I managed to make the pavlova on the first try. It was not without a few hiccups along the way, but there were plenty of tips and tricks on the internet and I not only salvaged it but it became a week-long hit at multiple households. So, don't be intimidated by the meringue's reputation! In fact, if it wasn't for the fact that it takes a really long time of holding the beaters, I would say this was totally an easy-peasy rating, and you can dress it up with all manner of fanciful and beautiful treats, such as a tangy lemon curd and sweet strawberries.
- Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whip egg whites in a large bowl until uniformly frothy. While whipping, add a few spoonfuls of sugar. Whip until the soft peak stage, then add another few spoonfuls of sugar while whipping. Continue until all the sugar has been added, then continue whipping until the stiff peak stage and the meringue is thick and glossy.
- Place 6 dollops of meringue on the baking sheet. Use the back of a spoon to shape the meringues and create a slight well in the centers.
- Bake for one hour, turn off the oven, and then prop open the door with a wooden spoon until completely cooled.
If you add the sugar too quickly, the meringue will not firm up, so best method is to get it to the soft peak stage, add sugar, then get it back to the soft peak stage again if it has collapsed, add sugar again, etc. If it's a humid day and it seems to need a little extra help, you can add a bit of lemon juice or cream of tarter at the frothy stage. You can also separately whip one egg white to stiff peak stage, then fold it into the main bowl and then whip the entire bowl, and it should firm up better than before.