Fig and its leaf with bergamot, honey and earl grey

Emily Collins – Ruth Hansom's pastry chef at The Princess of Shoreditch – has created this challenging but stunning dessert which will really put your pastry skills to the test! She combines the flavours of fig and fig leaf, honey, earl grey tea and bergamot through the medium of mousses, tuiles, gels and a sable biscuit. The recipe may seem a little daunting but all elements can be prepared in advance so come serving time all you have to do is assemble the components. 

First published in 2021




Fig insert

Bergamot curd insert

  • 135g of bergamot purée
  • 135g of caster sugar
  • 1.5g of agar agar
  • 135g of eggs
  • 175g of butter, chilled

Crystallised fig leaves and crisps

Fig leaf mousse

  • 410g of double cream
  • 15g of egg yolk
  • 40g of caster sugar
  • 1 gelatine leaf

Earl grey sable

  • 160g of butter
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 15g of baking powder
  • 160g of caster sugar
  • 80g of egg yolk

Earl grey and honey gel

  • 150g of brewed earl grey tea
  • 25g of caster sugar
  • 50g of honey, Emily and Ruth use a local London honey
  • 38g of bergamot purée
  • 3g of agar agar


To serve


  • Silicone baking mat
  • 5cm pastry cutter
  • 4.5cm round cutter
  • Silikomart stone mousse moulds SF163
  • Leaf stencil
  • Leaf shaped hole punch
  • Hand blender
  • Vacuum bag and machine
  • Spice grinder
  • Dehydrator



This is a complex recipe involving many elements – however, as mentioned above, the vast majority of the work can be done in advance and reserved in the fridge, freezer and airtight containers, so read the recipe thoroughly and come up with a plan of action before you start


To make the fig insert, warm the fig purée in a pan to around 40ºC. Whilst it is heating, mix together the pectin and caster sugar. Add this pectin-sugar mix to the purée, bring to the boil and cook for 1 minute. Pour into a flat mould or tray measuring 40x30x1cm lined with cling film. Freeze until solid


To make the bergamot curd, warm the bergamot purée in a pan to around 40°C. Whilst it is heating, mix together the agar agar and caster sugar. Add this mix to the purée, bring to the boil then cook for 1 minute

  • 135g of bergamot purée
  • 1.5g of agar agar
  • 135g of caster sugar

Add the eggs to a mixing bowl. Once boiled, gradually pour the purée onto the eggs whilst mixing constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and bring back to the boil whilst constantly whisking. Pass through a fine sieve or chinois into a container. Cut the cold butter into small cubes and slowly add to the container, emulsifying it into the mixture with a hand blender. Pour into a flat mould or tray measuring 40x30x1cm lined with cling film then freeze until solid


Once both the fig insert and bergamot insert are frozen solid, remove both from their moulds or trays. Using a blowtorch, lightly heat one side of each insert to melt them very slightly, then stick them together. Using a 4.5cm round cutter, stamp out 8 circles. Return these discs to the freezer whilst you prepare the other elements


To make the crystallised fig leaves, create a stock syrup by boiling the water and sugar together, then remove from the heat. While this cools slightly, cut out around 24 small shapes (around 2cm in diameter) from the fig leaves, using a leaf-shaped cutter if you have one (or just a round cutter if you don't). Reserve the fig leaf trimmings


Place the cut out leaf shapes in the syrup then transfer to a vacuum bag. Compress using a vacuum sealer 3 times, until the leaves appear darker. Place all the leaves individually on a small silpat mat or a dehydrator tray wrapped in clingfilm


For the fig crisps, cut the halved fig into thin slices and place on a silpat mat (or dehydrator tray wrapped in cling film). Place both this tray and the tray of compressed fig leaves in the dehydrator for roughly 3 hours, or until they are crisp. Reserve both in an airtight container 

  • 1 fig, cut in half

For the fig leaf mousse, bring 180g of the double cream to the boil then add in the reserved fig leaf trimmings. Leave to infuse for 45 minutes

  • 180g of double cream

After this time, strain the cream into a clean pan, squeezing as much liquid out of the fig leaf trimmings as you can. Heat the infused cream in the pan until hot but not boiling. Whisk the egg yolks and caster sugar together. Gradually add the hot cream to the egg and sugar mix. Return to the pan and cook the mixture until it reaches 84ºC, stirring often


Whilst cooking the anglaise, soak the gelatine leaf in cold water. When the anglaise has reached 84ºC, squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and add to the pan, mixing well. Pour the anglaise into a bowl and leave to cool until only just warm

  • 1 gelatine leaf

Whip the remaining 230g of double cream to soft peaks, then fold this into the anglaise in 3 parts, folding to combine between each addition. Transfer the mousse to a piping bag

  • 230g of double cream

The Silikomart moulds Ruth and Emily use can be bought online, but you can also use any mould that holds 85ml and is 6.5cm in diameter and 3cm in height. Fill your moulds two-thirds of the way full with the fig leaf mousse, then press in the frozen double insert disc with the bergamot curd facing down and entering the mould first. Level off the moulds and place in the freezer until frozen solid


To make the earl grey sable and crumble, beat the butter in a stand mixer with the early grey powder and caster sugar until smooth. Add the egg yolk and mix again, scraping down the sides as needed. Finally add the flour and baking powder and mix again until just combined. Roll out between sheets of baking paper to roughly 1-2mm thick, then place in the fridge to firm up

  • 160g of butter
  • 160g of caster sugar
  • 80g of egg yolk
  • 250g of plain flour
  • 15g of baking powder

Preheat an oven to 165ºC/gas mark 3. Bake the sable sheet between 2 perforated silpat mats (or 2 sheets of baking paper with a tray on each side) for 8 minutes until golden all over. Remove from the oven and cut into 8 circles using a 5cm round cutter. Place the remaining sable into a blender and briefly blitz to make a coarse crumb. Reserve both in airtight containers


To make the earl grey and honey gel, add the tea, sugar and honey to a pan over a medium heat. Add the agar agar whilst whisking constantly, continuing to heat the mixture until it comes to the boil for 1 minute. Add the bergamot purée then take off the heat. Pour into a container, cover with cling film (ensuring it is touching the liquid to stop a skin from forming) and place in the fridge until set. Once set, place into a blender and blitz until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag

  • 150g of brewed earl grey tea
  • 25g of caster sugar
  • 50g of honey, Emily and Ruth use a local London honey
  • 3g of agar agar
  • 38g of bergamot purée

To make the tuiles, preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3. Cream together the butter and icing sugar, then gradually add in the egg white, followed by the flour. Spread the mix onto a silpat mat (or tray lined with baking paper) and sprinkle over a pinch of fig leaf powder. Bake until an even golden colour, 5–8 minutes. Note that the tuiles in the picture above are created by using a leaf stencil, but if you don't have one of these you can cut the sable into whatever shapes you desire immediately after it comes out of the oven. Store in an airtight container until ready to serve


Place the sable biscuits on a large tray. Demould the frozen mousses and place each one on top of the sables. Set aside to defrost then dust heavily with icing sugar

  • icing sugar

Once defrosted you can begin to plate. Place the mousse and sable in the centre of each serving plate, sticking it down with some earl grey gel. Arrange the earl grey crumble even around the mousse and follow with dots of the gel. Next add 4 pieces of orange and 3 segments of fresh fig to each plate. In the spaces between the fig segments, place the tuiles, fig crisps and crystallised fig leaves. Finally add small pieces of butterfly sorrel

First published in 2021

Growing her own vegetables from the age of thirteen, Ruth Hansom has spent years developing her own ultra-seasonal style of cookery and has won numerous awards along the way.

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