I’ve always wanted to make this delicate dessert, and I took the plunge last weekend. Both Australians and New Zealanders claim to have invented the dish to celebrate the visit of a famed Russian ballerina in the 1920s. The key element is meringue, which can be finicky to make. If the egg whites are not whipped and then baked correctly the merengue will collapse. I had some ice cream on hand in case the worst happened. It did not. I kept a close vigil while the meringue cooked for over four hours. Then I carefully stuffed the mascarpone into an opening I’d created in the underside of the fragile confection. The individual portions all survived this operation with flying colors. I made a fruit syrup and covered the meringue with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. The result is a light, crispy dessert that literally melts in your mouth. The revues at my dinner party were unanimous. Not a trace of the Pavlovas remained. And I’ve added a new dish to my repertoire.

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