I grew up on pavlovas and meringues – Mum was brilliant at making them. In fact, even though I live in Australia, home of the pav (apologies to all those Kiwis out there, but I have to say that as I’m married to an Aussie), I still think my Mum’s were the best. You have to be mindful of the weather conditions when you make meringues: don’t attempt to make them if it’s really humid and hot, as they’ll probably flop. Also, once whipped, try not to let the egg whites sit around for too long – the key with meringues is to work fast and get them into the oven straight away.
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tbsp espresso coffee powder
1 tbsp dutch-process cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
100g good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
6 free-range egg whites, at room temperature
300g caster sugar
1 tsp white vinegar
Whipped cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 140 ̊C fan-forced and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Place the cream of tartar, cornflour, coffee powder, cocoa powder and chocolate into a small bowl, stir to combine and set aside.
Wipe the inside of the bowl of an electric mixer with the cut-side of the lemon to remove any traces of oil. Add the egg whites and beat on medium speed until soft and frothy and just starting to hold soft peaks. Turn up the speed to medium–high and gradually add the caster sugar, beating just until the mixture turns thick and super-glossy and holds stiff peaks.
Add the dry ingredients and the vinegar, then gently fold together using a large metal spoon (don’t overwork the mixture – five or six folds should do it).
Take dessertspoonfuls of the mixture and drop onto the prepared trays. Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until the bases of the meringues are firm, then turn off the oven and leave the meringues in the oven to cool (use a wooden spoon handle to keep the oven door ajar, if you wish).
Serve dusted with cocoa, with freshly whipped cream alongside.