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Edmonds Cookery Book (NZ)

Yield: 6-8 servings (the recipe says 6, but it will easily serve 8)

  • 3 egg whites
  • 3 Tbs. cold water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tsp. cornstarch

Finish with:

  • 1 cup cream, whipped (with 1 Tbs. sugar and 1/2 tsp. vanilla)
  • 3 cups fresh mixed berries or other fruit in season

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Measure out all the ingredients for the meringue, placing the egg whites in the mixer bowl and everything else separately. If the egg whites are cold, warm them briefly, either by placing the mixing bowl in another bowl of hot tap water, or above a stove flame (you have to use a clean finger to stir if you do this, or risk cooking the egg whites).

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff. Add water and beat again. Add sugar very gradually while still beating. Slow beater and add vinegar, vanilla and cornstarch. Beat to combine well.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle (or make it oval to fit your favorite platter) on a piece of parchment paper and then turn it over. Spread the meringue to within an inch of the edge of the circle, keeping the shape as round and even as possible. Smooth top surface over. Bake for 45 minutes, then leave to cool in the oven for at least half an hour. If making ahead, store in an air-tight container for up to a day.

While the meringue is baking, wash and prepare the fruit, and whip the cream to soft peaks.

Just before serving, carefully lift the meringue onto a serving plate. Top lavishly with whipped cream and fresh fruit. Cut portions for each diner.

Note: Small individual Pavlovas are easy to make, as well—just draw 3 inch circles, spaced on the parchment. Flip it over to keep the pencil marks from contacting the meringue, and fill each circle with some of the meringue mixture.