This might – might – be better than strawberry shortcake. A pavlova starts with a cloud of meringue, crisp on the edges, soft inside. You pile berries in and on and around this cloud, then top with a splat of freshly whipped cream, and grab a spoon.
Wow. Just – wow.
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 c granulated sugar (or, even better, superfine sugar)
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 275˚F, and place the rack in the middle of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed of an electric mixer. Beat continuously until the eggs form soft peaks. While beating, sprinkle in the sugar, one teaspoon at a time. It’s important that you don’t just dump the sugar in, it must go in gradually. Keep beating until all the sugar is incorporated, and the egg whites form glossy stiff peaks.
Stop the mixer, then sprinkle the whites with cornstarch and vinegar. Fold this in gently with a spatula. Add the vanilla, and fold again.
Use a spoon to spread the meringue into 3 inch rounds on the parchment – my batch made 8 rounds, but you should get at least 6. Leave 2 inches of space between each one. Use the back of the spoon to make a small well in the middle of each meringue.
Bake in the 275˚ oven 30 minutes, until they show a light tan/pink eggshell color. Now turn the oven off, and leave the door slightly ajar, to let the meringues cool completely, which takes nearly an hour. They might deflate if introduced to cool air too soon! As the meringues cool, they might crack slightly, this is okay.
Use immediately, or store, nested in waxed paper, in a cool place, stored in an airtight tin.