Pavlova: A Sweet Cloud Confection

Jump to recipe

I had the privilege of attending a friend and fellow author‘s citizenship ceremony this last month, which was an amazing thing to see. Those of us who are born into it don’t think enough about the privileges we take for granted. The individual liberties, freedoms, and responsibilities we bear. It is our solemn duty to vote, in the smallest of elections, not just the ‘big important’ ones. This is our country, we should be responsible for it, just as a homeowner makes sure the roof doesn’t leak and the foundations don’t crumble.

It’s not an easy process to legally immigrate and become a full citizen of the US, but these faces say it is worth it, coming from Australia, Ecuador, Italy, the Philippines, Vietnam, and more.

Becoming an American citizen doesn’t mean abandoning your own culture, as the judge said during his speech before administering the oath. It means incorporating what is important to you into your life here, while adopting fully the good parts of what being an American are: freedom, responsibility, and the rights protected by our Constitution. After the ceremony, as my little family was congratulating Kate and preparing to finish our journey home, Kate asked me, “Did you ever make that Pavlova?”

Two American authors!
Two American authors!

I hadn’t. We’d talked about it, when I did her ETWYRT recipe, but although I loved the idea of the Australian confection, making a whole one for just the First Reader and I seemed silly. However, with the three Geeky Kids to help us eat it up, suddenly it was not only more reasonable, but a perfect way to celebrate Kate’s becoming an American with a little Australian flavor.

The Pavlova is more a technique than a complicated recipe.

A Pavlova, which was named for a famous ballet dancer, is essentially a meringue cake, topped usually with whipped cream and fruit.

The finished, baked pavlova will look much like the one you put in the oven, maybe a little more cream-colored. As it cools the moister interior will contract and crack the crisp outer shell. Leaving it in the oven to cool slowly will help control some of this.

To finish the cake, simply whip about a cup of heavy cream with 1/4-1/3 c sugar. Spread this on the meringue, and arrange your fruit on top of that (although I think it could easily be meringue, fruit, and then cream, too.) I had planned to make a peach pavlova, but all my nice ripe peaches disappeared (the Peach Princess strikes again!) so we did strawberries instead. Had I been thinking there would have been blueberries, too, for an American theme.

This cake made me wish for more elegant tableware to present it on. It was too large to fit on the plate I usually use for cakes! It’s so pretty and delicate.

I think that you are supposed to keep it from breaking in any way, but transferring it from parchment paper to serving plate wasn’t easy, and the edges cracked a lot. It didn’t affect the taste, though.

A cake ft for a queen in a very unusual setting for it...
A cake ft for a queen in a very unusual setting for it…

We wound up enjoying the pavlova as night fell, in the cool of our backyard, after a sushi dinner (prepared largely by the Otaku Princess). It was everything it was supposed to be – light, fluffy, sweet, just a little crunch from the meringue and the tartness of the berries offsetting the sweet of the cream and cake. The children loved it, as did a friend who happened to drop by with perfect timing. It was all eaten up…

The Jr. Mad Scientist claimed the last piece as hers, and ate it right off the cake plate. My little barbarian... sigh.
The Jr. Mad Scientist claimed the last piece as hers, and ate it right off the cake plate. My little barbarian… sigh.

The pavlova wasn’t terribly complicated to make, and it’s a really different cake – more a confection. Kate’s right, it’s incredibly sweet and feels rich. And I’m very glad that I took the time to make this Australian dish for my all-American kids. Teaching them about our country, being able to take them to see Kate become a citizen, and then feeding them a sweet from another land, that’s how to make a lesson stick. We live in the land of the free, and we are rich beyond belief in our freedoms and liberties we take for granted.


2 responses to “Pavlova: A Sweet Cloud Confection”

  1. Reality Observer Avatar
    Reality Observer

    Cedar, I definitely saw a fork in that hand.

    Note to self, do not have MY children around if I ever meet the Sanderson clan in person…

    1. Of course there’s a fork?