Kiwis claim the invention of pavlova

The decades-old dispute between New Zealand and Australia over which country invented pavlova has finally been solved. Professor Helen Leach of Otago University has found a recipe for the meringue and cream filled cake in a copy of the 1933 Rangiora Mothers' Union cookery book, disputing Australia's previous claim of its invention in Perth in 1935.

Professor Leach said her copy of the Rangiora book had "the correct name, with the correct ingredients and correct method" for cooking the pavlova cake, which was named after the famed Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926. Professor Leach is now researching a 1929 recipe, which might give the New Zealand claims even more credence than the Australian recipe.

The soft centred meringue dessert with cream on the top and a kiwifruit garnish originally evolved from a filled cake similar to a sponge cake with filling, but which was made of meringue. Kiwifruits and Chinese gooseberries did not arrive until after World War II and a variety of in-season fruit, including pineapple, strawberries and passionfruit were used to decorate the pavlova between the 1920s and 1940s.