Earl Grey Pavlova with Figs

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My obsession with Earl Grey started a few years ago when I first discovered the London Fog at Le Marche St Georges. Coming back from Vancouver, I started making the London Fog at home and eventually moved onto experimenting with Earl Grey tea in desserts. Incorporating Earl Grey in ice cream was easy since all I had to do was steep the tea in the milk. However, the baked goods were a bit more challenging especially cookies, meringues, and pavlovas. I can’t say that I’ve mastered meringue or pavlova yet but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way that hopefully will help you with your meringue journey.

Like macarons, meringue and pavlova are quite fickle. With very few ingredients, egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, cornstarch, and a tiny amount of vinegar, they’re supposedly simple to make but even the most experienced home bakers find them intimidating. Over the years, this Earl Grey pavlova has grown to be one of my favorite summer desserts when figs are in season. I hope you like this pavlova as much as we do!

Earl Grey Pavlova with Figs
4 egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup of sugar
1 tbsp loose Earl Grey tea leaves
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tbsp of cornstarch
1 tsp distilled white vinegar
Powdered sugar for dusting

Earl Grey syrup
2 tbsps of Earl Grey sugar from above
¼ cup of water

1 cup of heavy whipping cream
½ cup of mascarpone
2 tbsps of powdered sugar
8-10 figs, torn in half
2 tbsps of roasted, unsalted pistachios, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 8 by 10 inch rectangle on the parchment paper and dust with powdered sugar to prevent the pavlova from sticking.
3. Add the sugar and Earl Grey tea leaves to a spice grinder and grind until the sugar and tea leaves become powdery. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the Earl Grey sugar for the syrup.
4. Whisk the cornstarch into the Earl Grey sugar mixture until well combined. Adding cornstarch helps prevent the pavlova from shrinking during baking and creates a crispy outer layer.
5. Before placing the egg whites into a mixing bowl of an electric mixer, wipe the bowl clean and make sure that there’s no residual moisture. Any moisture will make it impossible to achieve thick, stiff peaks.
6. Beat the egg whites and whisk on medium speed until it becomes foamy, about 3 minutes.
7. Increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form. Add the Earl Grey sugar mixture 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar has been added. Continue to whip until the the egg whites are stiff and glossy and firm peaks form, about 12-15 minutes.
8. Add the vinegar and cream of tartar and fold in gently with a metal spoon to combine. The vinegar creates a chewy pavlova and the cream of tartar helps stabilize the egg whites.
9. Spread the egg white mixture inside the drawn rectangle, making a slight indent in the center. Alternatively you can make 6-8 individual mini pavlova.
10. Reduce the oven to 275 degrees F and bake for 50-60 minutes or until firm to touch.
11. Leave the pavlova in the switched off oven to cool for an hour with the door slightly ajar.
12. To make the Earl Grey syrup, combine 2 tablespoons of Earl Grey sugar with water in a small sauce pan over low heat until the volume is reduced in half.
13. Whip the mascarpone, heavy cream, and powdered sugar together until thick and smooth and soft peaks form.
14. When ready to serve, remove the pavlova from the oven and place on a serving platter.

15. Spread the mascarpone over the center of the pavlova, top with figs and pistachios, and drizzle with syrup.

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