4 egg whites a pinch of cream of tartar 1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon cornflour (corn starch) 1 t white wine (or champagne) vinegar 1 t vanilla essence (or scrape the seeds from a dried vanilla pod.)
About ½ pint heavy cream, whipped fresh fruit
TIP: Ensure your oven is preheated for at least 10 mins before cooking. Have all your ingredients measured and laid out before you commence. Eggs should be at room temperature and carefully separated, with no trace of yolk. Maybe make some chocolate pots de creme or sauce sabayon or mayonnaise with those yolks…
Whip egg whites and cream of tartar, building to high speed, until they are stiff and soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, a little at a time, beating well to dissolve each addition. Add the cornflour with the last amount of sugar. Meringue will be smooth and glossy. By hand, gently fold in the vinegar and the vanilla, lifting as you go to preserve the fluffiness of the meringue.
Use a sandwich tray, covered with lightly greased baking paper. Pile the meringue in the middle of the tray, shaping the mixture into as high a dome as possible after spreading in about a 12-inch oval, or pie shell shape, as preferred.
TIP: Meringue will expand a little bit and crack as it is cooking. It may also sink a bit in the middle once cooled, but that’s the part you fill with cream, anyway.
Cook at 250 degrees for 1 & ½ hours. Turn off heat and let cool in oven for a further two or so hours.
Once cold, decorate with whipped cream (lightly sweetened with powdered sugar and vanilla essence) and fruit. Also good to sprinkle with chocolate chips.