Dance History Quiz | Dessert Worthy of a Ballerina

Fun facts for teachers & students

What famous ballerina has a dessert named in her honor?

a. Anna Pavlova
b. Margot Fonteyn
c. Marie Taglioni
d. Yvette Chauviré

a. Anna Pavlova

The Pavlova is a meringue dessert with a crisp crust and soft insides, usually topped with fruit and whipped cream, but apparently questions abound over its origins. An article on the Good Food website notes that Americans, the English, Australians, and New Zealanders all claim credit for the frothy white dessert. Food historians have discovered any number of variations in recipe books from 1911 onward. But the verdict is now in: the original Pavlova was not a four-layered jelly from New Zealand but the American descendant of a German torte, topped with strawberries, kiwifruit, or passion fruit, and made of marshmallow or glacé. Apparently more than 150 Pavlova-like meringue cakes with cream and fruit appear in cookbooks prior to 1926; more than 50 other dishes named for the dancer—such as “frog legs a la Pavlova”—appear before 1927.

For more information:
 “Pavlova research reveals dessert’s shock origins,” Good Food, October 10, 2015