ripe pears, peeled, cored and sliced (about 1/2-in./1-cm thick)
whole cinnamon stick
Preheat oven to 300°F (150°C). With hand mixer on low speed, beat egg whites until foamy, then ddd salt. Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks start to form. Gradually add 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) sugar, beating until glossy stiff peaks form. Sift 4 tsp (20 mL) cornstarch over top, pour in vinegar and vanilla, and fold into egg whites. Scoop onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet, shaping and swirling into a 9-in. (23- cm) round. Using a large spoon or spatula, make a 1/2-in. (1-cm) deep well in the centre, leaving a 2-in.(5-cm) border.
Bake 5 min., then reduce temperature to 250°F (120°C) and bake 1 hr. and 15 min. more, or until outside is crisp and dry. Turn off oven, then let stand in oven another 1 hr. Remove from oven to cool completely.
Meanwhile, melt butter in large skillet on medium-high heat. Saute pears with remaining sugar, cinnamon stick and star anise about 8 min., until pears are tender but not too soft. Meanwhile, in small bowl, whisk orange juice with remaining 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cornstarch until smooth and add to skillet. Bring to a boil. Add blackberries and gently cook for 2 min., until blackberries are just heated through. Cool completely. Strain fruit and reserve juices. Serve pavlova topped with strained fruit. Serve with reserved juices and whipped cream, if desired.
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