1 hour active, 1/2 hour resting in oven
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line one large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until soft peaks form. Add sugar in 15 mL (one tablespoon) portions, beating well in between each addition. Repeat until all sugar is incorporated, and meringue forms stiff and shiny peaks.
Beat in vanilla extract and lemon juice. Very gently fold in cornstarch.
Spoon meringue into a large piping bag with a round tip (or simply cut off the end of a plastic piping bag). Pipe meringue onto the parchment lined baking sheet in circles with a diameter of 7-10 cm.
In a small bowl, carefully melt dark chocolate, and then spoon into a small piping bag. Zig zag chocolate over each meringue, and then run a toothpick in small circles through the chocolate and meringue to create swirls in each meringue.
Place baking sheet in the oven and turn the temperature down to 250 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour, or until the meringue is a very light cream colour. Turn off the oven, leave the door cracked open, and allow to cool completely inside the oven.
Meringue can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for a couple days before serving.
In a medium bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks start to form. Add in vanilla and icing sugar and adjust to taste. Transfer meringues to a serving dish by piling them on top of each other, and breaking some of them in half. Spoon whipped cream over top of meringues, add sliced strawberries, chopped pistachios and mint on top.
Meringue can be a bit intimidating, so here are a few tips to help you succeed:
1) There must not be any fat on your mixing bowl or beaters, as it can cause your egg whites to deflate, so be sure to clean all of your baking utensils well before starting, and don’t let any yolk contaminate your egg whites!
2) Cold eggs make it easier to separate the yolk from the white, but room temperature egg whites gain more volume when beaten. An easy solution is to separate your eggs right out of the fridge, and allow the whites to sit on the counter for 30 minutes before using.
3) Humidity is not your friend, and your meringues might not set properly due to the moisture in the air, so a dry day is a safer bet!
4) Try and assemble your pavlova right before you serve it, and not too much beforehand. When serving meringue with fruit, the meringue will begin to absorb the moisture, losing its crunch over time and becoming soggy.
A recipe created by our foodie influencer @Kelsey_TheFarmersDaughter