Never-fail pavlova

Everyone should know how to whip up a pav. For the sheer fact that creating a pavlova makes you feel like the most domestic goddess of all domestic goddesses. This recipe has never failed me. (But if it does, it’s nothing that can’t be hidden beneath 300g of whipped cream and piles of fruit. If things go really sideways, you’ve got yourself an Eton Mess.)

4 egg whites

pinch of salt

225 gm caster sugar (1 C) – smooth out any lumps with a spoon

2 tsp cornflour

1 tsp white vinegar

½ tsp vanilla extract

250ml cream, lightly whipped

Pre-heat the oven to 120°C

Put egg whites and salt in a grease-free bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until very stiff. Note; it’s very important there is no grease on the bowl, a good way to ensure this is to ‘scorch’ it by tipping boiling water into the bowl, then drying it.

Continue beating the egg whites while adding a Tbspn of caster sugar at a time. Whisk for several minutes after it has all been added and then turn off the machine.

Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Use a large metal spoon to carefully mix ingredients together without deflating the whipped whites.

Line a baking tray with baking paper, and transfer the mixture in dollops into a rough circle of about 20cm diameter.

Bake in the oven for one hour, by which time the meringue should be crisp on top, although you may see it slightly sunken under the crisp shell (this is normal). Turn the oven off and leave pavlova in the oven for at least one hour but preferably until the oven is cool (overnight is a good idea too).

Just before serving, carefully peel away the baking paper and transfer to a serving plate. Pile on the cream and fruit.