These light, airy meringues are perfect for serving large groups, and make a welcome dessert after a heavy meal. Bonus: the meringues keep well, so you can make them up to a week ahead, store in an airtight container and assemble them right before serving. Lemon curd, fresh fruit and whipped cream make a classic filling, or try finely chopping strawberries, kiwi and mango to make a fresh fruit salsa to spoon on top.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
6 large egg whites
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla
lemon curd (optional)
fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and/or sliced strawberries,
peaches, plums, apricots or kiwi
ADULT: Preheat oven to 250°F and line two large baking sheets with foil or parchment.
CHILD: Measure the sugar and cornstarch into a small bowl and stir it together until there are no more lumps.
ADULT ASSISTANCE: In a large, clean glass or stainless steel bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
ADULT ASSISTANCE: Gradually add sugar, beating constantly until the mixture holds stiff, glossy peaks, like shaving cream. Beat in the vinegar and vanilla.
ADULT ASSISTANCE: To make small Pavlovas, spoon small mounds (a heaping tablespoon) of meringue about an inch apart on the lined baking sheets, then make little indents in the middle using the tip of a teaspoon, forming nests.
ADULT: Bake one sheet at a time, or both in a convection oven, for 1 hour until crisp and dry.
ADULT: Let the meringues cool completely, then peel off the foil or parchment.
ADULT ASSISTANCE: Right before serving, fill each pavlova with a small spoonful of lemon curd and/or whipped cream, then top with berries or chopped fresh fruit.
Makes about 40 small Pavlovas.