How to Make New Zealand’s National Dessert, Pavlova
After a hearty meal, you need a dessert that will close the palate – something sharp and citrus sweet, with a fluffy texture, maybe with a bit of fruit, that doesn’t weigh you down as you start to wash the dishes.
Take a note from New Zealanders who finish their dinners with a dessert so light and graceful it was named after a ballerina – the pavlova. A mix of marshmallow-like center, creamy topping and fresh fruit, it’s as pretty as it is tasty, and easy to make!
A Battle for Fluffy Supremacy
New Zealanders are typically a calm and collected people, but not when it comes to pavlova. Considered the country’s national dish, they have been at a tug-of-war with Australia over ownership of the original recipe since the famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova toured Australia and New Zealand in 1920. The dessert was even named after her, and was thought to have been created to honour her visit.
The argument remained unresolved for many decades, with experts sifting through cook books from the 1930s to try and define a date of origin. New Zealand won the argument when the well-researched The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History, written by Professor Helen Leach in 2008, said a recipe had been found that predated all known Australian recipes. Sweet victory!
However, both countries’ hopes were dashed when the pavlova recipe was found to have been born in Germany, perfected in America in the early 1900s, and then later travelled to New Zealand likely aboard a cruise ship, where sophisticated desserts such as the pavlova would have been served.
Regardless, both New Zealanders and Australians have put in a lot of work to preserve this dish for over a century, and it remains an iconic dish within both countries, each adding its own stamp and staple recipes to its long history.
Strawberry Daiquiri Pavlova Recipe
This recipe has been adapted from Sainsbury’s Magazine. Since pavlova can be a little tricky, we reached out to a professional baker to give you the best tips and recommendations.
For the base
4 large egg whites*
225g caster sugar
1 teaspoon corn flour
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
(*“Do not get any egg yolks in your egg whites or they won’t fluff up as nicely,” says Kerri. “And always use fresh egg whites! Not those carton ones – they have added stabilizers that can mess up meringue.”)
For the topping