Every Australian family has its pavlova recipe tradition. In mine the crisp baked shell was always turned upside down to be spread with cream and passionfruit. In this way the marshmallow middle melded with the cream and the sides and base stayed crisp.
Pavlova can be difficult to cook, as the meringue needs a short period of high heat to set and crisp the exterior and then a long period of cooling heat to set but not dry out the marshmallowy interior. Experiment with your own oven. Every oven is different and some adjust faster than others. If your oven does not adjust temperature quickly you may have better results by cooking the pavlova at 120°C for 2 hours. If syrupy droplets form on the surface of the meringue, you’ll know you have overcooked it; liquid oozing from the meringue is a sign of undercooking.
4 egg whites, at room temperature
pinch of salt
250 g castor sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
few drops of pure vanilla
1¼ cups cream, firmly whipped
pulp of 10 passionfruit
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20 cm circle on the paper.
Beat egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in sugar, a third at a time, until meringue is stiff and shiny.
Sprinkle over cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly. Mound onto paper-lined baking tray within circle, flattening top and smoothing sides.
Place in oven, immediately reduce heat to 150°C and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce further to 120°C and cook for 45 minutes.
Turn off oven and leave pavlova in it to cool completely. Invert pavlova onto a platter, pile on cream and spoon over passionfruit pulp.