Let’s skip the Australia vs New Zealand debate and just agree that this popular dessert (as light as the ballerina Anna Pavlova), is delicious and much easier to make than it looks. The secret to a light crisp shell and marshmallowy centre is the vinegar and cornflour, plus letting it cool completely in the oven. I like the slightly golden colour and richer flavour that raw castor sugar gives, but use white if you prefer and if you don’t have castor sugar, use icing sugar, or briefly blitz regular sugar in a spice grinder or food processor. Pavlova is a stunning centrepiece for any table and, best of all, can be baked a few days in advance, stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place, and quickly decorated an hour or so before serving. As for what to decorate it with, use any fruit you like, but traditionally, in the words of Stephanie Alexander: “Passionfruits are essential, strawberries are tolerated.” You need a slightly sweet wine with this, nothing too sticky, di Lusso Picolit (a grape from northern Italy) works perfectly.
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