Pear and Pomegranate Pavlova

Surrounded by a family that has always been passionate about food, wine and the arts, Pascale Beale grew up in England and France where she was trained in classical French culinary techniques by her mother and grandmother. Author of A Menu for All Seasons cook book series, and the much acclaimed 2014 success SALADE: Recipes from the Market Table, now in its third printing, her latest title, Les FRUITS: Savory and Sweet Recipes from the Market Table was released in late 2015. Pascale's food blog, The Market Table, can be found at PascalesKitchen.com.

January 12, 2016

Instructions

I first made Pavlova with my good friend Michael. He had his mum’s recipe and it was fabulous. I’ve since become slightly addicted to this dessert. In fact, last summer could have been called the Summer of the Sunday Pavlova. We continued to make it throughout the year, trying a multitude of fruit combinations. Then we struck on pears and pomegranate seeds. Oh my! This is a stunning winter dessert. Thank you, Michael, for introducing me to this scrumptious, ethereal confection.

Serves 8 to 12 people

Ingredients

For the Pavlova:

4 egg whites at room temperature

Pinch of salt

8 oz (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) ultra-fine sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract

For the whipped cream:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon sugar

For the fruit topping:

1 tablespoon butter

3–4 pears — peeled, cored and sliced.

1 teaspoon sugar

Seeds of 1 pomegranate

Note: To make ultra-fine sugar, process granulated sugar in food processor for 1 minute.

Directions

1 Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

2 Draw a 9-inch circle on parchment paper, using a compass or dinner plate. Place the parchment paper on a baking sheet with drawn circle side down.

3 Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until satiny peaks form. Then beat in the ultra-fine sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle the cornstarch, vinegar and vanilla over the whipped egg whites. Fold in lightly using a rubber spatula.

4 Mound the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper and spread it to the edge of the circle. Flatten the top and smooth the sides.

5 Place the meringue on the bottom rack of the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 1/4 hours. Turn off the oven. Let the meringue cool with the door slightly ajar. Remove from oven when the meringue has cooled completely.

6 Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms soft peaks. Top the meringue with whipped cream.

7 Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sugar and the pear slices. Cook until golden and caramelized. Let cool in the pan.

8 When the pear slices are cool, place them on top of the whipped cream. Top with pomegranate seeds.

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