Hibiscus Poached Pear Pavlova

 

Poaching pears is one of the loveliest ways to enjoy this humble fruit, and in this delightful recipe, an infusion of hibiscus flowers and intoxicating spices elevates the pear to new heights. The fragrant, slightly tart pears and hibiscus syrup contrast beautifully with the crisp, sweet exterior and marshmallowy centre of the pavlova, while a sprinkling of toasted almonds adds an extra crunch. This poached pear pavlova is certainly a show stopper that would make the perfect dessert for any occasion.

Makes a medium size pavlova Serves 4-6 people

 

INGREDIENTS

Rosewater Pavlova

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature

  •  220g caster sugar, sifted

  • Pinch cream of tarter

  • ½ tsp cornflour, sifted

  • ¼ tsp white vinegar

  • 1 tsp rosewater

 

Hibiscus Poached Pears

  • 4 buerre bosc pears, washed, peeled, halved & cored

  •  1L water

  • 1 star anise

  •  1 cinnamon stick

  • 5 cloves

  • 8 cardamom pods, cracked

  • 15g dried hibiscus petals

  • 50g caster sugar

  • Squeeze lemon juice 

 

To Serve

  • 150ml thickened cream

  • 1 tbsp caster sugar

  • Small handful toasted slivered almonds, if desired

 

METHOD

Rosewater Pavlova

1) Pre-heat oven to 140°C (120°C fan-forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Trace an 18cm (7”) circle on baking paper, then flip the paper over to avoid marking pavlova.

2) Place egg whites and cream of tarter in a free-standing mixer and whisk on medium speed until frothy.

3) Slowly add caster sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon, while continuing to whisk (this process should take approximately 10-12 minutes).

4) Turn the mixer up to high speed and continue whisking until mixture transforms into a glossy thick meringue and stiff peaks form (approximately 2 minutes). If you rub a little meringue between your fingers it should feel completely smooth, with no grittiness of undissolved sugar.

5) Sprinkle sifted cornflour over meringue, then fold in along with vinegar and rosewater. 

6) Spoon meringue onto the baking paper within the drawn 18cm (7”) circle, then use a palette knife to shape the sides of the pavlova and create a small nest in the middle.

7) Place the tray in the oven on the bottom shelf and turn the oven down to 130°C (110°C fan-forced). Bake for 90-100 minutes, then turn the oven off without opening the oven door and leave pavlova in the oven for 4-6 hours to allow the pavlova to cool down slowly and prevent collapse.

 

Hibiscus Poached Pears

1) Place water, spices and petals into a large pot and allow to simmer 5-10 minutes for flavours to infuse.

2) Add pears and simmer again for 10-15 minutes, turning intermittently. When poached well, the pears should maintain their shape, but be soft enough to be eaten with a spoon.

3) Allow pears to cool in the pot, turning intermittently to ensure an even colour develops.

4) When cooled, remove pears, strain liquid and return liquid to the pot, along with sugar and lemon juice to simmer for another 15-20 until reduced to a syrup.

5) Pears and syrup can be kept refrigerated for 1-2 days prior to serving. 

 

To Serve

1) Gently whisk together cream and sugar to soft peaks, then spread over the pavlova.

2) Decorate with a few poached pears, drizzle with syrup and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve with remaining extra pears. 

 

Salma Sabdia is the creative powerhouse behind fabulous baking blog, The Polka Dotter. Click here to check out her blog, here to follow her on Instagram and here on Facebook.