The pavlova is a light meringue-based dessert that’s popular at holidays and celebrations in both New Zealand and Australia. This must-try treat was named after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova and its origin story has long been a subject of debate. Whether the tasty dessert’s name was inspired by the ballerina’s stay at a hotel in Wellington or by a remark from a diner in Perth, the pavlova has been a favorite for locals and travelers alike for years—and we think it will continue to be.
2 hours, 45 minutes
Butter, to coat baking surface
2 tsp cornstarch, plus more for dusting
6 egg whites
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar
Zest and juice of 2 limes
2 bananas, thinly sliced diagonally
3 kiwis, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups strawberries
Fresh mint, to garnish
Preheat oven to 250°F. Line an oven tray with foil. Brush with melted butter and dust with cornstarch, shaking off excess. Mark a 9.5 in-diameter circle on foil.
Use an electric mixer to whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating well after each addition, until meringue is thick and glossy, and sugar dissolves. Rub a little meringue between fingers. If gritty with sugar, continue to whisk until sugar dissolves. Add cornstarch, 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 form little peaks around pavlova’s edge. Bake in the oven for 1 1/2 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 a serving plate or cake stand, or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Use an electric mixer to whisk the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl until firm peaks form. Spoon cream onto the top of pavlova. Pour lime juice into a ceramic or glass bowl. Add banana slices and toss to coat with juice. Drain. Decorate pavlova with banana, kiwis, strawberries, and lime zest, and garnish with mint. If desired, swap out or combine these toppings with the fruit of your choice. Star fruit and passion fruit are authentic alternatives.