Russian Oven: Pavlova cake, an ideal Valentine's Day surprise

The origin of Pavlova cake is still disputed by Australia and New Zealand. One thing is for sure: it was inspired by the beauty of legendary Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova.

Pavlova is a light and tender dessert based on meringue. Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and topped with fresh berries, it is a real delight and a top choice to surprise your beloved on Valentine's Day.

The cake was invented either in New Zealand or Australia in the 1920s during a Russian ballet tour. The dessert was inspired by Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, the principal artist of the famous Imperial Russian Ballet as well as Sergei Diaghilev’s legendary Ballets Russes.

While the form of the cake clearly resembles a tutu, the combination of hard cover and soft filling may well serve as a metaphor for the Russian soul.

So let's get to business!

For Pavlova cake you will need

  • 3 egg whites
  • 170g (0.85 cups) sugar
  • 5 teaspoons vanilla sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of 6% vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon farina
  •  250g (1.1 cups) cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 250g (1.4 cups) strawberries

First, let’s cook the meringue. 

  • Take 3 eggs, separate the whites from the yolks.
  • Whisk the whites till stiff, add sugar plus 4 teaspoons of vanilla sugar, vinegar and farina 
  • Spread the meringue inside the baking pan so that the sides are higher than the middle
  • Put the meringue into the oven preheated to 120 C (248 F). Bake for an hour. Leave to cool

Now for the sauce and topping.

  • Take the cream and mix it with powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar. Whisk the blend till stiff.
  • Spread the cream over the meringue. 
  • Chop the strawberries, place them over the cream.

Your Valentine dessert is ready!

Russian oven is a video series devoted to Russian pastries, featuring traditional age-old pies and cakes, inventive cookies and tarts of recent years, plus Soviet classics and much more. Stay tuned!

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