meringue galore with fruit

i am back from the US. and i am totally knackered. those 8 hour flights in the night just dont do it for me. cant sleep, wont sleep. so i was desperate for a serious sugar rush this morning and with those egg whites that have been sitting in my fridge since i left there was really one ting i could do: a pavlova. it's good for my sugar level, its wonderful to make (i love the texture of meringue - i could look at it for ever!). it's such a lovely dessert to make that sits in the oven for a while but is actually very quick to make (really, all you do is whip some egg whites with sugar, dont you?).
so here i sit - totally jet-lagged, missing new york and its wonderful energy. but this gooey bit of meringue melting on my tongue feels like home already. heaven!


6 egg whites, from large eggs
250g caster sugar
50g icing sugar, sifted

about 200 ml single cream
seeds of 1 vanilla pod
1 punnet rasberries
1 punnet strawberries
some peppermint leaves, optional

preheat the oven to 100 c°
line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until very stiff. then gradually add the sugar and mix for about 10 minutes until the mixture is very white and glossy (there is this trick, where you can dip your finger into the mixture and rub it between your fingers. if it's smooth, its perfect, if it still feels a bit grainy, mix on!). then carefully fold in the icing sugar.
spoon your meringue mix onto the lined baking tray and form a rectagle. if you dab them with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, you get some whipsy bits coming from the surface.
bake in the middle of the oven for about 1,5 hours until it's crispy on the inside, but still lovely goey in the inside. turn down oven and let meringue cool in the oven (prevents it from cracking!). i sometimes but a wodden spoon between the oven-door while the meringue is cooling in the oven.

when meringue is completely cool, whip cream with vanilla seeds and spread generously onto the meringue. decorate with berries and garnish with peppermint leaves, if desired.