A fantastic Christmas dessert with a little seasonal spice.
For the pavlova:
4 egg whites
pinch of salt
225g caster sugar, plus 2 tbsp caster sugar
450ml whipping cream
2 drops of vanilla extract
2 large ripe mangoes, peeled and sliced
Icing sugar, sifted (for dusting)
For the poaching syrup:
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 strips orange peel
3 strips lemon strips
1 vanilla pod
1 litre water
300g caster sugar
1 tbsp crushed hazelnuts
6 dried apricots
6 dates or prunes
6 dried figs
6 fresh figs (if in season)
Preheat the oven to 160C (fan 140C) / 325F / gas mark 3.
Put the egg whites in a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and whip to soft peaks. Gradually add the 225g of caster sugar and continue whisking until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
Draw a circle of about 20-23 cm on a piece of greaseproof paper and stick in place on a baking sheet with a bit of the meringue mixture. Spoon the meringue onto the circle, leaving a shallower well in the centre.
Put the meringue into the preheated oven and immediately reduce the heat to 110C (fan 90C) / 225F / gas mark ¼. Bake for 1½ hours, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and add a touch of vanilla and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Spoon the cream into the pavlova.
To make the filling combine the sugar, water and spices in a saucepan and bring to the boil until the sugar has dissolved. Then in individual pans simmer the dried fruits until they have absorbed the syrup.
Peel the pears and cover with enough syrup in a pan and bring to boil, then simmer. Cover with a circle of parchment paper and put a plate on top. Poach until just cooked.
To finish the pavlova cool the fruits, spoon the whipped cream into the middle of the pavlova and layer with the fruit. Finish with the crushed hazelnuts.
In Picture: Angela Hartnett's spiced winter fruit pavlova. Photograph: Guardian
Antony Moss's wine matches
• A Sticky End Sauvignon Blanc 2010, £15.99 for a 37.5cl
• Rustenberg Straw Wine 2010, £12.49 for 37.5cl