History and rumour have it that the pavlova was created in Australia in 1935 by a Perth hotel chef called Bert Sachse, and was named after the great ballerina Anna Pavlova, who had successfully performed there a few years earlier. But history and rumour can be challenged, and there is reason to believe that meringue cakes of a similar style were common in New Zealand years earlier. I like to make mine in free-range blobs rather than neat, suburban rings.
Heat oven to 120°C (250°F).
Beat egg whites in a clean dry bowl until firm. Add sugar and beat strongly for 5 good minutes. Add vanilla extract, water, and vinegar and fold through egg whites.
Plop six large spoonfuls of meringue onto a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake for 1 hour until crisp but still pale on the outside, and a bit soft and marshmallowy inside. Turn off oven and leave meringues to cool in the oven for a further hour.
Store in an airtight jar or tin until needed. Beat cream until thick and ploppy, and stir in yoghurt.
Top each meringue with a spoonful of yoghurt cream, and a spoonful of passionfruit curd, or passionfruit pulp, and serve.
© 1998 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.