Food is so much more than sustenance; it is the center of most social gatherings with flavors and smells that wrap themselves deeply into our memories. Although I am passionate about hair and weddings, did you know that I also enjoy cooking and baking? As a child growing up in small town Alberta, I spent a lot time in the kitchen with my mother and my grandmother. To this day, when I make my grandmother’s raisin pudding, in that moment she is brought to life. Most mothers and grandmothers in our community baked and shared and it may sound cliché but you could always taste the love that went into those dishes.

Over the Holidays, I was privileged to spend time with my family and friends in and around Edmonton enjoying amazing company, food, and sharing love. For one special occasion, I shared a Pavlova.

Pavlova is a common Christmas day dessert in Australia and New Zealand. It gets its name from world famous ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured Australia and New Zealand in 1926. Known as the best ballerina of her time, this meringue cake was inspired by her tutu and made by a chef in New Zealand during Anna’s world tour and the dish was later described to be “as light as Pavlova.”

The ingredients that go into making Pavlova are simple but the process of making it is not as the primary ingredient is egg white and if you’ve baked with egg white before, you know, they can be finicky. You can find recipes for Pavlova all over the Internet here is a video that demonstrates the process.

Here are my tips to make an excellent Pavlova:

  • Use eggs that are fresh and at room temperature, not the ones that have been in your fridge for the last two weeks.
  • Don’t bother with cream of tartar, a good meringue will stand up on its own.
  • If you don’t have fine sugar, grind regular sugar in your food processor first, if it ends up looking like confectioners sugar you’ve gone to far.
  • If you are making your Pavlova a day ahead, leave it in the shut-off oven over night. It is the perfect environment because on the counter it will dry and in the fridge it becomes gooey.
  • If you are topping it with berries rinse them with champagne, running them under the tap soaks and often damages and who doesn’t enjoy a little champagne here and there?
  • Lastly don't forget the love.