Hands down, one of our absolute favorite desserts. It's Australia's national dessert, much like apple pie is our American national dessert.
Even people who *say* they don't like desserts love this. It's beautiful and looks impressive. It has a deep, dark secret, too: It looks like it took hours to make, but actually it's very easy and takes very little time.
6 egg whites
pinch of salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 pint (16 ounces) heavy cream
A pint of fresh red raspberries
A pint of fresh blueberries
A pint of fresh blackberries
2 cups fresh sliced and sugared peaches
Note: this is the fruit I use; you may substitute your own fresh favorites.
Beat egg whites intil foamy; add the salt, then add the sugar gradually. Mix in vinegar, then add the vanilla last. Beat until stiff but not dry peaks have formed.
Cover a LARGE rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper, and lightly butter the parchment paper. Pile the meringue into an 8" mound in the center, making an indentation in the top. (It should look like a volcano crater with it's top blown off.) The meringue will spread out a lot while baking, so be sure to make the meringue very tall and the indent quite deep.
Bake for 40 to 43 minutes at 300 degrees, --do not peek!-- then turn off the oven and leave the meringue in it for an additional 40 minutes longer, making sure not to open the oven door. Remove from oven to cool completely. Very carefully remove the pavlova shell to a very large round serving platter.
At serving time:
Whip the heavy cream until stiff, and mound the whipped cream into the center crater of the meringue. Top the whipped cream with the fresh fruit; not all of it will fit onto the top of the pavlova. Slice into generous wedges and add additional fruit to each serving.
Serves 8 to 10 with generous slices and lots of fruit
Any leftover pavlova can be refrigerated overnight, loosely covered. It must be eaten within 24 hours; the whipped cream is fairly fragile.