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Author Notes: If your Thanksgiving is going to be decidedly pie-free but you're having a hard time giving up pumpkin altogether, this is about to blow your mind. Spiced meringue layered with pumpkin-maple whipped cream and topped with pecan brittle is the stacked, subtle, light finale you never knew your T-Giv was missing. Bonus points if you put out the extra brittle pieces in a bowl for wayward snackers. —Kendra Vaculin
For spiced meringue and pumpkin whipped cream:
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup pumpkin purée (homemade or canned)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
For pecan brittle:
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds (unsalted)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
- big pinch flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- On a piece of parchment paper cut to fit your baking sheet, trace two 8-inch circles in a dark marker. Flip the paper and place it marker side down on your baking sheet—you'll want to be able to see the circle through to the other side.
- In a small bowl, whisk cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the sugar until combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer of with a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they just start to stiffen. Add spiced sugar a spoonful at a time, and then the vanilla. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
- Spoon the meringue into the two circles on the baking sheet. Use the back of the spoon to spread them into flat disks, about 1 1/2 inches tall (edges can be craggy). Place baking sheet into oven and immediately turn temperature down to 250° F.
- After 90 minutes, turn the oven off but do not remove the baking sheet until meringues are cooled completely and have crisped up. While meringue rounds are baking and cooling, assemble brittle and cream filling.
- To make the brittle, line a large baking sheet with tin foil. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together baking soda and vanilla. Set aside.
- Pour sugar into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high, swirling the pan around occasionally, until entirely melted into a caramelly liquid (take care not to burn it). Reduce heat to low and add pecans, sunflower seeds, and butter. Stir to combine nuts and seeds and melt and incorporate the butter. Add vanilla slurry, stirring again to combine. Mixture will froth.
- Pour brittle mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread into as thin a layer as possible, and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow to cool completely.
- Once cool, peel foil from the back of the brittle and break into pieces. Roughly chop brittle pieces into even smaller bits, about 1/4 inch or smaller. Set bits aside.
- To make the pumpkin cream filling, whip cream, pumpkin purée, cinnamon, and maple syrup together in a large bowl until thick.
- To assemble pavlova, set one meringue round on a serving dish. Cover with a thick layer of pumpkin filling, extending to the very edges of the meringue disk. Top with second meringue layer, and then another thick spread of filling. Sprinkle with brittle bits and serve.
- This recipe is a Community Pick!
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