Pascal Aussignac gives the classic pavlova a French twist, deconstructing the dish to create this beautiful prune dessert. Keeping the traditional combination of crunchy meringue, soft fruit and luxurious whipped cream, Pascal adds vibrancy and colour with a fragrant green tea meringue, and richness and depth from his tipsy ganache – a decadent mix of Armagnac-infused California Prunes and white chocolate. The three elements of this dessert can all be made ahead, making it perfect for a dinner party dessert.
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Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark ½. Line a baking tray with baking paper
To make the green tea meringue, combine the egg whites and salt in a large, clean bowl and whisk together to a soft peak. Slowly whisk in the caster sugar, a spoonful at a time, followed by the icing sugar until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Gently stir through the matcha powder to create an even green colour
3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
80g of caster sugar
80g of icing sugar
3g of matcha
Spread the meringue out across the lined baking tray to a thickness of 1cm. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely. Once cool, break into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container until required
Meanwhile, place the prunes in a small pan and cover with the water. Add the sugar, Armagnac, citrus zests, and a twist of black pepper to the pan, then stir to combined and cook over a medium-low heat for 10 minutes until the prunes have softened and infused. Set aside to cool in the pan
200ml of water
50g of sugar
50g of Armagnac
1 orange, zest only
1 lemon, zest only
freshly ground black pepper
For the double cream, pour it into a bowl and lightly whip until soft and voluminous. If preparing ahead of time store in the fridge until ready to serve – this can be prepared up to a few hours ahead
100g of double cream
Place the white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water – being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the water – and leave to melt, stirring occasionally
50g of white chocolate
Remove the prunes from the poaching liquor and finely chop into small pieces. Remove the melted chocolate from the heat and stir through the chopped prunes to create a thick, chunky ganache which holds its shape. Add a little of the poaching liquor to loosen the mixture if required, then transfer to the fridge until ready to serve
To serve, place a large quenelle of prune ganache into the centre of each plate and arrange a few spoonfuls of whipped cream alongside it. Roughly crumble over the green tea meringue and serve immediately
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