Betty Crocker

A True (Blue) Ode to the Pavlova

Summer is here... but so is Australia Day! So grab your mates, put a prawn (or two) on the barbie, and get your... Pavlova on!

Okay, so we do know that the origins of the delicious Pavlova have been long disputed and may or may not have originated from Australia. The Pavlova War has raged since the 1950s, and was put to a rest when the Oxford English Dictionary defined the Pavlova as originating in New Zealand in 1926.

Betty Crocker

Or did it?

Despite this ‘official’ proposal by the OED, Aussies continue to contest the origins of this decadent dessert, which is said to have been invented by chef Herbert Sachse in Perth in 1935 – later than its alleged first mention in a New Zealand cookbook in 1926.

Of course, this means that New Zealanders are still adamant that the Pavlova is theirs, as much as Aussies want to reclaim it as their own.
So, does this still mean that the Pavlova actually originated in New Zealand? Not necessarily.

Two years of research by a Kiwi and an Aussie - Dr Andrew Paul Wood and Annabelle Utrecht – proposed that the Pavlova has its roots in German dessert making. From Germany, it found its way to the United States as a meringue cake, topped with fruit known as the Schaum Torte, an incarnation from which the modern Pavlova is derived.

Betty Crocker

Regardless, the Pavlova is so ingrained into both Australia’s and New Zealand’s national identities that it would be a shame to not claim it as both our own! Dictionary definitions aside, the myths that surrounds the Pavlova plays such an important part in our national pride. The fact that we will go so far as to spend hundreds of hours of research on the origins just to dispel the other’s claims, speaks to how much we will fervently defend a key element of what makes us Aussie or Kiwi! Who knew a cake could have that much influence... or instill in us such national pride!?


The Aussie Pavlova:

- Aussies are hardy souls! Perhaps this is why the Australian version appears to be crunchier! The typical Aussie Pav uses a meringue base, which is topped with cream. If you haven’t got anything to catch the crumbs, it might get messy, but we just love the sensation of meringue melting our mouths after the first bite.

- The base and cream structure of the more typically Aussie Pav makes it seem closer in appearance to its original German incarnation. Because, you know... Aussies like to keep it real.

- Rather than being topped completely with Kiwi fruit, Australians tend to lean towards passion fruit. Other fruit such as peaches (canned or not) and blueberries are more commonly used.

Betty Crocker

The Kiwi Pavlova:

- New Zealanders seem to like it soft! The Kiwi Pavlova has a much more marshmallow-like texture, which often tends towards a classic cake-like shape.

- The outside and the top of the marshmallow cake typically has a thinner layer of meringue crust. It’s not as crunchy, but you just can’t beat that sweet, squishy texture between your teeth…

- Pavlova in New Zealand places more emphasis on – you guessed it – Kiwi fruit! It’s rare that you’ll find a Kiwi Pav without the Kiwi fruit in Kiwi Land.

Betty Crocker

Which version do you make? Let us know on Facebook!

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