Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Golden Pavlova with Rum Poached Pineapple and Lime and Szechuan Pepper Salt

Can you tell by now that I am aching for some of that sunny spring warmth?
I'm not going to whine about it though, I am just going to bring the sun to me. I brought it to me in the form of an out of season pineapple. I didn't realise it was out of season until just now when I thought to look - it sort of goes against my fruit buying morals.
What's done is done and I hang my head in shame (briefly, because I have to type this post). 
I made you all another pavlova because it is World on a Plate time and the theme for this month is fruit based desserts, and I can't go past a pav when I am the only Australian out of the bunch, now can I ?! I personally can't think of anything that I would rather throw fruit on than a pav right now. 
Let's not get into whether it originated here or in New Zealand (though Wikipedia might have the answer. I said might). The last time I posted a pav, I was sore about the rugby world cup. Now, I am feeling the neighbourly love and am happy to share. 

Pavlovas are tricky beasts. It is hard to get them right. My friend said to me the other day, "You have to really know your oven". True, that. In fact, there are loads of pavlova making tips and so many different recipes (six eggs or four? creme of tartar or salt?). Far out! It can all get a bit stressful.
But when you make sweet friends with your oven and find that perfect recipe, you will be glad you went through it all. You will be stronger for it and, in turn, you will have a strong pavlova with a hard shell and fluffy insides.
I made a total of four pavlovas this time around. The reason I didn't use the same recipe as the last pavlova I posted was because I was still on the hunt for the perfect recipe for me and my oven. I also really wanted to make a brown sugar pavlova instead of the traditional white sugar. Now I can tell you that I have seen other bloggers turn out insanely beautiful brown sugar pavs, but the stars just were not aligned for my go at it. Then I decided to give raw sugar a crack as I had seen this on the Gourmet Traveller website..alas, I couldn't get the sugar to dissolve. I am a determined person (when I want to be) and I was not going to let this beat me.

I was all ready to grind up my raw sugar to make it lighter when I discovered raw castor sugar. Problem solved. The recipe you see below worked out for me and I think I will stick with it for awhile. 
Ok, now for the all important part of the pav process; the toppings. Firstly, I urge you to take the extra step and char those pineapple wedges - it gives it a beautiful smokiness that permeates the rum syrup when you poach the pineapple in it. 
Now let's talk about that curious salt; this was an experiment that went delightfully right. 
I wanted to offset all the sticky sweetness with something with a bit of bite. The salt with the lime gives it a kick and makes you feel like you are eating a cocktail when it is combined with the pineapple and the rum. Oh, and just so you know, the numbing warmth creeps up on you after you have had a few bites isn't the guilt of buying pineapple out of season, it's the Szechuan pepper. I recommend this for adventurous souls, but if it doesn't sound great to you then it is fine to leave it out. The salt is also really great on fish! 

Don't forget to check out all the other amazing fruity desserts for World On A Plate!

Golden Pavlova with Rum Poached Pineapple and Lime and Szechuan Pepper Salt

For the Golden Pavlova
adapted from a Donna Hay recipe, found here
150ml egg white (I got this with 4 eggs)
1 cup raw castor sugar - if you cant find this, just buy regular raw sugar and whizz it up in a food processor until you have a fine grain. 
2 tablespoons cornflour - sifted
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 cup of pouring or thickened cream for topping.  
Preheat oven to 150C. Prepare a baking tray lined with baking paper. Draw an approximate 18cm circle on the paper and set aside
Whisk your egg whites (by any means possible) until you have stiff peaks (as per the photo).
Gradually, 1 tablespoon at a time, add the sugar to the egg whites, keep beating and adding until the whites are glossy and the sugar has dissolved.
Add the cornflour and vinegar and fold to combine.
Shape the mixture within the circle into a disc of sorts, smooth over the top and the edges.
Reduce the oven to 120C and bake for 11/2 hours. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven completely. 
Whisk the cream until you have soft peaks and drape over the top of the pavlova. 

For the Rum Poached Pineapple
1/2 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1cm thick wedges
1/4 cup of rum - I used Bundaberg for the purpose of this Australian post but any dark rum will do.
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1 lime
*Optional*: Grill the pineapple on a hot griddle pan for a few minutes on each side, set aside.
Bring the rum, water, lime juice and sugar to a boil for about 5 minutes. 
Add the pineapple and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the pineapple is tender.
Strain off the pineapple and set aside to cool completely, reserve the poaching liquid.

For the Lime and Szechuan Pepper Salt
2 tablespoons sea salt
zest of 1 lime
approx 5 Szechuan peppercorns - add more or subtract to taste
Either grind all ingredients together in a spice grinder or pound in a mortar and pestle (as I did) until combined. Use sparingly!

Place the pineapple on top of the cream on the pavlova, drizzle some of the rum syrup over the top and sprinkle with a little of the salt. 


  1. Wow this looks good! I bet it tastes even better!!! I'd love to have some with the grilled pineapple!

  2. What a gorgeous-looking pav! I adore Szechuan pepper. I cooked an eggplant stir-fry with it once and I loved the way it made my mouth tingle.

  3. What a mouthful indeed! I'm sure it tasted great, especially the pineapple with that lovely salt.

  4. That is GORGEOUS! If "making sweet friends with your oven" (sounds filthy!) results in desserts like this than I'm going to invite my oven out for a cheeky glass of wine tonight. So clever of you to add the salt on top... I'm a major fan of the combo of sugar and salt.

  5. Love the addition of rum to the pineapple! It elevates it from a lovely dessert to a brilliant one :D

  6. Oh my, charred pineapple! YUUUUUM! Althought I'm not the biggest Pavlova fan, I love eating the toppings off and this one sounds amazing. With the salt et al!

  7. Anna - this is such a different way to look at a pavlova. I have only once had one in the U.S. (made by my former boss from Sydney) and it was lovely. I really should try it, and perhaps this weekend! Can you bake it in the morning and let it sit in the oven all day? ~ David

  8. Mmmm how beautiful! I want a big slice.

  9. so clever! What a great and interesting combination!

  10. As at least two of the bloggers above me well know, a dessert/cake person I am not! Exception to 'my rule': love making pavlovas - this IS an interesting one :) ! Hmm, the Szechuan pepper salt I just have to try! What a fab excuse!!!!

  11. hey anna.. you've pulled a rabbit out of a hat with this one.. well done ! looks amazing.

  12. I have to agree with you on that one - you have to know your oven before you start the baking. I've made pavlovas before but they've turned out brown and funny looking (still tasted delicious) but I've been too scared since to try. It looks amazing and your flavour combinations sounds really interesting, but I can see how it would work! :)

  13. That's a burst of sunshine right there; your pavlova looks fantastic.

  14. I haven't thought of grilled pineapple in so long! I used to grill it after a tequila bath and dust with coconut but when done with Rum I can just imagine how good it would be on pavlova! Good call!

  15. OMG,
    This pavlova looks outstanding. I have always wanted to make this dessert. I am very motivated after seeing your post. How yummy!!!

  16. What a creative and interesting combination with the lime and Szechuan peppercorn salt! I have never made a pavlova but I am tempted to try after seeing yours :)

  17. Fabulously creative creation - I love that you used Schezuan Peppercorns! I use them with meat a lot but never in a dessert. Gorgeous work!

  18. I LOVE pavlova variations! This is just so creative, the szechuan pepper salt is genius. Amazing.

  19. Oh how delicious!!! A perfect glimpse of spring on a chilly winter morning. The pepper and pineapple combination is so creative, perfect partners!!!

  20. I love pavlovas and am really loving the szechuan salt in this one! Great addition.

  21. Such a delightful pavlova! And the szechuan pepper salt must have given it the perfect kick! Sorry for being so late for the party but I was on holidays!


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