Meringue shell:

Pavlova is the national dessert in Australia, where it is appropriately served with sliced kiwis. We first enjoyed Pavlova in Ann Arbor where we were "on sabbatical" for a semester and met the Heywood family from Down Under. Our kids enjoyed playing and the parents all enjoyed getting to know each other.

Whenever we serve pavlova to guests, it never fails to impress.

5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup whipping cream, sugar and vanilla to taste
approx 1 pint of berries or other soft fruit (peaches, apricots, kiwi, etc., peeled and chopped)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Cover a large flat cookie sheet with a sheet of parchment paper. In the center of the paper, trace a ten inch circle and grease within the circle's outline.

Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add the cup of sugar and beat on High for eight minutes, scraping sides of the bowl with a spatula, every so often. The beaten whites should be very thick and firm. Add the one third cup of sugar and teaspoon of vanilla and continue to beat on high speed for another two minutes. 

Spread the beaten egg whites on the parchment paper in a circle about 7 or 8 inches in diameter (you will form a disk 2-3 inches high) in the middle of the greased circle. The shell will spread a bit as it bakes Place the cookie sheet in the oven and IMMEDIATELY TURN THE OVEN HEAT DOWN TO 250 DEGREES. Continue to bake at 250 for one hour and fifteen minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the closed oven to cool. Overnight is fine. The meringue must cool completely before you fill it.

Wait to fill the meringue until an hour or less before serving. Whip the cream with sugar and vanilla to taste. Fold in the prepared fruit. Gently lift meringue off the parchment paper (I used a pancake turner) and transfer it to the serving dish. Use a sharp knife to cut a circle close to the edges and within the top surface of the meringue. The top will subside a bit into the center of the meringue shell. Pile the fruit and whipped cream filling into the center of the shell. You may serve immediately or chill until ready to serve,  usually 30 minutes to an hour is best,