Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/1/2013 2:30 PM

Pavlova a light, airy dessert

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • The Pavlova, a well-traveled dessert, was created in New Zealand or Australia and named after a Russian ballet dancer.

      The Pavlova, a well-traveled dessert, was created in New Zealand or Australia and named after a Russian ballet dancer.
    Newspaper Enterprise Association/Petrina Tinslay f

 
By Marialisa Calta
Newspaper Enterprise Association

The Pavlova -- a baked meringue confection typically filled with whipped cream and berries -- is not a Russian dessert, as its name suggests, but a concoction born in Australia or New Zealand and named after a Russian ballerina.

The name honors Anna Pavlova (1881-1931), who is still considered one of the finest classical dancers in history. Pavlova was known for her ethereal style, and while touring New Zealand and Australia in the 1920s, a New Zealand newspaper described her as "a snowflake scintillating in a world of moonlight, so swift and light and sparkling that the eye was dazzled at the sight."

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

Her lightness inspired bakers Down Under to work on the airy, marshmallow-y meringue that bears her name. Both countries have claimed the dessert as their own in a decadeslong tussle known as the "Pavlova wars," which likely will remain unsettled forever. To their credit, however, the New Zealanders have produced the world's largest Pavlova, a 210-foot-wide creation nicknamed "PavKong" to distinguish it from a slightly smaller "PavZilla" baked in 1999.

Like Anna Pavlova -- the first dancer to make a worldwide ballet tour -- the dessert that bears her name has traveled, and it should be no surprise to find it in "Nigellissima" (Clarkson Potter, 2013), a new Italian cookbook by British food sensation Nigella Lawson.

Lawson, British born and bred, writes, "It was when I was 16 or 17 that I decided to be Italian." What followed was a crash course in the Italian language and a "gap year" before university spent living, eating and cooking in Florence.

In her book, she channels her "Nigellissima-ness" into a collection of "Italian-inspired" or "Britalian" dishes. These include banana bread flavored with espresso, French toast made with panettone, a meatball mixture with a tomato and mozzarella topping fashioned to look like a pizza and known as a Meatzza, and a plate of battered and fried shrimp she calls "Italian tempura." There's cooked semolina served like mashed potatoes, "risotto" made of barley and a very British-seeming shortbread flavored with anise.

Her Pavlova, with its espresso flavor and dusting of cocoa, was hardly a stretch. She calls it, somewhat tongue in cheek, a "meringa al caffe con panna montata" (coffee meringue with a mound of cream) or, more familiarly, a "cappuccino Pavlova" or a "Cap Pav."

"Not that I feel the need: I declare its inspiration, not its identity, to be authentically Italian," she writes.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.