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Author Notes: The true pleasure of the Pavlova comes from the texture of the dessert. It should be light and airy as if a ballerina just flew next to you in all her grace and beauty. From now on lavender meringue is officially my favourite. First of all my home smells like a summer field from Provence. Secondly, lavender taste is absolutely unique, mildly fragrant and delicately sweet, which works perfectly with figs and honey. All three favours come together in a beautiful balance. The is exactly what Pavlova is about! —AnastasiasKitchen
Serves: 4-5 people
grams lavender sugar
grams fresh figs
grams 20% whipped cream
grams 70% dark chocolate
- The success of the Pavlova dessert lies in the texture of the meringue. Just for this time, you will have to say "no" to the classic French hard meringue. If you squash Pavlova meringue lightly with your fingers, it will melt, not break. Ivory colour on the outside and white candy cotton texture inside. To achieve this, you need to whip the eggs to total death and then be super patient and let the meringue cook very slowly in the oven.
- You might also ask yourself, where to get lavender sugar? Do it yourself! 1tsp dried lavender flowers per 100g (3.5oz) of sugar... or 1tbsp per 500g (17oz) - this is what I usually do. Crush lavender flowers into dust with hand mixer, than add sugar and keep on crushing and mixing for 30 seconds. Lavender sugar is amazing, fragrance, sweet and delicious. Once you try to use lavender in baking, it opens new horizons for achieving stunning results. You can also add it to your tea instead of usual sugar. A small jar of lavender sugar - is a must have in your kitchen!
- Whip the egg whites at the maximum speed until they start foaming
- Without reducing the speed, add starch, and a third of lavender sugar. Whip for 2-3 minutes, then add the remaining sugar. I use my favourite kitchen robot (max. speed) and the whole process takes only 4 minutes. If you are using a hand mixer, it might take up to 8 minutes. When ready, your mixture will be so thick and silky, so that you can make whatever shape you want and it will not deform. (For the purple colour I added three drops of purple food colorant.)
- Move your mixture on to the baking tray and gently form a circle, creating a small groove in the middle to fit in the cream in the end. Preheat the oven 70C/158F/fan and cook for 1.5-2 hours. Slow cooking helps preserve the colour and avoid burning or hardening it. If you are baking the meringue for the first time, just keep on opening the door of the oven and checking the substance with your finger. It should be crispy on the outside, but very fragile and squashy inside. Pavlova meringue should always stay soft and moist inside. You should be able to lift if from the baking paper quite easily; but be carful, do not break it. When ready, switch off the oven and keep it inside for another hour. I kept it there overnight - it does not dry at all.
- Leave all the decorations for the last minute - right before serving. First of all, because you want your cream to be fresh, and secondly because meringue tends to get soggy in a few hours after it touches liquid. Whip the cream (medium speed, 2-3 minutes until it gets stiff - do not overdo it, or you will get butter). Then add fig puree and a table spoon of honey. Mix everything gently with a spatula.
- Put the cream on top of your meringue and decorate it with shaved or cut dark chocolate and more fresh figs... or even add some pistachio.