A crowd-pleasing classic. This free-form version requires only a baking tray. The key to a great pavlova is achieving a lovely, crisp shell with a soft, marshmallow inside. Practise with your oven to get the best results.
4 egg whites, at room temperature
250g caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cornflour
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm circle on the paper. Beat egg whites and salt to soft peaks. Add sugar, a third at a time, beating continuously until meringue is stiff and glossy. Add lemon juice, vanilla and cornflour and fold in lightly. Spoon meringue on to prepared paper, make a slight dip in the centre and smooth the sides. Place in the oven and reduce the heat down to 140C and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce the temperature again to 120C and cook for another 45 minutes. Turn off oven and allow pavlova to cool completely in the oven. To serve, decorate with whipped cream and fresh fruit such as passionfruit and banana.