This brown sugar layered pavlova with caramelised peaches looks stunning and tastes sensational. The perfect easy summer dessert that’s sure to WOW everyone.
If you are looking for the perfect summer dessert then look no further – it has to be a pavlova, right? It’s easy to make, it looks spectacular and it tastes a-ma-zing.
And even though I have loved every pavlova recipe I have made and shared on this blog, this brown sugar layered pavlova with caramelised peaches has got to be my favourite. Let’s break this recipe down to the main elements…
Brown sugar pavlova
I have used Demerara sugar in this pavlova which lends it a lovely butterscotch/caramel, slightly smoky flavour reminiscent of bourbon.
Demerara sugar is a type of cane sugar with large grains and a light brown colour. Since the grains are quite big, I blitzed the sugar in a blender to achieve a finer grain before using in the pavlova recipe.
If you can’t find Demerara sugar you can use Turbinado sugar in its place. Or you could use granulated sugar with a small amount of soft dark brown sugar mixed in – take a look at the recipe notes.
I have written extensively about how to make the perfect pavlova. The one thing I learned from baking this brown sugar pavlova is that my oven runs quite hot so the top layer browned a bit too much.
To combat this, you turn the oven to a lower temperature and bake your pavlova layers for a longer time. Don’t be hasty about taking the pavlova out of the oven – leave it in the oven with the heat turned off until it is completely cool.
You can prepare your pavlova layers a couple of days before assembling the dessert. Keep them in a cool dry place or an airtight container and they should keep just fine.
Peaches are naturally sweet and aromatic so you could use them fresh in the pavlova if you prefer. But with one simple step you can take them from delicious to OMG… Simply heat a tablespoon of butter in a skillet, add a generous dollop of honey and a little vanilla paste (or use the scrapings from a vanilla pod).
Add peach slices and simmer until they start caramelising, turning them over gently to coat in the sauce. Add a generous splash of bourbon before taking off the heat if you like that sort of thing. I know I do 🙂
Cool the caramelised peaches before adding to your pavlova, otherwise they melt melt your whipped cream. Replace the peaches with other seasonal fruit like plums and apricots or pears and apples in Autumn.
Whipped cream is the traditional filling for pavlova, the creaminess pairing so well with the crunchy marshmalllowy texture of the meringue.
Once you assemble your layered pavlova it will need to be eaten fairly soon after as the cream will cause the meringue to absorb moisture. But, to be fair, ‘how will we ever finish this pavlova’ said absolutely no one ever 😉
Whipping cream on a lower speed setting and keeping an eagle eye on it means you will achieve the perfect soft peaks that still keep their shape. Use very cold heavy (double) cream or whipping cream.
Assembling a layered pavlova
Place the bottom pavlova layer on a serving plate or cake stand. If you want to use a favourite cake stand then tailor the size of your pavlova to its size. Add half of the whipped cream and a layer of peaches plus some of their caramel syrup.
Top with the second layer and add the remaining whipped cream, piling more peaches on top. Drizzle with any remaining syrup and serve immediately.
Have you made my brown sugar pavlova with caramelised peaches?
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Brown sugar layered pavlova with caramelised peaches
For the Pavlova
- 3/4 cup | 180ml | 6 egg whites
- 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
- 1½ cups 300g Demerara sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
For the Whipped Cream
- 2 cups 480 ml heavy cream
- 1 cup | 125g icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 4 large peaches sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp honey more if needed
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 1/4 cup | 30ml bourbon
Make the Pavlova
- Preheat the oven to 130°C ( 250°F). Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper and draw two 8-inch circles, spaced slightly apart. You might need to use two baking sheets depending on the size of your baking sheets/oven.
- Put the Demerara sugar in a food processor or blender and blitz to create a finer grain. You don’t want to turn it into powder, just blitz until the granules are smaller.
- Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until frothy, then add the cream of tartar.
- Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat to soft peaks.
- Gradually add the Demerara sugar a couple of tablespoons at a time.
- Continue beating on medium speed until the meringue is glossy and stiff peaks form. Feel a bit of the meringue between your fingers – it should not feel grainy. If it does, continue to beat for a bit longer.
- Add the cornstarch (cornflour), lemon juice and vanilla and whisk for a couple minutes to combine evenly.
- Divide the meringue evenly between the two circles, using a spatula to form a circular shape. Any leftover meringue can be piped to form meringue kisses.
- Bake the meringue for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 90°C (200 °F) and continue to bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Leave the meringue in the oven until completely cool.
- Store the cooled pavlova layers in an airtight container for up to three days.
Make the caramelised peaches
- Heat the butter in a skillet. Add honey and vanilla paste once butter starts to foam.
- Add peach slices and simmer until they start caramelising, turning them over gently to coat in the sauce.
- Add a generous splash of bourbon before taking off the heat.
- Transfer to a plate to cool before assembling the pavlova.
Make the Whipped Cream
- Place the cream, icing sugar and vanilla paste in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Whisk at medium-high speed until it holds soft peaks, keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t over whip.
- Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
Assemble the pavlova
- Place the bottom pavlova layer on a serving plate or cake stand.
- Add half of the whipped cream and a layer of peaches plus some of their caramel syrup.
- Top with the second pavlova layer and add the remaining whipped cream, piling more peaches on top.
- Drizzle with any remaining syrup and serve immediately.
- Replace Demerara with turbinado sugar or use 1 cup granulated or caster sugar and 1/3 cup dark brown soft sugar.
- Replace the peaches with nectarines, plums or apricots. Or use apples or pears cooked for slightly longer until soft.