The pavlova, New Zealand's national dessert, is a crisp shell of meringue with a marshmallow centre, topped with whipped cream and fruit.

Pavlova: 2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon each: white vinegar, cornflour
4 tablespoons boiling water
Topping: 1 1/4 cups cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1-2 each: green and gold kiwifruit

Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

Place all the ingredients for the pavlova in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a rotary beater or electric beater, until the mixture is smooth, shiny and stiff, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, place a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray. Brush lightly with melted butter or oil and sprinkle with cornflour. Shake off the excess.

Spoon the meringue mixture onto the prepared tray, forming a 23cm circle.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 150°C and bake a further 35-40 minutes. Cool in the oven.

To serve, whip the cream with icing sugar, until stiff. Spread on top of the cold pav.

Peel and slice the kiwifruit. Purée some to make a sauce. Top the pav with the sliced kiwifruit and spoon some of the purée over just before serving. Serves about 6.


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