Strap: The rule to follow for meringue is to increase speed gradually in even numbers, so 2, 4, 6. Remember this and it’ll be difficult to mess up a pavlova. Maintain a medium speed on your stand mixer throughout the process of mixing your sugar into the meringue for evenly melting it which causes little to no weeping in your final pavlova.
For the pavlova
Egg whites 6, aged for at least two days, and at room temperature
Caster sugar 330g
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Cornflour 3 tsp
Vinegar 1 tsp
For the whips labneh topping
Greek yoghurt 500g, hung up in a muslin cloth overnight to drain
Palm sugar 50g
Vanilla extract 1/2 tsp
For The poached pears
Pears 500g, peeled, halved and cored
Port wine 200ml
Caster sugar 100g
Star anise 1
Cinnamon stick 1, broken
One day before serving ensure that the Greek yoghurt is hung up to drain in a muslin cloth and finish making the pavlova as it will sit and cool overnight.
Preheat the oven to 130 degrees Celsius and Line a sheet pan or Swiss roll tin with baking paper and draw a rough circle in the centre of the paper as just a guide for when you’re assembling the meringue.
In the bowl of a KitchenAid Mini stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and start on speed 2, then gradually move the speed up to 4, then 6. Maintain this speed and once the foamy bubbles have been replaced by the beginnings of the white meringue cloud, start adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time continuing on this speed. This will help all the sugar dissolve slowly while still bringing the meringue up to stiff peaks so there’s very little or no seepage from the meringue (weeping meringue).
Once the meringue has reached stiff peaks, stop and add the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla. Start the machine again and only whisk for a minute or two before stopping on high speed. Pile the meringue sky high, one dollop on top of the other using the help of the circle you’ve drawn on the baking sheet.
Use an offset spatula to swirl the pavlova to whatever design you like. You can even use it to make a cavity that will nestle the fruit filling later. Once you have achieved the desired result, transfer the pavlova to the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes before turning down the heat to 90 degrees Celsius. Leave the pavlova to cook for 1 1/2 hour after which the pavlova can continue slow cooling overnight in the oven.
The next day in the bowl of a KitchenAid mini stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the strained Greek yoghurt, sugar and vanilla extract on medium speed till fluffy and light like buttercream. Scrape it out into a bowl.
In a saucepan, heat together the port wine, sugar and spices over medium flame. Once all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is coming up to a boil, add the pears and reduce the heat to a medium-low simmer. Let the pears and the mixture cook slowly stirring often until the pears are just beginning to soften, about 15 minutes. Take the pears out from the poaching liquid and reduce the liquid further.
When ready to serve, dollop the whipped palm sugar over the top of the pavlova and top with the poached pears. Any poaching syrup once cool can be drizzled over when cutting the pavlova to serve to guests.
Recipe by: Ankiet Gulabani, Blog Name: Belly Over Mind