The recipe for a lofty meringue cake evolved slowly in both Australia and New Zealand, but the name arrived in 1935 when Bert Sachse, chef at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, named his cake in honour of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. Chef Sachse later acknowledged that the recipe he used was from a 1929 cookery book, The New Zealand Dairy Exporter.
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
2 cups caster sugar
1½ tsp vinegar
1½ tsp vanilla essence
1½ tsp Edmonds Fielder’s cornflour
whipped cream and fresh fruit
1. Preheat oven to 150˚C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the baking paper. Turn over the baking paper so that the pencil line doesn’t transfer to your pavlova.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff, then add the sugar very gradually while still beating. Keep beating for 5 minutes to dissolve the sugar.
3. Slow the beater speed and add the vinegar, vanilla and cornflour.
4. Pile the meringue in the centre of the circle and use a spatula to spread it out to the edge of the circle keeping it as round and even as possible. Make a slight dip in the top.
5. Bake for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the oven overnight.
6. Using two spatulas, lift it carefully onto a serving plate and fill the central depression with whipped cream and fresh fruit.