1. Eggs can differ drastically in size so the best way to ensure your Pav works is to measure the egg whites by volume. Separate eggs while cold because it's easier, then bring whites to room temperature because they fluff up better / easier.
Don't use freshly laid eggs, make sure they're 4+ days old. Store bought is a safe bet.
2. To beat whites to soft peaks, beat the whites until you can't see the egg whites anymore i.e. it all turns into white foam, then beat for a further 1 minute. The whites should now be soft peaks - i.e. just holds its shape in peaks.
The vinegar and cornflour / cornstarch help keep the egg whites stabilised once whipped which is especially important for a pav because it's quite tall (not as important for small meringues).
3. If using a handheld beater, use a heavy based bowl so you can beat while adding sugar at the same time without the bowl moving around.
4. Work quickly here - after you stop beating, try to get it in the oven within 5 minutes max.
5. Eyeball it, you will go by height to determine Pav size, not diameter. The cake low height and shape with slightly sloping inward edges makes it a more stable so it is less prone to cracking / collapsing. And don't worry, the Pav rises and expands when it bakes!
6. I bake for longer at a lower temp than most recipes because I find it makes the Pav more stable and also makes it come out white. Higher temp can cause the Pav to rise too fast, making it more prone to collapsing. I preheat the oven on a higher temp to kick start the crisping of the shell to compensate for baking at a lower temp.
7. MAKE AHEAD / STORING: Store the cool pav in an airtight container until ready for serving. I have baked it the night before then left it in the oven until lunch time the next day - worked a treat. Do not refrigerate the Pav - it will sweat when it comes to room temperature and soften the crisp meringue shell. Only put the topping on just before serving - once the cream etc is on the pav, it holds up well for around 20 min, 30 min tops.
8. Nutrition for pavlova only (excludes cream and fruit topping)