THE PAVLOVA is a nostalgic and classic dessert from the prawn cocktail and Bay City Rollers years of the 1970s. It’s definitely worth digging a spoon into this mouthwatering meringue.

Let’s start with the history bit first - the pavlova is named after the famed Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, who visited Austria and New Zealand in 1926. She was a superstar of the day and admired all over the world, and as a result, a New Zealand chef created the billowy dessert in honour, calming inspiration for her tutu.

For many years later there has been a ‘’discussion’’ between both sides of the ditch, locking horns over the origins of who invented the beloved pav, with the last round of research coming firmly on the side of New Zealand.

Meringues have a reputation of being difficult to master, but actually, as long as you follow a few cast-iron rules, they’re a doddle to make. My conclusion is, clean equipment and a good oven – every oven is different, so knowing your own oven is important for this recipe.

Use good eggs, separate them in small bowls to prevent contamination from a bad egg: also make sure you use them at room temperature before you start because they create more volume. Caster sugar is the option for most meringue recipes, being finer and easy to dissolve, but a little soft brown sugar can be substituted for a caramelised flavour.

Cornflour and wine vinegar can also be added to the recipe to make the base more chewy and marshmallowy, but keep it simple. Unless you want sore biceps and a good workout, use an electric whisk for that all-important stiff peak and glossy sheen which will save you from a painful ordeal.

A pavlova looks impressive when finished – it’s simple to make, just some whisking, then some baking and lots of patience. But never fear, you will not miss out on a whole day of sunbathing in order to make this summer showstopper, which will always go down well at the backyard weekend barbecue.

Don’t worry if your pavlova is broken or cracked when it comes out of the oven as meringues are very forgiving. It’s easy to cover a crack with a topping and still look and taste sensational, and of course if you are not happy with the end result you can still make an Eton mess!

The Russian dancing ballerina Anna Pavlova was nothing skinny of today’s, but she had real style and class, just like her amazing dessert which is still a crowd-pleaser after all these years!