For some reason, figs used to remind me only of the fall and winter seasons. But I assure you, these luscious, juicy fruits are ripe and ready to be devoured right now. Their color, shape, and texture are a food stylist's dream. They are just beginning to be made into a show-stopping dessert.
Although it is easily eaten year round, pavlova is perfect for summer. The light, crispness of the meringue and fresh fruit seem especially refreshing during these warmer months. As a cake decorator, I am used to designing larger, sharable desserts- typically placed at the center of attention. While exploring other desserts and pastries, pavlova seems to have similar qualities as cake- at least when in comes to display and serving. This double-layer pavlova is extra stunning with the honey-glazed figs piled high on top of a bed of almond cream. Place it on a cake pedestal, and you're ready to celebrate.
ALMOND CREAM FILLING – 2 cups whipping cream – 1/4 cup granulated sugar – 1 teaspoon almond extract – 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using a whisk attachment, beat cream on medium- high. Gradually add in the remaining ingredients and mix until medium-stiff peaks form. Make just before assembling.
Halve and quarter 4-5 figs and set aside. Slice the remaining figs into 1/4 slices and set aside. Place the smaller meringue on a serving dish or cake board. Place cream in a pastry bag fitted with a star piping tip. Pipe cream into the bowl of the meringue. Place sliced figs on top of the cream.
Carefully place the large meringue on top of the first layer. Fill the second meringue with cream and arrange the halved and quartered figs on top. Mix honey with a splash of water and quickly heat in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds. Brush honey mixture on the cut surface of the figs. Drizzle with raspberry sauce just before serving, if desired.
Just before serving, finish the dish off with your favorite raspberry sauce. For a quick fix, heat raspberry preserves in a saucepan over medium heat, Thin out slightly with a little bit of water and agave, and strain through a sieve to remove seeds.