Tiny Dancer

I was feeling reflective this past weekend. Perhaps it’s the start of the new school year, or my approaching birthday, or just the song in the background.

Whatever the reason I was reflecting on the kids. When you have children, you know it’s your job to teach them – right from wrong, common sense, values, etc., but the one thing I don’t think they tell soon-to-be or new parents is how much your children teach you. It is amazing how much my children have transformed me, how much better they have made me and how much more I appreciate everything about my life. Children shift priorities and they show you the world through different lenses.

From the time Mr. N and Miss A were born they have each had a definite and distinct presence. Mr. N, well, he’s my old, sage soul. His ability to ask big questions, to see the world beyond his own and to have such a confidence in his place – well, it’s simply beyond his years. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still an eight-year old boy who whines, fights with his sister, gets lost in his video games and forgets to put on at least one article of clothing every morning, but deep inside lies this wonderfully empathetic soul that ponders deep questions, understands complicated concepts and loves beyond measure. tracing

As for Miss A, well, her teacher hit the nail on the head when she put Miss A’s spirit into words, she’s a sprite. She’s tiny, magical, spirited and floats on air. As my dad often observes, Miss A never walks. She runs, she skips, she flips, she hops, she dances and she rolls; and usually all while singing. She’s a keen observer of others and her soul is bright, light and airy. She fills the room with ease, often bringing people a sense of exactly what they need through her magical little soul. That said, like her brother, she is still a small child that is often demanding, throws food under the table, occasionally bites her brother and hides her toys under furniture instead of actually putting them away. But Miss A’s bright light is inescapable, she’ll make you smile, fill your heart with laughter and love, and she’ll bring you peace…all while dancing.

So where am I going with all of this? I do have a point. You see this next recipe is also named for another “tiny dancer.” In fact, another “Miss A” if you will – the famous Russian ballet dancer from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Anna Pavlova. This next dessert, recommended by our Australian blogger friend Charlie from Hotly Spiced, is said to have been named in her honor when she was on world tour in Australia and New Zealand. The Pavlova – it all seemed perfectly fitting. Thank you Charlie! (It’s so fun to actually “know” people around the world to ask for recipes on these adventures! I never could have imagined it.)

After Mr. N traced a few circles onto the parchment for us, we began the recipe by whipping egg whites. Once they formed soft peaks, Mr. N added the sugar a spoonful at a time until stiff, shiny peaks formed.

We also beat in some vanilla extract, and then folded in cornstarch and white vinegar. Next we spooned the meringue onto the parchment, using the circles Mr. N traced as our guides. We took Charlie’s wonderful suggestion of making individual Pavlova, so we had six (or 12) servings, depending on how hungry you might be!

The Pavlova baked for about 70 minutes at 250F. Once paled in color, we turned the oven off, vented it and let the Pavlova cool inside for another hour.

So while the Pavlova was baking and cooling, we prepared our topping. Charlie shared a beautiful recipe from Jill Dupleix for Pavlova with Passionfruit Curd from her “Old Food” Cookbook. While the passionfruit curd sounded phenomenal, passionfruit can be hard for us to find, but no worries. The word “curd” sparked a new idea. I could finally make use of Charles’ inspiring recipe for Lemon Curd! Seriously, you know how obsessed I can be about lemon – his recipe has not been far from the forefront of my mind since he printed it…in March!

For the last step of this delightfully simple, yet elegant dessert, we mixed some whipped cream with the lemon curd and spread it over the Pavlova. We then topped ours with a mixture of strawberries, blackberries and kiwi.

The kids enjoyed topping their own.

Miss A’s, on the left, is a “ladybug.”

The Pavlova is such an interesting dessert. It’s light, fluffy and sweet. It’s crunchy and delicate on the outside and marshmallowy on the inside.

The lemon curd with berries was a fabulous topping. It’s easily a 4 spoon recipe for all four of us. There wasn’t a single bite of these left after a few days.

Miss A was quite proud of her Australian dessert and even more excited that it was named for a famous dancer! If you haven’t tried Pavlova, it’s a must.

Here are a few more recipes to consider if you are so inspired:

Charlie’s Vanilla Pavlova with Whipped Cream and Berries

Celi’s Mama’s Pavlova

Raymund’s Pavlova

Or for a fun chocolate twist, check out:

Barb’s Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova

And last but not least, for another wonderful Australian dessert, check-out our ANZAC biscuits (which we made while on our New Zealand adventure), or for our other Aussie friend’s version, check out Aimee’s Mum’s ANZAC biscuits.

Now before, I leave you with the recipe…As per your requests, here’s the one picture (albeit not a very high-quality picture) of Mike’s brisket about halfway through the dinner line. Enjoy!

Print this recipe: Pavlova

70 thoughts on “Tiny Dancer

  1. Charles says:

    At first I was gonna say “what the heck, I can’t believe I missed this”, and then I checked the posting date and realised that since it was the 4th of September I certainly had other “little” things on my mind at that time – haha! Thanks so much for the mention Kristy – and glad you enjoyed the curd. The dessert looks wonderful… light and fruity with a lovely zing from the curt πŸ™‚ Sorry for missing it!


  2. Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen says:

    What a moving description of your lovely two babes.. and I always get a kick out of seeing photos of them helping you in the kitchen. Just think what wonderful chefs/bakers they’ll be one day! I love a pavlova and hadn’t thought of using a curd.. simply wonderful! And it’s so cute how they decorated their own pavlovas!! I loved everything about this post today!! xx


  3. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise says:

    That was a sweet and wonderful post Kristy.
    I agree, I never knew that kids could change so much in one’s life and outlook. They are precious gifts and they do indeed make you look at life in totally different light
    I have never made pavlova though I have wanted to for some time, now the idea of topping it with lemon curd might just be the push I needed


  4. Kate@Diethood says:

    First off, you made me cry… πŸ™‚ Those words are just so beautiful… I will come back and read them whenever Ana tries to test me. πŸ™‚

    Secondly, I can’t tell you how much I looooove a Pavlova! My aunt Lilly makes the best I have ever tasted, and I always look forward to going to her house because I know she’s got one of those waiting for me.

    Now, I’m going to go visit YouTube so I can listen to the song that will be stuck in my head all day long. Thanks. πŸ˜›


    • Kristy says:

      LOL – our little ones are always testing us too. At least they usually alternate days, so it’s not usually at the same time. πŸ˜‰ And that sounds like an aunt’s house I’d visit as often as possible. πŸ™‚


  5. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    Happy almost birthday Kristy! Your kids are both such great spirits. You are a lucky mom and a great mom. Both come through your posts always. I didn’t know that the Pavlova was actually named after the dancer. Thanks for sharing that bit of trivia. Your pavlovas look fantastic! No wonder they were a four spoon rating for the whole fam. Have a great weekend!


  6. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says:

    What a beautiful post Kristy. Your birds will be able to enjoy your reflections in this lovely blog catalogue that you’ve created together, forever. You have a very fluid, engaging writing style. Such a pleasure to read your posts. I’ve always felt that my boys are my biggest teachers and I have so much to learn… ;-).

    I don’t have any experience with pavlova but I like the looks of these little puff balls and especially love how you’ve decorated them with fruit – so pretty and cheerful!

    Hugs to your beautiful babes! Hope the return to school is going smoothly.


  7. Three Well Beings says:

    Your pavlovas look beautiful! I always enjoy discovering references to other bloggers I so enjoy, and Charlie is one of them! This is a great recipe, and such an elegant presentation! I really enjoy the description of your two children. Their individual personalities are delightful and I’m sure the reflective mood is very much influenced by how quickly they are growing up! Every mother struggles just a bit with this, I know! πŸ™‚


  8. Dawn says:

    I love the way you describe your daughter – it is exactly how I imagine she would be. The dessert looks amazing!! I should have done something like that for the first day of school…maybe next year!


  9. Asmita (@FoodieAsmita) says:

    It’s always nice to see your kids involved with the cooking. Looks like so much fun!I always tend to be in a hurry. I am sure my daughter would love to bake with me.
    These pavlovas look beautiful. So light, airy and yum. I want to make these but the rains are so unpredictable here in Fl. I have read, making it on a rainy day will make the meringues sticky. Will just wait to make it in the winter.


  10. Profiteroles & Ponytails says:

    Please pass along my compliments to your sage soul and lovely sprite — they did a great job! Thank so much for mentioning my chocolate pavlova. I love lemon curd, so I’m going to have to try this version out since I reckon that pavlova is a guilt-free pleasure!


  11. Norma Chang says:

    Yes, children show you the world through different lenses. I too am blessed to have 2 kids with different personalities, made life a lot more interesting.
    Your pavlova is very tempting with all the fresh fruit topping.


  12. sallybr says:

    Here I am, preparing a power point presentation for a talk, with Elton John playing in the background, and happy thoughts of children growing up raised by loving parents… Made my afternoon brighter and lighter!

    thoughts of sweet pavlova didn’t hurt either… πŸ˜‰


  13. ceciliag says:

    WE love pav too and thank you so much for the mention. Of course there is an endless tussle as to who actually made the first pavlova and I have it on good authority that it was a NZ chef who first made it and presented it to Ms Pavlova herself. She being a ballet dancer who lived on red wine, wafers and cigarettes. She was renowned for being lighter than air hence the light airy dessert. I am fairly sure that she would only have tasted the tiniest portion but it was a hit with the country! And still is a quintessential NZ dessert that the Aussies, bless them, like to try and claim! Isn’t it fun. So are you going to jump the ditch and do NZ food soon? c


  14. Purely.. Kay says:

    Mr. N is the young man who will calm you down when you feel lost, and Miss A is the person who will make you smile when your world is down :). You have beautiful children, a beautiful family, but you don’t need me to tell you that :). That pavlova definitely looks interesting and delicious. And Mike, your brisket… TOP NOTCH!


  15. Eva Taylor says:

    I can only relate to children through my own niece and nephew, both of whom, all be it a bit older than your kids have the same thoughtfulness and free spirit as your kids. I’m not much of a dessert eater, Kristy, but Pavlova is something I usually cannot turn down. The lemon curd sounds amazing with it and the fresh fruit. I know I will have to make this sophisticated dessert soon (when we return from our vay-cay). It’s nice that you mentioned Barb’s Pavlova, we just saw her on Friday, it was really nice to catch up.


  16. spicegirlfla says:

    I thought I had a good idea about your children’s little personalities from your posts, but now I see them through your eyes and heart and they are so very precious. I will now think of Miss A as the tiny dancer πŸ™‚ You are absolutely right, children teach us about life!
    I’ve only made a pavlova once in a class…and why is that, I just don’t know. I love the lightness and presentation of this dessert. Lemon too is my favorite. Thanks for the inspiration, I must add this to my baking list!!


  17. Mary says:

    What a beautiful post! I loved hearing about how different and wonderful your children are. Isn’t it so amazing that they are all so different! I LOVE the pavlova’s and a delicious addition of lemon curd. It’s so wonderful to hear a mom who loves motherhood so much :))
    Mary x


    • Kristy says:

      I don’t think there’s anything I value more in life than motherhood. πŸ™‚ While not the easiest thing in the world by any means, it’s the most rewarding. I have no doubt you can relate Mary!


  18. Bam's Kitchen says:

    Beautiful post, beautiful kids, awesome mommy and one great recipe to boot! You hit the nail on the head it is us that learns from our kids. It is amazing we still survived even though with birth they did not come with an instruction manual. We were all told this was not going to be easy and we were all told this is going to be one of the greatest experiences of our life but not until you have your own do you understand. Still fascinated by your pavlovas. Yum!


  19. Aimee@clevermuffin says:

    You know, I can tell some of that about Mr N and Miss A from your photos. They way he always looks intent but thoughtful, and her wonderful outfits πŸ™‚

    I love a pavlova! Yours looked great, the berries look so fresh. Thanks for the links to my ANZACs too!


  20. ChgoJohn says:

    Children are amazing, aren’t they? Almost from the moment each is born, a distinct personality is noticeable. I saw that with each of my nephews and nieces and it’s really quite remarkable. I love Miss A being described as a sprite and chuckled when I read that Mr N forgets at least one article of clothing every day. That’s why little boys have Moms: to make sure they leave the house dressed. πŸ™‚
    Your Pavlova (Pavlovas? Pavlovi” Palvove?) look fantastic and I can easily see why they’d register 4 spoons. Slow baked meringue covered in lemon curd, covered in whipping cream, and then topped with fruit? That’s got to be worth 6 spoons!
    This was a wonderful post, Kristy, beautifully written with a fantastic dessert as the conclusion.


  21. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    I’ve always known you are a wonderful mom. Reading about your children’s story made me inspired to be a better mom. You understand each child and I really enjoyed listening to your story. It’s always hard to describe my children’s personality in English (maybe lack of vocab) but I enjoy the different personality in two kids. I also admire you take pictures of children involved in kitchen. Such a treasure! I love seeing their facial expression and wonder how mine would look like. I’m always so busy making dinner between activities and failed in involving kids while cooking. I should spend some weekend for cooking, although our weekend is always booked. Anyway, I love coming here and being continued to be inspired by a wonderful mom like you! Beautiful Pavlova. I’ve seen on blogs but never had tasted it before. πŸ™‚


    • Kristy says:

      Thank you for your kind words! πŸ™‚ I can totally tell from your posts how much you cherish your children too Nami. They are two very lucky kids that are going to have such wonderful memories with their parents.


  22. Alison says:

    Pavlova was the first thing I learnt to bake on my own just before I was 10, my Mom taught me and then it became my job to make one (or more) when they were needed. They are indeed simple, yet so amazing all at once! I am so glad your wee ones enjoyed them.


  23. hotlyspiced says:

    Thanks for remembering to show us the brisket. I just love the look of your pavlovas and I’m so happy to see they turned out so well. You’re obviously a natural when it comes to cooking pavlovas! I love how the children decorated them too and lemon curd is a very popular topping here with pavlovas or meringues so not to worry at all that you couldn’t source passionfruit. Glad this was 4 spoons xx


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