MAKES 1 CAKE
This dessert can not be attributed to any one cook, but gently evolved from years of recipe-swapping among the women of New Zealand. We adapted this recipe from The Cook's Companion (Viking, 1996) by Stephanie Alexander.
4 room-temperature egg whites
1 cup plus 2 tbsp. superfine sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. white vinegar
Few drops vanilla extract
1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
1 banana, peeled and sliced
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
3 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
Pulp of 2 passion fruits
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then trace a 10" circle on the paper. Put egg whites and salt in the clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium-low speed until frothy, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until whites form stiff but not dry peaks, 2–3 minutes. Gradually add sugar while whisking, then increase speed to high and beat until stiff and glossy, 3–5 minutes. Sprinkle cornstarch, vinegar, and vanilla over whites, then gently fold in.
2. Fill traced circle with meringue, smoothing top and sides. Put meringue in middle of oven and reduce heat to 300°. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave meringue inside until completely cool, about 4 hours.
3. Remove paper and place meringue on a cake plate. Whip cream to soft peaks, then pile on top of meringue. Arrange cut fruit over whipped cream, then spoon on passion-fruit pulp. Slice pavlova into wedges to serve.