The great joy of this pudding is that you can make the meringue base days beforehand and store them in an airtight container. You can assemble the pavlova just minutes before serving, so that you feel relaxed and stress-free when bringing them to the table. In order for meringues to be successful they need to be completely dry, light, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Preheat the oven to 140°C. Grease and line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper.
Whisk the egg whites in a very clean bowl till stiff. Add the sugar, very slowly, until it is fully mixed in.
Pipe the meringue mixture either in a large circle or two heart shapes on the baking tray. Bake in the oven for approximately one hour, then switch the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven till cool.
Whip the double cream with the icing sugar and the vanilla. Hull the strawberries and slice them into small pieces.
Serve the pavlova on a round platter with the cream on top and decorate with the strawberry pieces and the toasted almond flakes. If you have made two heart shapes you can divide the whipped cream and strawberries into two portions, using one to sandwich the hearts together and the remaining portion on top. Decorate with toasted almond flakes.