Pavlova with Spiced Pears & Blackberries

“THERE WAS A STAR RIDING THROUGH CLOUDS ONE NIGHT AND I SAID TO THE STAR, ‘CONSUME ME’.”  Virginia Woolf

Pavlova with Spiced Pears & Blackberries | From My Sweet Heart

I’ve been been wondering what the fascination is with pavlovas.  While I’ve only had store bought meringues before, I have found them to be hard and crunchy, and not really in a good way!  So this recipe only affirms my belief that when you take the opportunity to make something from scratch, the result is so much better!  The fascination with pavlovas?  They are sweet, crunchy, chewy clouds on which you can float the most delectable fruits and creams!  They may be elegant or rustic, and topped with fruits from any season.  Nervous about making meringues?  So was IBut let me tell you about one of my favorite Cooking Channel shows, and who convinced me to give this a try……

I have a love/hate thing with the Food Network and the Cooking Channel.  It seems that just as you find a show that you love…..only 4 episodes are aired and the reruns begin!  What’s up with this?  There are so many fresh, new faces that have so much to offer.  (Can you imagine a show that features a DIFFERENT blogger every episode?  The networks would NEVER run out of new material!)  But I feel stuck seeing the same icons using their same 3 or 4 favorite ingredients!  And even these shows are being rerunned to death!  I no longer want to see someone standing behind a kitchen counter talking into a camera, manipulating ingredients while saying ‘and then’, ‘and next’, and ‘just like that’.  And for crying out loud, you’ve made the recipe before….so tell me what’s so good about it before you shove it in your mouth and begin to talk!!!

Really….I do love these cooking shows.  But Lorraine Pascale is so different and refreshing to me.  And the setting for her show, Simply Baking, seems more real and intimate and kind of…..serene.  And when she tells me that some things about baking may seem difficult to do….“but you can!”……I believe her!  And so it is that I tried her ‘foolproof’ recipe for meringue, altering her spiced fruit pavlova just slightly to include only pears and blackberries.  If I made this…..

 

Pavlova with Spiced Pears & Blackberries | From My Sweet Heart

…..you can, too!!!  Here’s what Lorraine tells us to do:

 

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY:  Easy (and foolproof!)

YIELDS:  6-8 Servings

 

FOR THE FRUIT:

  • 6 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
  • a couple of twists of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 13 oz of marsala (I used port)
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 4 Tablespoons of soft, granulated light brown sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds and pod
  • 2 large handfuls of blackberries

Put all of these ingredients except the blackberries into a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes until the fruit is soft.  Remove the pan from the heat, add the blackberries and allow the mixture to cool in the pan.  When ready to use, remove the anise pods, cinnamon stick and vanilla bean, strain through a sieve. 

AND THIS I LOVE….Lorraine suggests reserving the poaching liquid to be warmed at a later date as a hot toddy!  (It’s delicious, like a spiced wine!)  Look at this beautiful fruit……..

 

Pavlova with Spiced Pears & Blackberries | From My Sweet Heart

FOR THE MERINGUE:

  • 8 1/4 oz caster sugar
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 4 large egg whites at room temperature

Adjust your oven rack to the lowest position in the oven.  Preheat your oven to 170°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  I used a cake pan to trace a circle on one side of the parchment and then turned the paper over so that my guidelines would still show. 

Put the sugar and lemon juice into a mixing bowl.  Add one egg white and mix for a minute.  Don’t worry that the mix looks hard.  Add another egg white and mix for another few minutes.  And then add the remaining egg whites and mix for another 5 minutes until the whites look stiff and shiny.  Dollop the meringue into the circle on your parchment paper making the sides slightly higher than the center.  Bake in the bottom oven for 1 1/2 hours.  The meringue may turn light pale, but should be hard and crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside.  Once it’s cooked, turn the oven off, leave the door ajar, and allow it to cool inside the oven.

 

Pavlova with Spiced Pears & Blackberries | From My Sweet Heart

 

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:

  • 12 oz whipping cream
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon of confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

Whip all ingredients until soft peaks form.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Gently place your meringue on a serving dish or cake plate.  Spoon the whipped cream into the middle of the meringue and top with poached fruit.

This was the first time I’ve made a pavlova.  But it’s not the first time I made a meringue!  I made this very meringue recipe several weeks ago and it came out just as beautifully the first time.  I, however, proceeded to knock the plate holding the meringue off the counter and onto my kitchen floor!  And while this was extreme, I will tell you to handle the meringue carefully because it is fragile and it actually may show a crack or two out of the oven.  Fortunately, your toppings will probably hide this!

And now, I give you my fridge cam!  This spiced pear and blackberry pavlova was so unbelievably good and pretty, that I had to sneak another peek before I went to bed.  Okay…so I feel a little bit like Nigella Lawson.  I nibbled on it as well! 

 

Pavlova with Spiced Pears & Blackberries | From My Sweet Heart

This really is so easy, and delicious and special.  I hope you will try it….and ENJOY!

:-P

 

Recipe slightly adapted from Lorraine Pascale/Simply Baking

Comments

  1. Oh, Anne – it looks amazing! Pavlova is on my cooking “bucket list”. LOVE the spiced pears! Your description of both the recipe AND the shows was spot on and I giggled at your description of some of the re-runs!

    • Thanks Ann…this has been on my bucket list for a while! Every component on it’s own was delish, and the meringue….super easy! : )

  2. Wow.. now that’s an awesome looking pavlova. I love the blackberries. :) I agree with Ann above, it’s on my bucket list of stuff to bake. I’m glad you tried it out and enjoyed it so much. Hope your Christmas was picture perfect!! All the best for the coming New Year. :)

    • Thanks Ramona….one thing checked off my bucket list, too….but the list is so long!!! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas too. And I wish you all good things for the coming year! : )

  3. I have never made pavlova before because they are no takers for desserts at home including myself but this one you made seems very tempting and love all the berries on top, amazing contrast of color with the white and purplish color.

    • Nava…believe it or not….I have NO takers for desserts here either! But me! This was particularly light. And I loved it. But I got the old….”I’ll try some later” routine from my boys! Hmphf! : )

  4. This looks fantastic as well as inspiring! Pavlova is something I have been meaning to do, but my list is never ending. Glad yours was such a delicious as well as stunning success!
    Also, thanks for the sweet comments on my blog, I look forward to seeing more delicious posts from you in 2012. Enjoy the holidays.

    • Thanks Tina….my list is never ending, too! I check one thing off and add another! I love your blog, Tina….and I am in awe of how creative you always are….and the amazing stuff you come up with. As a matter of fact…..everyone should stop looking at pavlovas and head on over to Tina’s for some pretty fabulous recipes! All the best for the new year….and you know I’ll be visiting often! : )

  5. This is stunning Anne. I have never done a pavlova but I did do meringues this year. And you are right. I always thought they were had and crunchy. But made yourself they are dreamy. This just looks so pretty with the pears and raspberries. Great job on this one. Photos are stunning!

    • Thanks Kim! I was thinking about your peppermint meringues…..and I think I might give them a try. To me, this was a foolproof meringue recipe and I’m ready to start experimenting with it! : )

  6. Easy?! I’m not sure I believe you. How can something this gorgeous and delicious be easy!? Gosh, that looks heavenly!

    • Awww….thanks Carsley! If you can drink a flaming martini….you can make a pavlova! And everyone should visit Parsley Sage for a great Taste of the Cayman’s post and a wonderful giveaway! ;- )

  7. What a simply gorgeous dessert! Fantastic!

  8. Wow…I have always been intrigued by pavlovas too, but have always been turned off by meringues I have had store-bought. This is so beautiful and that gorgeous wine poached fruit is enough to make me try this one. Great job and way to try something new and complex!

  9. Oh My! This looks heavenly! I have my own list of intimidating desserts and pavlova is right there on it :) Good job!

  10. Anne, hope you had a wonderful Christmas! From the looks of it, it looks like you’ve already taken on a new year’s challenge. I really didn’t know what pavlova was until now (silly me), but based on your pictures and description it looks delicious! Maybe one day I’ll make it, but for now I’ll just drool over your great pics! :)

    • Thanks MJ! I hope you had a fabulous Christmas, too! I loved the meringue that I am sure I will turn these into cookies one day! Looking forward to visiting you often in the new year! : )

  11. Store bought meringues have nothing on a nice homemade one! I’m so glad you tried it! I’m the same way about Food Network – and don’t get me started on the commercials! You tend to get the same one on every single commercial break until you want to break your television. Thank goodness for the DVR!

    • Jen…I know that meringues cook low and slow and the purpose is to dry it out. But there is nothing chewy or pillowy about store bought meringues! And Food Network…the commercials, the re-runs, and the showing of 6 shows of the same series in a row! With all the bloggers in the world, they could feature someone new and creative every week and we’d never see the same thing twice! It’s only because of my DVR that I allow myself to remain addicted! LOL

  12. Wow! What a stunning pavlova, Anne!!! You rocked your first one…just perfect!

  13. What a stunning pavlova Anne… I agree, there’s no comparison to working from scratch… if only there was endless time on the clock – all could be done this way – but, with special occasion desserts, it is so worth it! The elements are just gorgeous here… blackberries and spicy pear; and the colour contrast between the glorious white and mulberry tones… so artistic and delicious looking…. I wish I could sneak a big scoop through my computer… chewy clouds of goodness indeed. Beautiful photos Anne!

    • Thanks so much Kelly! You know…if I could…I would gladly go back to a simpler time in life where we do have the time to make everything from scratch….farm my own food, etc! But for now, I’ll just do what I can, when I can! (I loved these colors, too!) : )

  14. I have never had pavlova. I definitely want to make it after seeing this. The marsala sounds wonderful too. What an elegant dessert. Lovely, Anne!!

    • Thanks Cassie! I’ve never had this before either! Was kind of intimidated to try it before. But it’s really crazy how easy it is! (And the leftover wine is delicious!!!)

  15. I’ve sort of felt the same about Pavlova but you’ve completely inspired me to try this at home- gorgeous!! Hope you had a lovely holiday!!

    • Sarah…Thanks so much! I hope yours was a lovely holiday as well! DO TRY THIS AT HOME! It is far easier than you would think! : )

  16. This looks incredible, Anne! I have never even tried Pavlova, but I really want to try it! The pears and blackberries are the perfect topping!

  17. This looks amazing! Although I know what a pavlova is I have never had one. You have officially made me want one. :)

    • Thanks Susie! I have never had a pavlova before this either. But I have made me officially want another one! I’m thinking a chocolate pavlova with pastry cream and raspberries! : )

  18. This is beautiful and elegant! I have never made a pavlova before – you make it look so easy.

    • Dara….thanks so much! I have never made a pavlova before but it looks easy because it really was easy! I do hope you will try it! : )

  19. Light as air and all of that wonderful fruit! I wish I would have had this for dessert this evening!

  20. Holy Cow, I can’t believe I haven’t found your blog until now. I love it. The recipes look amazing. I’ll be back!

    • Yay! Thanks Leah! I hope you find a thing or two or a hundred that you like! And I will be heading over to you tonight to read your ‘year in books’! : )

  21. Lorraine should be filling your email with tons of thank you’s! You’ve done an amazing job with this beautiful dessert and even convinced me that I could possibly pull this one off. Now allow me to go completely off topic, and thank you again for the super kind email you sent to me the other day. Your offer of “let me know if there’s anything I can do to help” was very nice and I really appreciate it. Be Blessed!

    • LOL…Thanks Sandra! Have you seen that show? She really does make things simple. And I am wishing you a speedy recovery…..it’s selfish really…..I can’t wait to have you back full swing! With friends like you and everyone here, Sandra…I AM blessed! : )

  22. Oh this is my type of pavlova! I love the spiced pears… mmmmm… so delicious!

    • Oh thanks Elyse! You know…the fruit is even good on it’s own. I could eat a bowl of these spice pears for breakfast! Hiccup! ;- }

  23. We love everything meringue, but this looks absolutely gorgeous!!! Well done, and thank you for the inspiration!!! Also, we’ve added your gorgeous blog to our blogroll. Happy Holidays and happy cooking!

    • Thanks so much you guys! Talk about inspiration……everyone MUST take a look at Chris and Amy’s site. You cannot believe their talent. Chris just tried some molecular gastronomy techniques which are absolutely mind blowing. Check out this post for Gravlax http://acoupleinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-year-new-look-new-cooking.html. It is beautiful. I am simply in awe of what these two can do in the kitchen! Happy New Year to you both. I can’t wait to see what amazing things you come up with in the coming year! All the best to you both! : )

  24. I don’t think I ever bought pavlova from the store. I love this dessert since childhood and even now I make it form time to time. The Spiced pears sound so good!
    Happy New Year Anne! Can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for you!

    • Happy New Year Roxanna! Consider yourself lucky to have never experienced store bought meringue because there is no comparison! Thanks for your kind comments. Those spiced pears were good on their own! Looking forward to getting to know you more and seeing what the new year holds for the both of us. May it be fabulous!!! : )

  25. HUGS & COOKIES XOXO says:

    I AM DROOOOOOOLING!!

    • LOL…thanks so much! In addition to installing a virtual treadmill on this site….I’m going to have to start to pass out virtual bibs! Looking forward to checking out your Hugs & Cookies blogsite. Cuz after all…..who doesn’t love hugs and cookies! Happy New Year! : )

  26. Hi Anne….. just wanted to wish you a very HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!

    • Hi Susie! You’ve been one of my favorite people to get to know this past year and I look forward to sharing more in 2012 with you. Just stopped by your site and left a message! Hope this new year in your new home is a great one for you! All the best to you and your family! : )

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