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4 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 drops vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Strawberries, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, pineapple, peaches, mango, sliced -- these are the usual choices, but can be improvised
Passion fruit
1 pint whipping cream, whipped and slightly sweetened

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Beat egg whites until they hold their shape. Gradually add sugar, about a tablespoon at a time, beating in well. Add cream of tartar, vanilla extract and vinegar. Continue beating until mixture forms stiff peaks.

Turn mixture onto a foil-lined cookie sheet, forming the mixture into a nest, high on the sides, about 7 or 8 inches in diameter.

Place cookie sheet on center rack and bake for 1 hour. The pavlova should not get much color, just lose a little of its whiteness. At the end of the hour, turn off the oven and open the door, leaving the pavlova in there to cool.

Remove pavlova from oven and gently lift off the foil. This is a delicate operation and the pavlova is likely to crack. But never mind if this happens; just place it on a serving plate and put it back together.

Fruit can be prepared ahead or at the last minute, but the pavlova should not be assembled until right before serving.

When ready to serve, fill the "nest" with fruit, top with whipped cream, then drizzle the pulp and seeds of the passion fruit over the top. Ice cream can also be used to fill the shell. Serves 6.

Note: I usually make two pavlovas at a time because everyone comes back for seconds, sometimes thirds.

Thursday, September 14, 2000

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