"A light meringue with a soft filling makes the base for these light and lush desserts filled with cream and fruit. "
- Yield: 10 Servings
- Place rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Line 1 or 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Using an electric mixer whip egg whites until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Gradually sprinkle in the sugar, cornstarch and salt with the beaters running on high speed. Beat until mixture is thick and glossy then fold in the vanilla and vinegar.
- Pipe or spoon the meringue into 8-10 large round mounds that are about 3 inches wide on the lined baking sheet, leaving room for spreading. With the back of a spoon, create an indentation in the middle of the mound for holding the filling once meringue is baked.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the meringues are crisp, dry to the touch on the outside, and still white. Don’t open the oven or jump around near the oven, or they may collapse. The interiors should have a soft, marshmallow-like consistency. Check on meringues at least once near end of baking time. If they appear to be taking on color or cracking, reduce temperature 25 degrees, and turn pan around.
- Cool on tray on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slide meringues off tray to cool completely on rack. Transfer to a tightly sealed container, where they will keep, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks. If conditions are humid, use in a few days.
- Tips & Techniques
There is ongoing rivalry between the Australians and New Zealanders as to who ‘owns’ the pavlova. Being an Aussie, I’d better stick to our story, where it is said that the chef of the hotel where Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova, was staying in 1935, created the dessert in her honor. He wanted something delicate and sweet, as she was, hence the soft meringue with its fragile crust and delicate cream and fruit filling. Regardless of its origins, this dish is iconic in both Australia and New Zealand, and enjoyed with kiwi, passion fruit and banana also. I’ve made small individual meringues, but feel free to do the original one large pavlova, baking for 1 ½ to 2 hours in a very low oven.
- Just before serving, spoon cream generously into centre of pavlova and arrange fruit over the cream. Enjoy straight away, as the shell will become soggy after a few hours.