (3½ oz) caster sugar
  • Seeds from one vanilla bean
  • 300ml (10.5 oz) pure cream
  • 50-100gm (1¾ – 3½ oz) lemon curd

Notes on lemon curd: I used store bought curd although you can make your own if you wish. The amount of lemon curd is to your personal taste. If you like a big hit of lemon add more, if you like just a hint add a small amount. As always start small, taste, and add more. If required keep tasting until you are happy with the flavour.

Method

Line a baking tray with baking paper.

Use a stand mixer to whisk egg whites on a low speed until frothy.

Add lemon juice and salt, increase speed to medium.

When whites hold a soft peak, continue whisking and start sprinkling in sugar a little bit at a time.

Increase speed to medium high until whites hold a very stiff peak.

Add vanilla bean seeds and whisk to combine.

Either pipe or spoon meringue onto pre-prepared tray shaping into individual size servings. I made mine roughly 10cm in diameter.

Bake at 110⁰C (225⁰F) for approx. 90 minutes. Meringue should be crisp on the outside. Turn off the oven and leave meringue inside while the oven cools.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Whisk cream.

Add lemon curd to the cream a little at a time until you are happy with the flavour.

Once the meringue shells are cold spread some of the lemon curd cream on top then add raspberries.

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