Preheat the oven to 150 °C.
Place a sheet of non-stick baking paper or a silicone mat (see tips) on a baking tray.
Mark a 20 cm circle on it using a plate or cake pan as a guide to shape your Pavlova.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in the castor sugar, 15 ml at a time, beating well after each addition.
Blend the vinegar, vanilla and cornflour and whisk into the egg whites.
Spread the meringue in the circle on the baking paper, building the sides up higher than the centre.
Place in the centre of the oven and reduce heat to 140 °C.
Bake for 1½ hours or until pale cream in colour.
Turn off the heat and leave in the oven, with the door open, to cool completely. Carefully remove from the sheet and place on a plate.
Add the filling just before you serve it.
Whip 625 ml cream, spoon it over the top of the meringue and scatter over chopped fruit. Good fruit combinations are strawberries and nectarines; raspberries, kiwi fruit and pawpaw; and my favourite, fresh granadilla and sliced banana drizzled with caramelised verjuice (opposite).
Place 125 ml crème de cassis, the juice of one orange and 30 ml redcurrant jelly in a saucepan. Boil for about two minutes or until syrupy. Cool off, add 200 g raspberries and sliced ripe peaches. Cover and chill. Pour on top of the whipped cream.
Fold 100 g each chopped dates and walnuts into the meringue mixture, and use chocolate ganache as a filling.
Mix almond flakes and crushed praline into the meringue mixture.
Use a silicone mat to bake the meringue on; the meringue just slides off when it is done. You will find it at supermarkets, or buy a French professional mat called a Silpat.
Freeze leftover egg yolks for use in other recipes. If you are planning to use them in savoury dishes, add a pinch of salt; for sweet dishes, add a pinch of sugar. This stops them from becoming gelatinous.
To separate the egg yolks from the whites, crack the egg open and pour the contents out onto your slightly cupped hand with fingers slightly apart. Let all the egg white run through your fingers into a bowl while the yolk stays in your palm.