Pavlova is one of the most delicious desserts ever invented and works well with any fruit or fruit combination. A soft marshmallow-like centre is essential. Once the meringue is just cooked, my mother turns off the oven and leaves it to cool overnight in the oven. I’m certainly not going to argue with her. I sometimes serve it topped with a ball of dark fruit sorbet. It will keep in the fridge for 2–3 hours.
1. Preheat the oven to 120°C/gas mark 1/2, and the same for fan ovens. Using a dinner or side plate as a template, draw a 20cm circle in the centre of a sheet of baking paper.
2. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of a mixer and whisk until light and foamy. Add half the sugar and whisk well on a medium to three-quarter speed, until thick and glossy but not overbeaten. If you over-whisk, the meringue will be dull and firm. Add the rest of the sugar and whisk until very glossy. Remove the bowl from the machine and fold in the cornflour, vanilla and vinegar.
3. Place the baking paper on a baking sheet, drawn side face down (you should be able to see the circle through the paper). Spoon the meringue into the centre of the circle and, using a palette knife or the back of a large spoon, carefully spread it to the edge of the circle. Build up the edges so that they’re nice and high (remember this will eventually hold a lot of passion fruit and cream).
4. Bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes. The meringue will expand quite a lot, slightly colour and crack; this is normal. Check it after 1 hour: it should be firm to the touch, yet crack if squeezed lightly. If not, leave it for a bit longer. Once cooked, turn off the heat and leave the meringue in the oven to cool for a few hours or overnight.
5. In a bowl, fold the seeds and pulp from 8 of the passion fruit, the sugar and lemon zest into the cream, making sure not to over-mix. The acid from the passion fruit will thicken the cream and you’ll have a pretty swirled effect. Spoon into the meringue nest and pile high, then chill well for 30 minutes.
6. To serve, dust with icing sugar and spoon over the seeds and pulp from the remaining passion fruit.
Essential Gluten-Free by Phil Vickery. Published by Kyle Books. Priced £19.99. Photographed by Kate Whitaker.