I've been on a Pavlova kick lately, between the succulent summer Georgia peaches and the cheap, plentiful raspberries from Costco. I must have made three in the past two weeks -- for family and for two luncheons I had at home for some of "the girls." This dessert really goes down easy for everybody.
I'm forever grateful to a New Zealander and wonderful cook named Eileen Lambert, who years ago introduced me to this wonderful concoction that has become just about our favorite dessert. I love the magical way a half-dozen egg whites are transformed into an amazingly thick, glossy thing that after a long, slow baking become a giant marshmallow with the loveliest almond-colored crust.
The trick is to separate the eggs while they're cold, then allow them to sit at room temperature for at least an hour or two before beating with a stand mixer, adding only a bit of sugar at a time. Oh, yeah, and the bowl and beaters must be free of even a smidge of anything oily. If these four requirements aren't met, the magic won't happen. I've learned, too, that Pavlova is a great do-ahead dessert: The meringue can be made the day before and stored, tightly covered at room temperature, and the whipped cream and fruit added in the morning and refrigerated until lunch time. I do wish I'd photographed one of these on a pretty plate.