It’s my favorite time of year, Harry & David Royal Riviera Pears have finally arrived and I’m putting them in just about everything these days. From salads to soups dishes, they’re the most versatile fruit I can find. I love to have them around for snacking, but I do believe they belong in all things sweet. Like a fall spiced cake… or atop a fluffy, cloud of pavlova.
If you’re not familiar with pavlova, it’s actually quite easy to make. It’s like a big meringue but better; the outside is crispy while the inside has a chewy, marshmallow-y bite. They’re fantastic all on their own, but why would you want to leave your pavlova naked when you can top it with a heaping pile of vanilla spiked whipped cream then nestle a few Royal Riviera Pears on top that have been poached in a simple mulled wine made with Harry & David Cabernet Sauvignon.
The pears soak up all the flavor of mulled wine without being overpowering, then they’re removed so the wine has a chance to reduce and concentrate that deliciousness into a sweet, spiced syrup you can drizzle on top. If you don’t want to make one big Pavlova, you can make six to eight individual pavlovas for an elegant dinner party.
Mulled Wine Pear Pavlova
- Electric mixer
- 1 bottle Harry & David® Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2 tablespoons mulling spices
- 4 Harry & David® Royal Riviera® Pears (peeled)
- 4 egg whites
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- pinch salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (divided)
- ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 180° F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper by tracing a 9-inch plate upside down. Turn the paper over so the tracing doesn't end up on the Pavlova.
- Place the egg whites and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on high until firm, approximately 1 minute. Slowly add the sugar to the egg whites and continue beating until stiff, shiny peaks form, approximately 2-3 minutes. Do not overmix.
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and sprinkle the egg white mixture with cornstarch, vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Carefully fold the ingredients into the egg whites using a rubber spatula. Mound the meringue into the center of the circle on the parchment and spread into a smooth disk. Make a shallow well in the center of the meringue — this will puff up during baking and will ensure you have a marshmallow-y center.
- Bake the meringue for 90 minutes and then turn off the oven. Keeping the oven door closed, allow the meringue to cool completely in the oven for an additional hour. It will be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
- While the meringue is cooling, bring the wine to a boil. Add the mulling spices and the pears to the wine, then turn the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pears from the wine and cool on a plate. Add the sugar to the wine and bring to a boil. Boil the wine until reduced by 1/2, approximately 20 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, beat the remaining vanilla, confectioners’ sugar and whipping cream with a hand mixer until soft peaks form, approximately 3-4 minutes.
- To assemble, place the meringue in the middle of a serving plate. Spread the whipping cream over the top of the meringue and then arrange the pears in the center of the whipped cream.
- Drizzle the syrup over the pears and the top of the meringue. Serve immediately.