Considering that my daughter has studied Ballet since she was six and now has a dance minor in college, and that my husband is Australian, it's understandable that Pavlova is popular at our house. It's a light, sweet & delicate, airy dessert that disappears quickly once served. The best part for me though, is that I don't have to make it! According to my daughter it's very easy, so I say, "Go right ahead, just clean up the kitchen afterward."
My husband claims all rights to Pavlova being an Australian dish, but anyone from New Zealand might pick a fight with him about that. It was supposedly invented in one of the two south Pacific countries after the 1926 & 1929 tour of the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova. One legend claims it was invented at a hotel in western Australia where Pavlova stayed during her tour. After the chef created the new dish he exclaimed "It is as light as Pavlova", and so the dessert was named. Read more about the history of this yummy dish at: whatscookingamerica.net
A Basic Recipe
Recipe makes 1 Pavlova
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pint heavy cream
6 kiwi, peeled and sliced
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9 inch circle on the parchment paper.In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Over beaten egg whites lose volume and deflate when folded into other ingredients. Be absolutely sure not a particle of grease or egg yolk gets into the whites. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice and cornstarch.
Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small bowl beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, sweetened if desired. Top whipped cream with kiwifruit slices.