• Bruni

Fig and Blackberry Pavlova with Honey-Lemon Mascarpone Cream


Pavlova is a simple dessert - but always a show stopper. Crisp, meringue skin on the outside and big pocket of pillowy, soft centre. This time Pavlova is topped up with Honey-Lemon Mascarpone cream. Slight tang in the cream complements sweet figs and sharp blackberries. All is then topped up with cinnamon-flavoured blackberry syrup and sprinkled with toasted walnuts (or pecans) for extra crunch.



Fig and Blackberry Pavlova with Honey-Lemon Mascarpone Cream Recipe


Yield: 12 servings

Time: 15 min prep + 2hr baking + 15 min prep

Tin: not required, use spring/round form to make round shape (23cm or 26cm)


Ingredients:

For Pavlova (all ingredients at room temperature):

- 6 egg whites (240g) from large eggs

- 325g caster sugar

- pinch of salt

- 1 tsp clear lemon juice (or vinegar)


Honey-Lemon Mascarpone Cream:

- 500ml double/heavy cream (36%)

- 250g mascarpone cheese

- 2 Tbsps clear lemon juice

- 3 tsps honey or 1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar (+1 more to taste if needed)


For the blackberry sauce (blended and then cooked shortly):

- 120g blackberries

- 50g demerara or light brown sugar

- 1 tsp cinnamon


To decorate:

- 6 figs

- 120g blackberries

- 50g walnuts


Method:


1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Line large baking tray with parchment paper and make a round shape (use round baking tin).


2. Prepare meringue: Separate eggs and transfer all egg whites to your main mixing bowl. Add pinch of salt and mix on low-medium speed until egg whites are fluffy (don’t rush, this will take about 2 minutes). Start adding sugar - one tablespoon at a time, mixing until sugar is well incorporated in-between. This step should take you approx. 7-8 minutes. As a last step add clear lemon juice/vinegar and mix for few seconds. Transfer meringue onto the baking tray. Shaping - you may opt to shape freely (light cloud) or using spatula form bowl-like shape, then using sharp knife - shape the edges. Place tray in the oven and immediately decrease the temperature to 110C. Bake for approximately 2 hours to 2 hours and 10 minutes until edges are firm and crisp. Switch off the oven and let the meringue cool completely in the closed oven before proceeding to Step 3 (you may opt to leave it in closed oven overnight).


3. Prepare blackberry sauce: Using blender or food processor mix blackberries with brown sugar and cinnamon until liquid sauce is achieved. Transfer the sauce into small pot and cook for 2 minutes on medium heat (you want it to reduce slightly but also - you want brown sugar to blend in nicely, release gentle caramel notes and intensify cinnamon flavour). Set aside to cool.


4. Prepare walnuts or pecan nuts: Roast nuts at 150C for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool.


5. Prepare Honey-Lemon Mascarpone Cream: Beat double cream on medium-high speed until fluffy (approx 2 min), add mascarpone and beat for few seconds, then add clear lemon juice and honey (to taste). If you want the cream to be more zesty - add 1 more Tablespoon lemon juice (or Limoncello). If you want the cream to be thicker - add more mascarpone, thinner - add more cream.


6. Assemble Pavlova: Spread the cream on Pavlova base, spread blackberry sauce on top, decorate with fruit and sprinkle with toasted nuts.




Hints:


1. Make sure your mixing bowl for preparing meringue is dry (no grease residue).


2. Use eggs at room temperature. If you want to speed up the process place eggs in a bowl full of warm water for few minutes. Egg whites at room temperature will aerate faster and you will get finer, smooth and fluffy texture as a result. When starting - beat egg whites at low to medium speed (don’t rush) - you want to break the proteins slowly - this will give you a good base for the meringue. Then, when increasing speed - beat on medium-high rather than on high speed. You want to achieve soft peaks - beating on high you may end up with firm peaks and overworked meringue. The timings and speed suggestions in the recipe should give you the desired texture.


3. Take your time when adding sugar - add one tablespoon of sugar at a time to achieve shiny and smooth texture. It will take some 8 minutes but it’s well worth it as it will pay off with beautiful, soft and shiny texture.


4. Check your oven for the actual working temperature. Our oven works at 10C higher than indicated so we end up baking/drying Pavlova at 100C (with actual temp of 110C). It’s quite important as if you set oven temperature too high, Pavlova will quickly go brown on edges and over-baked in the middle (will be crisp, hard and lacking the enjoyable soft centre).


5. Figs - you may opt to decorate pavlova with fresh figs or opt to cut in halves and fry on a dry pan (2 minutes on medium heat) sprinkled with honey - this will create light, caramel-honey flavour and bring out figs' sweetness.





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