Recipe for brown sugar Almond Pavlova with brandied cream, figs and stem ginger

Ingredients
whites of 4 extra large eggs
3/4 cup castor sugar
4 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cornflour (Maizena)
1/2 tsp white vinegar
2 tbs flaked almonds
350ml fresh whipping cream
2 tbs castor sugar
1 tsp good brandy or cognac (optional)
punnet of figs (preferably the purple-skinned ones)
stem ginger in syrup (Illovo makes one)
1 tbs flaked almonds, toasted

How to
Preheat your oven to 150C. Whip the egg whites. (If you can turn the bowl over without the egg whites moving, they’re ready.)

Now gradually add the brown sugar, whisking all the time. (You could use an electric hand mixer for this, but a proper stand mixer like a Kenwood or Kitchen Aid works much, much better. Only total wombats attempt this with a balloon whisk!)

Gradually add the castor sugar, a tablespoon at a time, while whisking. Add the cornflour and vinegar with the last spoon of sugar. The mixture should be stiff and shiny. Gently fold in the almonds.

Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Meringue sticks to pans like ticks to a junkyard mutt, so I usually spray the baking paper with some Spray ’n Cook too, just to be safe.

Dish the meringue mix in a circle on the baking paper. Place in the oven and turn the temperature down to 140C. Bake for 60-90 minutes until the meringue is crisp on the outside but still slightly chewy on the inside.

Turn the oven off and leave the meringue in the oven until completely cool. (You can make the meringue up to this stage the day before and wrap it in cling film.)

Whip the cream until firm with 2 tbs sugar. (Taste it after you’ve added the first spoon as you may find it’s sweet enough for you.) Fold the brandy into the cream.

Dish the cream onto the meringue base, add figs, thin slices of preserved ginger, 1 tbs toasted almonds and a drizzle of the ginger syrup. (I had some dried pomegranate seeds lying around, so I added those as well, just for the pretty.)

Serve immediately.

Recipe by Lizet Hartley, courtesy of Melkkos & Merlot, a bilingual blog about food.

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