Recipe

Brown sugar pavlova with moscato poached pears and honeycomb

A modern twist on a classic Australian dessert, this pavlova is made with brown sugar, and piled high with syrupy sweet toppings.

  • 2 hrs 30 mins cooking
  • Serves 12
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (white, sherry or chardonnay)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 250 grams mascarpone
  • 3/4 (180ml) pouring cream
Moscato Poached Pears
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) moscato
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 medium (1.4kg) pears, peeled, halved, cored
Honeycomb
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or golden syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Method

  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160°C (140°C fan-forced). Mark a 25cm circle on a sheet of baking paper. Turn paper over, place on an oven tray. Line a second tray with baking paper.
  • 2
    Combine sugars in a small bowl. Beat egg whites and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft ribbons are starting to form. Reduce speed to medium; add the sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until dissolved between additions. Beat for another 5 minutes or until mixture is
    firm and glossy.
  • 3
    Turn the mixer off; sprinkle in the sifted cornflour, vinegar and extract. Beat on low speed until just combined – this should take no longer than 5 seconds.
  • 4
    Spread meringue mixture inside the marked circle on tray; form pavlova into a loose dome shape. Use a palette knife to smooth around the side and flatten the top slightly. Place pavlova in the oven, then immediately reduce the temperature to 120°C (100°C fan-forced). Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes or until dry to touch. Turn oven off; cool pavlova in the oven with the door closed overnight.
Moscato Poached Pears
  • 5
    Stir all ingredients, except the pears, in a large saucepan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil over high heat; boil for 2 minutes. Add pears – they should be covered with liquid. Cover pears with a round of baking paper. Reduce heat; simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. To test, pierce a pear
    with a thin knife in the thickest part. Cool pears in the syrup.
Honeycomb
  • 6
    Stir all ingredients, except soda, in a medium saucepan over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium; boil, uncovered, without stirring, for 5 minutes or until syrup is a dark golden honey colour (or until the mixture reaches 160°C on a sugar thermometer). Remove pan from heat; immediately stir in sifted soda. The syrup will froth. As soon as the last of the soda dissolves, carefully pour the honeycomb onto the remaining tray; avoid spreading the mixture as it will deflate. Cool at room temperature for about 1 hour. Break honeycomb into chunks.
  • 7
    Just before serving, combine mascarpone and cream in a medium bowl. Whisk with a balloon whisk until softly whipped. Spread pavlova with cream mixture. Top with the poached pears and honeycomb.

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