I have been making pavlova since I was about 12. My mother was a good pavlova cook and her sister still is today. Whenever I am asked to make a sweet I often make a pavlova as I can almost make it with my eyes shut. I don't have to consult a recipe and they always seems to work out.
Stephanie Alexander's recipe which is pretty much the same as Mum's but includes two teaspoons of corn flour and a couple of drops of white wine vinegar. It tastes pretty much the same but the addition of the small amount of corn flour possibly makes the meringue slightly more crispy.
For a long time we Australians claimed the pavlova as one of our national dishes but in recent years it was discovered that the pav was first made in New Zealand. It's a great gluten-free desert.
Stephanie Alexander's pavlova
Ingredients: 4 egg whites at room temperature (add more egg white if you need to make a larger pav). pinch of salt, 250g caster sugar (add a tablespoon more for each extra egg white), 2 teaspoons cornflour, 1 teaspoon white white vinegar, a few drops of pure vanilla, 300 ml cream, firmly whipped pulp of 10 passionfruit.
Method: Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20 cm circle on the paper. Beat egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in sugar, a third at a time, until meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly. Mound onto paper-lined baking tray within circle, flattening top and smoothing sides. Place in oven, immediately reduce heat to 150C and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce further to 120C and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave pavlova in it to cool completely. Invert pavlova onto a platter, pile on cream and spoon over passionfruit pulp.