Pavlova with cream and winter berries.... Soft and gooey inside, crunchy on the outside.
Springform tin 25cm / serves approx 10
8 egg whites ( room tempertaure )
500g caster sugar
4 tsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
the topping - optional
mixed winter/summer berries, warmed through - or
banana and passion fruit
whipped cream/mascarpone/ice cream - whichever you prefer
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180 C.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and draw a rough circle of about 25cm using the base of the tin you will use.
Whisk egg whites and salt in a large roomy bowl (spotlessly clean, as egg whites don't like contact with even the slightest trace of any other food substance and they will double in volume) until shiny peaks form.
Beat in the sugar a little at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny.
Sprinkle over the cornflour and vinegar and fold in gently to avoid loosing any of the air you have so carefully added.
Pile the meringue on to the baking sheet within the circle and either swirl to create the shape you like or spread out and smooth the sides.
Put it in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to to gas 2/150 C and cook for 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours. By then it will have risen and cracked a litle around the top and the sides. Check that it is dry and crispy on the outside, if not give it a little longer.
Then turn off the oven, open the door and leave to cool completely.
When you are ready to dress the pavlova, you can if your brave enough, invert it on to a large plate and remove the baking parchment. If it's too daunting don't worry about it...just leave it and be aware you will just have to take a little more care when serving to avoid giving your guests a mouthful of paper ! ( Something I have actually done I am afraid )
Once you have chosen your preferred topping you can add as you wish, it is difficult ot get this wrong as it lends itself to going overboard.
Dust liberally with icing sugar...Enjoy