Pavlova Wreath with Cranberry-Hibiscus Poached Pears

Pavlova Wreath with Cranberry-Hibiscus Poached Pears

30 Prep Time
2 hours Cook Time
8 Servings
This winter-white wreath is almost too pretty to eat. Almost! Cloudlike heaps of meringue are arranged in a circle and baked until shatteringly crisp on the outside yet chewy within. It’s decorated with tender pears that are stained red in a poaching liquid of tart cranberries and hibiscus tea, reminiscent of glass balls and holiday garland. The complexity of the flavor is pure magic, and the presentation makes for a dreamy holiday dessert.
  • Serves 8
  • Pavlova Wreath
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • Cranberry-Hibiscus Poached Pears
  • 8 small USA Pears, such as Seckel, Forelle or small Anjou, or a combination
  • 2 cups 100% cranberry juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 thick strips orange peel
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cups fresh whole cranberries
  • water to cover
  • 4 hibiscus tea bag, such as green tea or fruit tea

Peel all of the pears, and halve any Forelles or Anjous, but keep Seckels whole.

Place the pears in a saucepan that’s just large enough to hold them snugly. Add the cranberry juice, sugar, orange peel, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and cinnamon stick. Pour in enough water to just cover the pears. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, slowly stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. After about 5 minutes, add the fresh cranberries (some may pop open in the hot liquid), and continue cooking until the pears are tender, 3 to 8 minutes, depending on their size.

Remove the pan from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, fish out the pears and cranberries and transfer them to a shallow dish; set aside. Add the tea bags to the poaching liquid and let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags and strain the poaching liquid. Transfer it back to the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Boil until it reduces to a syrup consistency that just coats the back of a spoon, 5 to 8 minutes.

Pour the syrup over the pears and cranberries and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, or for up to 1 week.

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