Cin­na­mon pavlova, pra­line cream & fresh figs

10–12 SERVES GLUTEN FREE

Taste - - Eat Summer Sweets -

This is a stun­ning dessert for a spe­cial oc­ca­sion. It also has a nice el­e­ment of sur­prise, as the meringue base is not quite what you might ex­pect. It’s gooey and al­most tof­fee-like, rather than dry and crispy.

20g chopped pis­ta­chios 50g dark cook­ing choco­late (70% co­coa solids), finely chopped 600g fresh figs, cut into 1cm discs 3 Tbsp honey MERINGUE 125g egg whites (from 3 large eggs) 125g caster sugar 100g dark mus­co­v­ado sugar 1½ tsp ground cin­na­mon PRA­LINE CREAM 50g flaked al­monds 80g caster sugar 2 Tbsp wa­ter 200ml cream 400g mas­car­pone

1 Pre­heat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan­bake). Spread out the pis­ta­chios and al­monds (for the pra­line) on a bak­ing tray and toast for 7–8 min­utes, un­til golden brown. Re­move from the oven and set aside to cool.

2 Re­duce the oven tem­per­a­ture to 120°C (100°C fan­bake). Cover a large bak­ing tray with bak­ing pa­per and trace a cir­cle, about 23cm in di­am­e­ter, onto the pa­per. Turn the pa­per over so the drawnon side is fac­ing down but still vis­i­ble.

3 First make the meringue. Pour enough wa­ter into a medium saucepan so that it rises a quar­ter of the way up the sides (you want the bowl from your elec­tric mixer to sit over the saucepan with­out touch­ing the wa­ter). Bring the wa­ter to a boil.

4 Place the egg whites and sug­ars in the bowl of an elec­tric mixer and whisk by hand to com­bine. Re­duce the heat un­der the saucepan so the wa­ter is just sim­mer­ing, then set the mixer bowl over the pan, mak­ing sure the wa­ter doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Whisk the egg whites con­tin­u­ously by hand un­til they are warm, frothy and the sugar is melted, about 4 min­utes, then trans­fer back to the elec­tric mixer with the whisk at­tach­ment in place and whisk on a high speed for about 5 min­utes, un­til the meringue is cool, stiff and glossy. Add the cin­na­mon and whisk to com­bine.

5 Spread the meringue in­side the drawn cir­cle, cre­at­ing a nest by mak­ing the sides a lit­tle higher than the cen­tre. Place in the oven and bake for 3 hours, then switch off the oven but leave the meringues in­side un­til they are com­pletely cool (this will take about 2 hours). Once cool, re­move from the oven and set aside.

6 Place the choco­late into a small heat­proof bowl and set it over a small saucepan of sim­mer­ing wa­ter, mak­ing sure the base of the bowl is not touch­ing the wa­ter. Stir oc­ca­sion­ally un­til melted. Cool slightly, then brush the choco­late in­side the meringue nest, leav­ing the top and sides bare. Do this gently, as the meringue is fairly del­i­cate. Leave to set for about 2 hours.

7 To make the pra­line, place the 50g toasted al­monds on a bak­ing pa­per-lined bak­ing tray (with a lipped edge) and set aside. Put the sugar and wa­ter into a small saucepan and place over a medium-low heat, stir­ring un­til the sugar has melted. Cook, swirling the pan oc­ca­sion­ally, un­til it turns a dark golden brown. Pour the caramel over the nuts (don’t worry if they’re not all cov­ered) and leave un­til com­pletely cool and set. Once cool, trans­fer the pra­line to the small bowl of a food pro­ces­sor and blitz un­til fine.

8 Place the cream, mas­car­pone and blitzed pra­line in a large bowl and whisk for about 1 minute, un­til stiff peaks form. Be care­ful not to over-whisk here – it doesn’t take much to thicken up – or it will split. If this be­gins to hap­pen, use a spat­ula to fold a lit­tle more cream into the mix to bring it back to­gether. Re­frig­er­ate un­til needed.

9 To as­sem­ble, spoon the cream into the cen­tre of the meringue and top with the figs. Warm the honey in a small saucepan and stir through the pis­ta­chios. Driz­zle these over the figs, and serve.

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