Happy Australia Day!
Today is our national holiday, a time where most Australians throw a BBQ or catch up with friends and family in the summer warmth.
Since it’s Australia Day, the dessert that ends the festivities should be a pavlova, something named after a Russian ballerina but yet typically Australian.
Or is it?
While it’s true that Australia has very successfully exported pavlova around the world (and taken all the glory), what many of us don’t know is that culinary historians have proven the pavlova was actually invented in New Zealand!
The proof seems to be out there in the form of published recipes and articles, of which New Zealand has many earlier cases than Australia (NZ 1926 v AU 1929).
Knowing this I feel a little cheated, a slight loss of cultural identity, but imagine how the poor Kiwis feel about the fact that Aussies stole their tasty dessert and are unashamedly passing it off as our own!
It's not the first time we've done that, and no doubt it won't be the last.
Regardless of whoever invented it, these days both countries use it as a symbol of cultural identity and since it’s a pavlova there’s plenty to share with everyone.
On the topic of sharing, while I say this recipe serves 10 people (and it does), I have to confess me and three friends managed to polish off the entire thing in 30 minutes.
Prepare yourself for gluttony at its finest.
Anna’s very own recipe. Serves 10.
5 eggwhites, at room temperature
330g (1½ cups) caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 vanilla bean, scraped seeds only (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
300ml thickened cream, whipped
2 passionfruit, pulped
2 bananas, sliced and doused in lemon juice to prevent discolouring
1 punnet strawberries, halved
½ punnet blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 150’C.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on a high speed until fluffy, about a minute.
3. Reduce speed to slow then gradually add caster sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy with a hard peak.
4. Next beat in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla.
5. Line a baking tray with baking paper and pour the meringue on. Stack high to get a marshmallow interior and thin for a crusty pavlova. Create a concave/nest in the centre to catch all the cream and fruit.
6. Bake the pavlova for 50 minutes until quite firm, then turn the oven off but leave the pavlova in it to cool completely.
7. Spread the cream over the meringue then decorate with fruit. Serve excess fruit on side platter to be passed separately for those who want extra.
Note: The mixing bowl should be clean with no grease in it, the egg whites at room temperature and there should be absolutely no yolk in the white.