Fresh, plump figs poached in a warm cointreau and spice-spiked honey syrup are the perfect bedfellows for my miniature pavlovas. Crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside my mini figgy pavs are the perfect end to any meal – and couldn’t be simpler to prepare.
It has been said that eating a fresh fig while naked in front of your significant other is one of the world’s most erotic acts… I can’t claim this to be true or not, but what I can vouch for is that my recipe for mini figgy pavs is definitely one to keep in mind for your next date-night. Oh, and if you are game enough to try it, do let me know if nudie fig eating encourages the horizontal pas de deux.
For the figs:
8 fresh figs, washed and cut into quarters
1 cup cold water
½ cup cointreau
¾ cup honey
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
¼ cup pine nuts
Combine the honey, water, cointreau and spices in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the honey has melted into the mixture. Bring to the boil and carefully pop in the quartered figs. Simmer gently for 10 minutes.
Once the figs are cooked remove them from the heat and set aside to cool. Keep the poaching liquid to one-side until ready to make the syrup.
For the pavlovas:
4 egg whites – at room temperature
200 g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
1 tsp apple cider vinegar – organic and the best quality you can afford
A pinch of sea salt
Line a baking tray with baking paper and preheat oven to 180C.
Pop the egg whites into a clean, dry mixing bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form. With the mixer still whisking, slowly add the sugar and salt until the egg whites are glossy and thick.
Using a spatula or metal spoon, fold in the vinegar and cornflour. Blob the mixture onto the prepared baking tray – shaping them as you like however I find they cook best when they have a little height on them!
Pop the tray into the oven and turn the temperature down immediately to 150C. Cook for approx. 30 minutes and then drop the temperature down to 100 and cook for a further 25 minutes. Turn your oven off after 25 minutes and let the meringues cool in the oven.
For the syrup, place the reserved poaching liquid back over high heat and simmer to reduce for approx. 8-10 minutes.
Once cooled, serve the meringues with a dollop of cinnamon-spiked sour cream or regular cream and top with the poached figs and a drizzle of the syrup.
Makes 8-10 small pavlovas