These light, sweet meringue clouds with fresh fruit filling are named after the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova. The dessert originated in Australia and New Zealand, where numerous variations make it as common as apple pie is in the United States. Jane Shapton adapted this classic from a recipe her parents brought back from a recent trip.
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 large egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups bite-size pieces mixed fresh fruit, such as strawberries, kiwi fruit, raspberries, mango, papaya, or melon
1/2 cup orange-flavor liqueur, or fresh orange juice and sugar to taste
Softly whipped cream (optional)
Fresh mint sprigs or unsprayed edible flowers
How to Make It
Line baking sheets with cooking parchment or buttered and floured foil. Draw six 3-inch-diameter circles on the parchment at least 3 inches apart.
Mix 1/3 cup sugar with the cornstarch; set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Then gradually beat in cornstarch-sugar mixture until whites are stiff and glossy. Beat in vinegar and vanilla until blended. Mound mixture evenly on circles. With the back of a large spoon, make a bowl-like indentation in the center of each mound.
Bake in a 300° oven until golden and dry to touch, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool completely on pan. If making ahead, store airtight up to 1 day. With a wide spatula, carefully transfer each meringue to a plate.
Mix fruit with liqueur; spoon mixture into the cavity of each meringue. Add whipped cream to taste. Garnish with mint.