Here's how you do it
- Preheat the oven to 150°C. Separate the sugar into two bowls - 350g for the meringues and 50g for the strawberry compote.
- For the meringue, whisk up the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl using an electric whisk until they form soft peaks. Begin to add the sugar a tablespoon at a time as you continue to whisk.
- Once all of the sugar has been added and the meringues are thick and glossy with stiff peaks, add the vanilla seeds and cornflour. Whisk briefly to combine.
- Dot a small amount of meringue onto each corner of a baking tray then line with baking paper (this will stop the baking paper from moving about).
- Using a spatula, scoop 8 equal dollops of meringue onto the paper, leaving around at least 2 inches between each as they will expand in the oven.
- Pop the meringues in the oven. After 30 minutes, turn the oven off but leave the meringue in the oven to continue to cook in the residual heat for a further 30 minutes.
- While the meringues are cooking, hull and halve the strawberries. Reserving 50g for garnish, pour the rest of the strawberries into a saucepan with 50g sugar and a squeeze of lemon. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes until the strawberries have broken down and the compote coats the back of a spoon. Leave to cool completely.
- Once the meringues have cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool. Lightly whisk the double cream to very soft peaks.
- To assemble the individual pavlovas, carefully pull the meringues from the baking paper and pop each onto a plate (be gentle as they are very fragile). Dollop the whipped cream over each then spoon over the compote. Finish with your reserved strawberries and a sprinkle of pistachios if you like.
Chef's Tip: To remove the seeds from the vanilla pod, cut the pod open length ways. Starting at the end closest to you, run the knife down the pod to pull away the tiny seeds from the shell. Don't throw the leftover pod away as this contains lots of wonderful vanilla flavour - pop into a bag of sugar to use the next time you bake, or add to a simple sugar syrup to use in cocktails or cordial.