Gingered pear and chocolate pavlova

We love a good pavlova but strawberry season is a long way off. Just as the clouds are rolling in and we are already missing sunny days by the sea, this pavlova recipe will bring back memories of those care-free days. Instead of strawberries we use pears poached in ginger and slathered in melted chocolate. What you have here is a perfectly wintery summer dessert.  

Gingered pear and chocolate pavlova

Ingredients

  • Meringue
  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornflour

Gingered pears

  • 4 large pears
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 100g sugar

Cream filling

  • 300ml fresh cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Chocolate topping

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • Knob butter
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ orange, zest only
  • Handful flaked almonds, toasted

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 150°C.
  2. In a very clean, dry bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  3. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and continue to whisk until stiff and glossy (approx. 5 mins).
  4. Add the vinegar and the cornflour. 
  5. Smooth the meringue mixture onto baking paper on a baking tray approx. 5cm thick, with the back of a spatula.
  6. Bake for approx. 1 hour until the meringue starts to crack.
  7. In the meantime, peel the pears and chop into large bite-sized pieces.
  8. Peel and roughly chop the ginger.
  9. Place the sugar in a saucepan of water and heat until the sugar melts. Add the pears and ginger and simmer for approx. 10 mins until the pears are soft.
  10. Drain and set aside to cool.
  11. Whip the cream with the vanilla, lemon juice and sugar until it reaches the soft peak stage. Do not over-whip.
  12. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water with the butter, salt and ground ginger.
  13. Assemble the pavlova as close to serving time as possible for best results.
  14. Spread the cream over the top of the pavlova, followed by the pears.
  15. Top with flaked almonds and drizzle the melted chocolate over the top. 

This recipe first appeared on Gourmet Today, October, 2016.

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