6 free-range egg whites
350g/12oz/1¾ cups caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cornflour
½ tsp white wine vinegar To decorate 250ml/9fl oz/generous cup of double cream, very gently whipped
16--20 strawberries, cut into quarters
2 passion fruits
Crisp on the outside, soft and light on the inside, piled high with sweet strawberries and freshly whipped cream -- what could be more delicious than pavlova? My mum, Licia, makes the best ones, and this is the recipe I'll be making her on Mother's Day.
1 Pre-heat the oven to 120C/240F/ gas mark 1 or 2. Line a 33x23cm or 13x9in baking tray with parchment paper.
2 Put the egg whites into a spotlessly clean mixer bowl and beat on full speed until quite stiff. Reduce the speed and add the sugar, a little at a time. When all of the sugar has been incorporated, add the vanilla extract, cornflour and vinegar and give one final whisk on high speed. The mixture should be glossy and, when the bowl is turned upside down, the mixture should remain firmly in the bowl.
3Spread all of the mixture out on the baking sheet or spoon into a piping bag and pipe out into individual nests. Bake in the oven for one hour, or until the meringue mixture is very firm to touch but still soft in the middle. I usually leave mine to cool in the oven with the door ajar.
4 When cold, transfer to a serving plate and decorate with some freshly whipped cream. Pile the strawberries on top of the pavlova and drizzle the seeds of the passion fruits all over the top. Serve immediately.