By: Chef Ben Davis

Autumn Pavlova


Cocoa Crumble

155 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)

180 g turbinado sugar

135 g all-purpose flour

65 g cornmeal

30 g cocoa powder

30 g almond flour

1 g salt

Red Wine Roasted Pears

6 ripe Pears

3 tbsp superfine sugar

1 vanilla bean-split and scraped

Zest and juice of one lemon

1 ½ cups superfine sugar

½ cup water

¾ cup red wine

3 tbsp brown sugar


4  egg whites

Pinch salt

½  tsp cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

½  tsp vanilla extract

½  tsp apple cider vinegar

Balsamic Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp powdered sugar

1-2 tsp Balsamic vinegar (highest quality available)


Cocoa crumble

1. Preheat the oven to 300o F in convection or convection bake mode.  Prepare the cocoa crumble by combining the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.  On medium speed cream the ingredients for 5 to 7 minutes or until very light.  While the mixer is running, sift together in a bowl the flour, cornmeal, cocoa powder, almond flour, and salt.  Add the mixture to the bowl and blend at low speed until you have a crumbly mixture.

2.  Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and place the tray on a rack.  Let the mixture cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.  Store at room temperature until ready to use.

Prepare the red wine roasted pears

1.  Preheat the oven in Roast mode to 350o F.  Combine the 3 tbsp of sugar and scraped vanilla bean in a small bowl.

2.  Slice the bottom of the pear to allow it to stand upright.  Core out the pear from the bottom without removing the stem.  Add ½ tbsp vanilla sugar inside each pear then stuff a strip of the lemon zest into the core.  Arrange the pears upright in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with lemon juice, cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes or until all the juice has been absorbed.  Remove the foil.

3.  While the pears are roasting, gently heat the sugar and water together to melt the sugar, then bring to a boil.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to caramelize and remove from the heat when the caramel is very dark.

4.  Carefully add the wine, it will splatter so make sure to be careful.  Stir gently to combine the caramel and the wine.  When the mixture is liquid pour over the pears, sprinkle the pears with the brown sugar, and return the pan to the oven.   Roast for 40 more minutes, basting about every 10 minutes until the pears are wrinkled.

5.  Remove from the oven and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.

Prepare the Pavlova

1.  Preheat the oven to 250oF in bake mode.   In a very clean bowl of an electric stand mixer combine the egg whites and salt.  Use the whisk to combine the ingredients at a very low speed for about 1 minute.  Gradually increase the speed to medium-high and when the whites are foamy add the cream of tartar.  Whip the egg whites to soft peaks then add the sugar, tablespoon by tablespoon then whip until the mixture is very shiny and stiff.

2.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the cornstarch over the mixture and use a spatula to fold into the mixture.  Add the vanilla and cider vinegar and fold in completely. 

3.  Line the backside of a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.  Use a spoon to scoop 8 to 12 mounds on to the mat and then use the spoon to shape each one and make a small bowl on the top of the pavlova.  Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. When the bake is finished turn off the oven and leave the tray in the oven with the door propped open and allow the oven and pavlovas to cool. 

Prepare the balsamic whipped cream

1.  Place the cream and sugar in the chilled bowl of an electric stand mixer and start to whip over low speed.  As the cream whips and thickens gradually increase the speed and whip until soft peaks are formed.  Add the balsamic vinegar to taste and whip until the mixture is firm enough to mound but not overwhipped.  Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Assemble the pavlova

1.  Remove the pears from the caramel and strain the caramel through a fine strainer.  Cut the pears in half from top to bottom then slice the pears into thick slices. 

2.  Place the pavlova on a plate and arrange 3 to 5 slices of the pear on top of the pavlova and then drizzle with some of the caramel.  Spoon some of the whipped cream on top of the pears and then sprinkle with some of the cocoa crumble.