Sunday, 11 November 2012

caramelised pear and pecan pavlova

Ok, so I admit this pavlova was developed out of a love for alliteration but this is a flavour combination that really works and perfectly fits with the autumn season. I also cant resist the combination of chocolate with pears so I got a little experimental and added a chocolate swirl to the meringue base. You can just as easily make mini-meringues but you may need to adjust the cooking time.

You can make meringues with any quantity of egg whites as long as you keep in mind that you need double the weight of sugar to egg white. I usually weigh my three egg whites then double that weight for the caster sugar, depending on the size of your eggs this is going to be roughly 150g sugar to 3 egg whites.

3 egg whites
approx 150g caster sugar (see note above)
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Chocolate Swirl:
100g chocolate, just melted

Caramelised Pears & Pecans:
approx 500g pears (about 4-5 pears), cut into thin 0.5cm slices (it's up to you whether you peel them or not)                      
2 tbsp caster sugar
50g unsalted butter
handful of pecan nuts

approx 300ml double cream lightly whipped

  1. Preheat the oven to 120C fan and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
  2. Using an electric whisk beat the egg whites and lemon juice until you get stiff peaks.
  3. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time making sure you beat thoroughly after each addition. You will know you can add more sugar when you rub a little of the egg white mix between your fingers and you can't feel the grains of sugar. Continue this process until all the sugar has been added.
  4. Carefully melt the chocolate then swirl into the egg whites taking care not to over mix. 
  5. Dollop the mix onto the prepared baking sheet in a rough circle then place in the oven for around 1.5 - 2 hours. You are aiming for long slow cooking.
  6. When the time is up turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile prepare the caramelised pears. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the butter and melt then add the pears, pecans and sugar. Cook together for around 10 minutes until the pears are soft and golden and the sugar and butter is completely amalgamated. Remove from the heat and set aside until you are ready to assemble the pavlova.

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