Australia Day is up there with my favourite public holidays – anything that involves sun, good booze and cranking up the BBQ is a winner in my book!

Australia is a cultural and culinary melting pot so it is tough finding a recipe which can, without a doubt, be called Australian.  As I was racking my brain it came to me – what is more Australian than a Pavlova?!  Hush, hush my NZ fabulous ladies. I can hear you from across the ditch – “The Pav is a Kiwi dish!!” you’re screaming.  Like so many famous people and bands from the Antipodes…Russel Crowe (keep him), Phar Lap, Crowded House & Split Enz… the origin/ownership of the Pavlova has been argued with passion.

So heated was the argument that a New Zealand professor of culinary anthropology researched and published a book The Pavlova Story: A Slice of New Zealand’s Culinary History.  Through her research Helen Leach found a documented pavlova recipe in a 1929 publication of a Kiwi magazine, while the first documented recipe does not appear in Australia until 1935.  That being said, just because it was first documented by the Kiwis’ that doesn’t mean it was invented by them – so let the arguments continue!

What we can agree on is that the dessert itself was named for the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured Australia and New Zealand in the 1920’s.

The pavlova is so versatile, allowing us to decorate with our favourite fruits. One thing you won’t find on mine this Australia Day is Kiwi Fruit but you will find the inclusion of some cheeky Moscato!

moscato pavlova

Moscato Pavlova

Meringue

Ingredients:

  • 6 (59g) eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups (270g) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 120°C. Line an oven tray with foil. Brush with melted butter and dust with cornflour, shaking off excess. Mark a 24cm-diameter circle on foil.

Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites in a clean dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy and sugar dissolved. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If still “gritty” with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves. Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and whisk until just combined. Spoon meringue onto the foil, using the marked circle as a guide. Smooth sides and top of pavlova. Use a small spatula to forms little peaks around edge of pavlova. Bake in oven for 11/2 hours or until pavlova is dry to the touch. Turn off oven. Leave pavlova in oven with the door ajar to cool completely. When completely cold, transfer to serving plate or store in an airtight container until required.

NOTE:  Keep a close eye on the meringue as depending on your oven you may have a shorter or longer cooking time.  My over runs quite hot so this took less than an hour while the recipe states 1.5. 

Topping

  • 600ml thickened cream
  • 4 tbs icing sugar mixture, sifted
  • 6 tbs of Moscato
  • 7-10 passion fruit
  • 2 punnets of blueberries
  • 2 punnets of strawberries

Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream, moscato and icing sugar until firm peaks form. Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova.

Decorate with blueberries, strawberries and passion fruit.

Note:  Use fruits of your choice – mangoes are wonderful at this time of year and sliced lady-finger bananas topped with passionfruit is also a family favourite.

 

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