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Image / Living / Food & Drink

What to bake this weekend: Coffee and walnut pavlova with coffee-poached pears


By Graham Herterich
02nd Oct 2022
What to bake this weekend: Coffee and walnut pavlova with coffee-poached pears

Remembering one of his most-loved childhood desserts, Graham Herterich puts his own spin on the timeless classic pavlova.

When we were growing up, my mum used to do some private catering from home. One of her most popular desserts was (and still is) her pavlova. In memory of getting up early on Saturday mornings, ‘shaving’ kiwis and chopping fruit for the fillings, this one’s for you, Mum. Love you!

Graham Herterich’s coffee and walnut pavlova with coffee-poached pears
Serves 8

Ingredients

4 medium egg whites
220g caster sugar
½ tsp cornflour
½ tsp white wine vinegar
100g chopped walnuts, plus extra to decorate

For the coffee poached pears
8 ripe but firm pears
750g caster sugar
750ml freshly brewed black coffee
1 tsp vanilla
1 star anise

For the coffee mascarpone cream
500ml cream
2 tsp icing sugar
250g mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp coffee extract, Irel or Camp

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 110°C fan. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Draw a 20cm circle on each piece of paper with a pencil, then flip the paper over so that the outline is still visible – this way, the pencil markings won’t be transferred to the bottom of your pavlova.
  2. In a spotlessly clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. While still whisking, gradually add the sugar and whisk until it becomes thick and glossy, then whisk in the cornflour and vinegar. Gently fold in the walnuts.
  3. Divide the meringue between the two prepared baking trays, spreading it out neatly into the circle outline that you drew on the paper. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, then turn off the heat and let the pavlova cool completely inside the oven with the door slightly ajar.
  4. Meanwhile, to prepare the poached pears, you’ll need a saucepan that’s big enough to hold the pears tightly standing upright. Peel the pears and cut a bit off the bottom of each pear so that they stand up nicely in the pan and on the pavlova.
  5. Add the sugar, coffee, vanilla and star anise and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse before carefully adding the pears, standing them upright. Cover the pan and gently poach for about 30 minutes, until the pears are soft.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool. The pears can be poached up to two days ahead and kept in the fridge in the cooking liquor.
  7. To make the coffee mascarpone cream, whip the cream and icing sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Put the mascarpone in a separate medium-sized bowl with the coffee essence and 2 tablespoons of the whipped cream and mix to loosen it slightly (this will make it easier to fold into the remaining softly whipped cream). Gently fold the mascarpone mixture into the whipped cream until thoroughly combined.
  8. To assemble, place one of the pavlovas on a serving plate and spread with half of the coffee mascarpone cream. Place the second meringue on top and cover with the remaining cream and the coffee poached pears (left whole or cut into wedges). Scatter over some chopped walnuts to decorate.

BAKEbyGrahamHerterich_9781999379940.jpg (1609×2090)

Extracted from Bake: Traditional Irish Baking with Modern Twists by Graham Heterich (Nine Bean Rows, approx €25).