Pavlova is considered the national dish of both Australia and New Zealand. It is a wonderful simple dessert consisting of a meringue shell - crisp on the outside and soft and marshmallow-like on the inside - topped with whipped cream and fruit. It was named after the Russian ballet dancer, Anna Pavlova, whose performances in 1926 and 1929 were so outstanding, that dozens of chefs in those countries began developing new dishes and naming them after her. None of the dishes became famous, except Pavlova, which is light and airy, much like Anna Pavlova’s dancing.
Both countries claim that the dish originated in their country, and although it seems much of the evidence points to a New Zealand Chef who developed it in 1935, the controversy will most likely never be settled. Prior to 1935, there was a similar dessert served in Australia, but it wasn’t named Pavlova.
You can use one type of fresh fruit, or a mixture – whatever is seasonally available, and whatever you prefer. It is absolutely essential that the dessert be made with freshly whipped heavy cream, slightly sweetened with just a little powdered sugar. Whipping the cream takes only a minute or two. There is no reason to cut corners, and absolutely no reason to substitute frozen whipped topping; not only is it disgusting, it is too sweet and would be considered a travesty – a true food crime – if used on a classic dessert such as this Strawberry Pavlova.
1/2 cup egg whites, 3-4 large
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 pints fresh strawberries, stems cut off
2 to 3 tablespoons frozen strawberry jam, or seedless raspberry jam or apricot jam
- Preheat oven to 300°.
- Line a shallow baking sheet with parchment.
- Place the egg whites in a large mixer bowl and beat at high speed until frothy.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt until no lumps remain.
- Add gradually to the egg whites, beating until they form stiff peaks. Do not overbeat; the mixture should be shiny and not dry.
- Stir in the vanilla and vinegar.
- Transfer the mixture to the parchment, and form into an 8" circle, building up the sides a bit to form a shallow bowl.
- Bake 45 - 60 minutes or until crisp but not brown.
- Leave the shell in the oven, open the door slightly, turn it off, and let the shell sit in the oven for an additional hour.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate.
- Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar to stiff peaks; spread over the meringue shell.
- Arrange the strawberries decoratively over the whipped cream.
- Stir the jam so it is thin enough to glaze; brush over the strawberries.
- Chill until serving time.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 224 Calories from Fat 101
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 45% Protein 4% Carb. 51%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 11 g
Saturated Fat 7 g
Cholesterol 41 mg
Sodium 223 mg
Total Carbohydrate 29 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 17 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 9% Vitamin C 48% Calcium 0% Iron 1%