February 6: Waitangi Day (New Zealand)
We met our wedding godparents, Drs. Mark and Natalie R., in a Midwest college town where he was a chemistry professor and we were graduate students at the same university. God brought all of us together somehow from different parts of the globe—Highlander from Canada, Islander from Hawaii, Godfather Mark from New Zealand/Aotearoa and Godmother Natalie from France—when we attended services at a small, new church (Highlander and Islander were the music ministers). Mark and Natalie frequently invited us to their home to enjoy home-cooked Sunday meals with their teen daughters when the cafeterias on campus were closed. We enjoyed the company as well as the delicious dinners—and, of course, the desserts, often something sweet and simple, like pavlova, a popular treat from Mark’s country.
Pavlova is a light and airy meringue smothered in whipped cream and topped with fresh fruit. We decorated ours with slices of native New Zealand kiwi only since passion fruit was not available at the time. Pavlova is a wonderful treat on Waitangi Day or any time one wants a delightful dessert.
From Drs. Mark and Natalie R.
- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons water, cold
- 1 cup sugar, granulated white
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 teaspoons corn starch
- 1-2 cups sweetened whipped cream, cold
- 3-5 fresh kiwis, sliced
In a grease-free cold bowl, beat the egg whites until fluffy. Add the water and beat again. Gradually add the sugar while beating. Add the vinegar, vanilla and cornstarch.
Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread the meringue into a circle shape (8-10 inches in diameter) on the parchment paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. Turn off the oven, crack the door slightly open and leave the meringue inside until cool. Remove from the oven.
When ready to serve, spread sweetened whipped cream over the top of the meringue. Add slices of fresh kiwis to cover the meringue. Slice and serve immediately.
- The kiwi pavlova in the food photo above is resting on Islander’s traditional Maori skirt. She learned how to twirl poi balls while taking hula and Tahitian dance classes when she was younger.
- Room temperature instead of cold egg whites beat fluffier and fuller.
- The meringue can stay crisp on the outside and chewy in the inside if covered in an airtight container until ready to serve. Spread the cream and fruit just before ready to serve to avoid a soggy meringue.
- Feel free to add other fresh fruits, such as passion fruit (lilikoi in Hawaiian), berries, citrus, mango slices, etc.