Maggie Beer's dried apricot pavlova with apricot curd

January 2022

INGREDIENTS

  • 450g Australian dried apricots
  • 400ml verjuice
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 11/2 cups (375ml) thickened cream
  • 11/2 cups (360g) creme fraiche
  • 1/2 cup (50g) flaked almonds, toasted

PAVLOVA SLABS

  • 8 egg whites
  • 2 cups (440g) caster sugar
  • 2 tbs each cornflour and verjuice

APRICOT CURD

  • 16 egg yolks
  • 11/3 cups (295g) caster sugar
  • 360g cold unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • Preheat the oven to 140°C fan-forced. Place 200g apricots and 200ml verjuice in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened. Set aside for 10 minutes to infuse. Whiz in a small food processor until a smooth puree.
     
  • For pavlovas, grease and line 3 baking trays with baking paper. Using an electric mixer, whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tbs at a time, whisking constantly until dissolved and combined. Add cornflour and verjuice, and whisk for a further 1 minute. Divide meringue among prepared trays and shape each into a 32cm x 14cm rectangle. Bake, swapping trays every 10 minutes, for 45 minutes or until crisp and dry. Remove from oven and set aside to cool

  • For the apricot curd, place egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (don’t let bowl touch water) and cook, whisking constantly, for 15-20 minutes until doubled in volume. Add butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking until smooth and combined. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and apricot puree. Transfer to a large container, cover surface with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or until cold.

  • Combine remaining 250g apricots, 200ml verjuice and 2/3 cup (165ml) water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes until softened but not mushy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer apricots to a large bowl. Add honey and rosemary to pan, then bring to the boil and cook for 3-4 minutes until reduced by two-thirds. Pour syrup over apricots. Chill, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until cold. 

  • Using an electric mixer, whisk the cream and creme fraiche to soft peaks. Place 1 pavlova on a large platter and spread with half the apricot curd. Top with another pavlova and cover with remaining curd. Top with final pavlova and spread over creme fraiche mixture. Drain apricots, reserving syrup and rosemary, and place on top. Drizzle over syrup and rosemary. Scatter over almonds to serve.