I have been going through a Pavlova Renaissance. My mum used to make these for "occasions" - birthdays (we got to request the dessert we wanted, and we mostly opted for the good old pav) and of course Christmas. I think at Christmas there was the usual trifle as well, but Nana poured half a bloody bottle of sherry in there and it was a bit strong for the kids. Anyway, I have now made pavlova two weekends in a row. I now have 12 egg yolks in the fridge and need to now think of something to do with them besides feeding them to the dog (canine coronary material, I would think). My pavs have both been perfection. It all comes down to the recipe I reckon, and I have my mum's recipe - it always works. Oh, and your oven. Gas just doesn't do it.
Here's the recipe, if you're game to try. Really, it's very easy, but you'll probably need an electric beater or cake mixer.
4 large or 5 small egg whites
2 tablespoons of cold water
2 teaspoons of vinegar
Beat all of the above till stiff peaks form.
Next, fold together 2 teaspoons of cornflour with 2 cups of white sugar.
Slowly add this mixture to the egg whites while beating all the time.
Now pile this mixture onto an oven tray in and using a spatula shape into a circular mound (approx 25cm in diameter).
Cook in a preheated low oven (125 degrees centrigrade) for one hour. The outside should be crunchy and the inside marshmallowy and light.
When cool, spread liberally with whipped cream. Typically, New Zealanders will top with slice kiwifruit. I prefer a crumbled Flake or chocolate chips.