6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream, whipped with ½ tsp vanilla
assorted fresh fruit
Combine egg whites and sugar in the heatproof bowl (degreased on the inside with the tsp of lemon juice) of an electric mixer. Place over a medium saucepan, ¼ filled with water at a simmer. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warmed, about 3 minutes.
Transfer bowl to mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat, beginning on low and gradually increasing to high, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes. Whisk in vanilla.
On each of two sheets of parchment paper, draw one 10-inch circle with a pencil. Place sheets, pencil-side down, on baking sheets. Spread or pipe meringue onto circles (the one for the bottom of the assembly should be somewhat concave to hold the fruit and cream. Bake at 300-degrees for about an hour, until crisp and dry on the outside and soft on the inside. Let cool.
To assemble, place bottom disk on a serving plate. Spread with the whipped cream and garnish with ½ of the fruit. Arrange second disk on top and top with remaining fruit. Note: assemble about an hour before serving. Pavlova does not keep well past the first day.
Sweet tart: Make use of both seasonal local produce, as well as tropical imports. Pavlova is as spectacular when monogamous to one theme (ie: raspberries) as it is when heaped with variety. Meringues, however, are inherently sweet. They are therefore well matched with something tart.