Well not quite pear belle helene & not quite pavlova, but some sort of deliciousness in between. I am more of meringue person so like my pav a little chewy & crunchy & little less marshmallowy, so my pavs tend a little towards a giant meringue!
The favourite dessert of last summer was this brown sugar pavlova with whipped cream, raspberries & salted caramel sauce. Mound everything on top & let everyone just tuck in & help themselves...it went down a treat.
I wanted a little variation, but still a craving for some salted caramel & came up with this pear, chocolate & caramel concoction. Pear Belle Helene, or Poire Belle Helene if we are being all French, is traditionally pears poached in sugar syrup & served with vanilla ice cream & chocolate syrup so I have taken a few liberties...it was the pears & chocolate that inspired this dessert. They may not be quite the classic beautiful pears but they were very, very good!
Pear Belle Helene Pavlova
Makes one large pavlova & 8 dinner guest & neighbours scoffed the lot!
6 egg whites at room temperature
380g 13oz raw sugar
4 tsp corn flour
2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
750 ml cream, whipped to soft peaks
1 pear, cored & sliced
125g Whittaker’s Dark Ghana or other dark, bitter chocolate, melted
For the salted caramel sauce*
75 g / 3 oz unsalted butter
50 g / 2 oz soft light brown sugar
50 g / 2 oz caster sugar
50 gram 2 oz golden syrup
125 ml / 4.39 fl oz double cream
1 tsp good quality salt (not table salt)
*Severe Warning: This sauce is highly addictive after just one hit!
Pre heat your oven to 140C (no fan bake) / 275F & line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a mixer & beat until you have stiff peaks & then gradually add the sugar. Keep beating until the sugar is completely dissolved. To check just rub a little meringue between your fingers. If you can still feel grains, beat a little longer until it feels completely smooth.
Add the corn flour*, vinegar & vanilla & beat on low until all incorporated in to the meringue.
*If like me you like something that is somewhere between a pavlova & a meringue reduce the cornflour; I added 3 teaspoons.
|Not quite smooth enough…keep beating!|
Now this is a rustic pavlova; so gently turn out the meringue on to the baking tray & make a rough rectangle with swirls & peaks & troughs...all the better for holding all those lovely toppings. Place in the oven & cook for one hour.* Allow the meringue to cool completely before assembling & serving.
While the pavlova is cooking make the salted caramel sauce. Place the butter, sugars, syrup & butter in a small saucepan over a medium low heat to melt. Once melted simmer gently for 3 minutes, stirring now & again.
Add the cream & half a teaspoon of salt & stir again. Taste, carefully as it will be hot! Add more salt if need be & cook gently for another minute. Et voilà, that is it. In a matter of moments you will have what is the most addictive sauce. I find if left on the stove top it is almost impossible not to just have a little taste every time I walk by.
*Again if like me you prefer a slightly “failed” pav with a little more crunch & a little more chew & little less marshmallowy just cook for a little longer, 5-10 minutes more.
To assemble place the pavlova on a large platter or board, mound on top the whipped cream, scatter over the pears, drizzle generously with the salted caramel sauce & the melted chocolate. Take to the table & let everyone dive in & help themselves.
This is also my entry for this month’s Sweet NZ being hosted by me 😊 All details here if you have some sweet treats!
If you like this you might like this Brown Sugar Pavlova with Raspberries & Salted Caramel Sauce
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