- Preheat oven to 210°F.
- Place a sheet of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Using a pencil draw and 8 inch circle onto parchment paper. Flip it upside down and set aside.
- The meringue shell can be made with or without a piping bag. If using a bag, fit with a large plain pastry tube and set aside.
- Whip egg whites to froth and while whipping gradually add first listed 1/2 cup sugar. Add vanilla extract.
- Continue whipping on medium speed to very stiff peaks.
- Stop whipping and using a rubber spatula gently fold remaining sugar into meringue. Once combined stop folding.
- If using a piping bag, pipe a 8 inch circle onto parchment paper filling in the entire circle. Pipe large kisses around edges without leaving any space in between and keeping center open.
- Without pastry bag spoon meringue into drawn circle. Using a spoon, spread meringue evenly inside the circle while building a higher border.
- Place immediately into an oven and bake until meringue is thoroughly crisp. This will take about 2 hours. However if during baking meringue starts to lightly brown, reduce oven temperature by 20 degrees. Once cooled store meringue in an airtight container to prevent it from becoming soggy.
- Just before serving, fill with Crème Chantilly and fruit. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Store refrigerated.
Imperial Sugar Insight
- The meringue can be made a couple of days beforehand and stored in an airtight box.
- French style meringue is very light and has a most delicate texture. Feel free to incorporate fresh grated lemon peel, instant coffee, non-brewed tea or whatever you personally like.
- The key to great meringue is a low oven temperature and once in a while opening the oven door to release built up moisture from the oven.
- Most fresh fruits will work in a Pavlova. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, nectarines, figs, apricots, mango, plums, papaya, pineapple - pretty much anything goes. However if using a fruit with a high water content, add just prior to serving as the liquid from the fruit can make the Pavlova soggy.*
- If you like a sweet and tart combo, add some Lemon Curd, Dairy-Free Lemon Curd, or Lime Curd before the Crème Chantilly and fruit.