Welcome to the first post in the series – 12 Pavlovas of Christmas!
I’m not quite sure how I got sucked into this one.. Hmmm Well actually I do know.. I wanted to do a few posts with a pavlova theme because Christmas is coming up and pavlova is synonymous with Christmas in Australia. I mean, if there was no pavlova I’d be asking “um, where’s the pav?”. Seriously..
So my friend Meredith said “why don’t you do the 12 Pavlovas of Christmas? You know, like the 12 Days of Christmas?”. I thought, yeah, great idea! Until I started planning how many pavlovas I’d be making in the lead up to Christmas – a lot that’s how many. Especially when for almost 5 weeks of that time I’d be on holiday in Canada (but I’m not complaining!).
But, the upside is that I luuurve pavlova!
So, over the next 12 posts – yep 12 – I’m going to give you some inspiration around different styles (traditional, layered, individual) and flavours of the good old pav.
Strap yourself in, this is going to be a sweet ride!
Oh, before I go on, lots of people shy away from making pavlova because they think it’s hard, but once you’ve made one you’ll discover that it’s super easy! I put together a post on 5 Tips to Making the Perfect Pavlova. Check it out..
I Finally – about this pavlova. It’s topped with whipped cream, pears that have been poached in a brown sugar syrup and then drizzled with salted caramel sauce. There’s a recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce here – it’s amazing! And the pears are just beyond. I mean sometimes pears aren’t really loaded with flavour, but poach them in brown sugar syrup – now you’re talking.
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Here is some of the equipment that I use to make this recipe. I personally use this or very similar equipment and products at home.
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Pavlova with a divine crisp shell with marshmallow centre, topped with pears poached in brown sugar syrup then finished with salted caramel.
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup (US) / 200g superfine/caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch/cornflour
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 6 pears peeled and halved
- 3 cups (US or Imperial) water
- 1 cup (US) /170g brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (US) /240ml whipping cream
In a saucepan add the water, brown sugar and cinnamon over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the pears and poach with the lid on, but slightly ajar for around 30 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick into them and they're soft.
While the pears are poaching preheat the oven to 180C or 350F. Bake the pavlovas at this temperature for 3 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 120C or 250F for the remaining hour.
Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, adding the cornflour, cream of tartar and vinegar while the eggs are beating.
Once soft peaks have formed, start adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating a little between each tablespoon. When all of the sugar has been added, beat for another couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the meringue is nice and glossy. You can tell if the sugar is dissolved enough by scooping out a little of the meringue and rub it between your fingers. If you can feel the crunch of lots of sugar granules in the meringue, keep beating a little longer.
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and draw a 8inch/20cm diameter circle on it. I usually trace around a cake tin.
Pile the meringue into the bottom of the circle and push it out to the edges with a spatula. Create the shape you like with the spatula, trying to make the top have a slight depression in it for filling.
Bake the pavlova for an hour and then turn off the oven and don't take the pavlova out until it has cooled. Don't open the oven or the cold air will make the pavlova crack.
While the pavlova is cooking and cooling, make the Salted Caramel Sauce as per the instructions. You can also use store bought caramel if you wish.
When the pears are soft, remove from the poaching liquid and place them in the fridge to cool.
When the pavlova has cooled, whip the cream and spread on top of the pavlova. Place the pears on top and drizzle with salted caramel sauce.
Refrigerate until serving.