With nostalgia clouding my memory, I can’t be entirely sure if my grandmother was the great cook I remember her to be but I am still certain she made a bloody delicious pavlova. It's a dish I am hardwired to love, one that provokes a sense of nostalgia not only for my family and for summer holidays but for Australia itself. And I know I am not alone: When it comes to the relatively sparse culinary canon of my home country, there is really only one dish that hits this universal note. It is no exaggeration to say that every family, regardless of background, has its pavlova tradition and that the ‘Pav’ is as Australian as the apple pie is American. It's more than a national dish—it's a national emblem. —David Prior
Preheat the oven to 250° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites until thick and glossy.
Add the sugar, 3 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition.
With the last addition, add the salt, vanilla, and vinegar.
Use a plastic spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, working your way around the whole bowl, even beneath the mixture, so as to gather the mixture into a ball and separate it from the bowl. Set your paper-lined baking tray on top of the bowl, then flip it all upside down so the mixture drops onto the tray gently in a big ball. Use the spatula to carefully scrape any leftover mixture on top of the ball. The higher the ball is, the more squishy marshmallow inside once it's baked. Move this ball into the center of the tray by gently shifting and adjusting the paper.
Place in the center of the oven and leave to cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until you can see that it has risen and is turning a little golden in spots. Do not open the oven at any time! When it is cooked, turn the oven off and leave the pavlova in the oven to cool.
When cooled, pile on whipped cream and chopped fresh seasonal fruit. My grandmother virtually only ever used passionfruit. The tartness cuts the sweetness of the meringue and melds with the cream. Just slice open the fruit and spoon it out over the pavlova.