6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbs. cornstarch
2 tsp. white-wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup cubed dates
6 tbs. honey
1 tbs. brandy
1 1/2 cups plain 2 percent Greek yogurt
5 ripe, firm pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
1/4 cup pistachios, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
Pavlova: Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Make sure your mixing bowl—which should be metal—is dry and clean of any oils, and whip the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar a tablespoon at a time while the mixer is running. (Adding too much sugar at once will keep your egg whites from forming stiff peaks.) Add the cornstarch and then the vinegar, followed by the vanilla extract. Whip until the egg whites are glossy.
Line a baking sheet with parchment, and make a big circle’s worth of the egg-white mixture on the parchment. Create a small crater at the top of the mound with a spoon, to hold some of the topping later. Place the baking sheet in the oven, close the door, and immediately reduce the temperature to 250 degrees. Bake for 1 to 2 hours or until the outer layer is crisp. (Resist every urge to open the oven door to take a peek, as this can cause the dessert to collapse.) Set aside to cool. The pavlova should have a marshmallow texture on the inside and a crispy crust.
Topping: While the pavlova is baking, stir together the dates, 3 tablespoons of honey, and the brandy in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until the dates are soft. Allow to cool, then mix in the yogurt. In a separate skillet, caramelize the pear slices in the remaining 3 tablespoons of honey over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Once the pavlova is cool, spoon the yogurt-date mix in the crater. Lay the caramelized pears on top, and sprinkle with pistachios.