Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Mystique Of The Pavlova




The Mystique Of The Pavlova

By Eruna Ichinomiya
Spirit News
November 30, 2074


Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. It is a meringue cake with a crisp crust and soft, light inside, usually topped with whipped cream and fruit. The name is pronounced /pævˈloʊvə/ or /pɑːvˈloʊvə/, unlike the name of the dancer, which was /ˈpɑːvləvə/.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.

The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes.

Pavlova is made by beating egg whites (and sometimes salt) to a very stiff consistency before folding in caster sugar, white vinegar or another acid (e.g. cream of tartar or lemon juice), cornflour, and sometimes vanilla essence, and slow-baking the mixture, similar to meringue.

The pavlova has a crisp and crunchy outer shell, and a soft, moist marshmallow-like centre, in contrast to meringue which is usually solid throughout. It has been suggested the addition of cornflour is responsible for the marshmallow centre, although it has been debated that the cornflour is just another egg white stabiliser in addition to the acid. The consistency also makes the pavlova significantly more fragile than meringue. Because the pavlova is notorious for deflating if exposed to cold air, when cooking is complete it is left in the oven to fully cool down before the oven door is opened.

Pavlova is traditionally decorated with a topping of whipped cream and fresh soft fruit such as kiwifruit, passionfruit, and strawberries. Factory-made pavlovas can be purchased at supermarkets and decorated as desired. A commercial product is available that includes pre-mixed ingredients for baking the meringue shell, requiring only the addition of water and sugar.

Leftover decorated pavlova can be refrigerated overnight, but the dessert will absorb moisture and lose its crispness. Undecorated pavlova can be left overnight in the oven, or for several days in an airtight container, to be decorated when ready.