When I need a dessert with knockout crowd appeal, a pavlova delivers. A big cloud of chocolate meringue, this pavlova is crisp outside and marshmallow-chocolatey-chewy inside, with a pillow of tangerine-scented whipped cream and a pile of fresh fruit cradled on top. It’s undeniably impressive, and yet you’ll be surprised at how effortlessly it comes together.
Admittedly, a meringue can be fussy—especially when the weather is humid. But I take a few precautions to stabilize it. Adding cream of tartar and a bit of vinegar to the egg whites helps them whip to stiff peaks. Once baked, I leave the pavlova in the oven so it cools gradually, which further protects the delicate meringue structure. Even so, expect the pavlova to collapse a bit. If it collapses more or less than the pavlova in the photo, don’t panic. Every pavlova comes out looking unique, and the slightly concave center makes a wonderful bowl for the whipped cream and fruit. All your guests will remember is that they couldn't stop at just one slice.