A fight to the death and chocolate swirled pavlova

Some marriages are life-long love affairs, full of flowery and undying proclamations of romantic love. Others are like a military alliance, where the couple march steadily along the highway of life, side by side, enjoying common goals with stoic fortitude. Some marriages are simply just endured and others don’t make it at all. Whilst ours has had its bursts of romance and is based on a rock solid friendship, it is probably best described as a prolonged torturous comedic metaphorical fight to the death. The winner of the day is the one who gets in the best joke, at the others expense of course. The final victor will be the last one left standing. I am going to make sure it is me.

This pavlova was made for a friends pre-Easter soirΓ©e. The Yak was a big fan of the grown-up savoury spiciness of this dessert. The soft buttery pears, the chewy meringue, the tangy sour cream and the sweet heat of the gingery syrup was a food revelation. Happy fifteenth wedding anniversary Yak. In the face of the fear that I won’t do better at this late stage of the game; I guess you’ll do.


6 small pears, peeled (I used rather large Corella pears but smaller pears would have looked better on the pavlova)
2 cup (250)ml maple syrup
5cm piece ginger, sliced
6 fresh bay leaves (I didn’t have any fresh, so I didn’t use any.)
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (330g)
1/ tsp white vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
2 1/2 tbls cocoa powder
300-400g creme fraiche
1 tsp pure icing sugar, sifted

To make the maple pears: place pears, maple syrup, ginger, bay leaves and 3 cups water (750ml) in a saucepan.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover the circle with a circle of baking paper and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. (My bigger pears took about 1 hour and fifteen minutes.) Remove pears from the liquid.
Discard half the liquid, reserving the bay and ginger. Return the remaining liquid, bay leaves and ginger to a deep saucepan and place over high heat.
Boil the liquid for 30 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Cool completely and set aside.
To make the pavlova, preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place baking paper on a large tray and draw an 18 cm circle.
Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt to firm peaks.
Keep beating the egg white on low adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Once all of the sugar is added, continue beating on a medium speed until the meringue is no long gritty to the touch and is stiff and glossy.
Fold through the vinegar, cornflour and 2 heaped tsps of the cocoa.
Spread into the prepared tray and sprinkle another 2 tsps of the cocoa over the pavlova and using a palette knife, swirl the cocoa through the pavlova.
Place it in the oven and drop the temperature down to 130 (120 fan forced) and bake for one hour. Rotate every 20 minutes to ensure even baking and colouring.
Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the pavlova cool down in the oven for at least 3 hours.
Combine the sour cream, icing sugar and remaining 1 tsp cocoa and spread over the pavlova. Halve (or quarter) the pears and arrange over the top. Served drizzled with the reduced maple syrup and scatter with the bay leaves. (If you had any.)

A Cheergerm adaption of a recipe from the April 2016 Delicious magazine. I changed the pavlova method

28 thoughts on “A fight to the death and chocolate swirled pavlova

  1. This looks amazing! Rather like your marriage (and mine): sweet, quirky, chewy and at times, crunchy! I was confused by the recipe, although still early on Sunday morning – where are the egg whites? πŸ˜‰

  2. Happy Anniversary to you Cheery and the Yak. Mere babes to marriage, but you sound as if you’ve found the right formula, just keep laughing and making delicious GF treats, then you might catch up with me. I might add you have a long way to go. XX

  3. Our anniversary was a few days ago, but it’ll never be a Pav occasion for us; the weather up here’s still too humid to make meringue successfully. We went out for dinner and I managed to wangle the recipe for a *divine* coconut pannacotta with kaffir lime leaf, star anise, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla from the chef. Having just tested it tonight, it’s going on my top celebration recipe list. I’ll probably come back to your chocolate/pear/ginger pav in the winter, when I have a chance of it not going soggy! Happy anniversary!

    • Thanks so much Kate and a very Happy Anniversary to you as well! That pannacotta concoction sounds the bomb, hope to see a blog post one day! Yes, humidity and meringue aren’t great bedfellows. This would probably be quite a good winter pavlova with the pears and all. 😊

  4. Fifteen years of your amazing food would leave any man blissed out and ready for more. There’s a saying: kissin’ don’t last, cookin’ do. May the two of you share many more years of both πŸ™‚
    I do love a meringue. The texture is irresistible, and they’re easier on the calorie count! Meringue with fruit–out of this world!

    • He he…thanks LM and that saying is tops. Am going to pop that in the old memory bank for later use. Yes, meringue is a little easier on the waistline, as long as there is more fruit and less cream! 😁

  5. A.PROMPTreply

    Oh my…….you have outdone yourself this week! Congrats on the anniversary…..I’m sure it’s not just little treats like this that keep the Yak coming back, but I bet he’s not complaining! πŸ™‚

  6. Ha! I have a marriage that has been a 36 year long test of wills. He’d say I’m winning and I’d say he’s winning which means we keep trying. Anyway, I think the Yak must love you to bits for all the good cookin’ you give him. πŸ˜‰ Happy anniversary!

  7. Beautiful photos! My husband and I kind of fit into your same marriage category. After 34 years we’re still laughing through life. I though it important that one day we die together, so I suggested that we get into my car and the garage at that point, and well, you know the rest. He said he’d hold his breath and wait till I was asleep then sneak back into the house. Bastard. But that still cracks me up.

  8. Cheery, the most awful calamity, I really loved your rant on my post, but I accidentally pressed spam instead of approve. Not sure I know how to unsparing you.

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