If you're staring out of the window waiting for the rain to stop, then this is the perfect dessert to get you into a summery mood. And if you're sweltering in 100 degrees then this the perfect light dessert to cool you down.
It's also a great way of using up the last of the summer soft fruits and, because it's entirely made out of whipped air and fruit, must have very few calories indeed. (This may not be entirely true - Ed).
Having tested a few different pavlova recipes over the years, I've come to the conclusion that the best is from Nigella Lawson's How to Eat (which comes via an Australian foodwriter Stephanie Alexander). Aussies and Kiwis apparently argue about who invented pavlova - I'm just glad someone did.
Nigella's/Stephanie's recipe is pretty much a standard pavlova recipe including both a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of cornflour. The clever bit is that they suggests preheating the oven to 180°C (350°F), then reducing the temperature to 150°C (300°F) when it goes in the oven. Then after cooking for an hour, the oven is turned off and the pavlova is left in the oven overnight to cool completely.
The aim is to get a pavlova which is crunchy on the outside but is soft and meltingly chewy, a bit like marshmallow, inside. You may need to experiment a bit. The above timings were perfect for my oven in London, but my pavlova here cooked too quickly and went a bit too brown. I managed to salvage it by turning the oven right down and the texture was still pretty much as it should be. Ideally though the meringue should be whiter than in the picture.
I topped mine with raspberries and sliced strawberries. The very best pavlova in the world though is topped with passionfruit pulp (as in Nigella's recipe below).