Hazelnut Pavlova with Spiced Roast Fruit and Chai Cream

A triumphant dessert. We love making a pavlova, it is always impressive and its so easy to make – and it goes a long way too! The sweet and tart caramelised fruits infused with their warming spices, the nutty meringue and cooling cream is pure happiness. And a damn good alternative to the steaming rich Christmas pudding. A light and chewy marshmallow base with its snow top peaks topped with magnificent glistening boozy fruit – a good fit for the end of festive celebrations. Yes there is nothing quite as exciting as the hot flaming traditional pud, the sheer extravagance of it all with its ancient ingredients, the time and effort required to produce and then being rushed around the table flames leaping from the plate – but we can assure you will be met with gasps of delight from your guests when you present this show stopper if you are seeking an alternative. We had originally thought to make chai tea meringues, inspired from a dessert we recently made for an event - Earl Grey meringues with brandy cream, Cointreau soaked clementine’s and pomegranate. Grinding the tea to a fine powder and adding it to the sweet meringue mixture works well and adds a heavenly fragrance that’s not overly spiced. For us the Chai meringues worked if serving as a tiny portion, almost a canape but it was too much when settling down to a generous scoop of pavlova. Wanting to keep the chai flavours in the dish we decided to add them to the cream, the preferred route is to infuse the cream by simmering it with the chai ingredients (we use cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger), then cool the cream and whisk. The bore about this way is after the cream has been heated you need to refrigerate it for a while and it takes a very long time to whisk up, but you do end up with a clean white cream. The quicker option is in our recipe below. Either way is delicious. The tea that we have been using is by Wedgewood, a wonderful discovery and we thought we would let you in on this secret.


    A handful of the following –

    Plums, halved and de stoned

    Figs, halved

    Dried apricots, halved


    1 vanilla bean

    1 cinnamon stick

    1 start anise

    1 glass of white wine

    1 tbsp brown sugar

    Juice of ½ lemon


    6 egg whites

    3000g caster sugar

    100g hazelnuts, toasted and chopped


    600ml double cream

    1 tbsp chai tea




1.     Heat the oven to 200c. Poor the wine and the sugar into a small pan and bring to a simmer, slice the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add to the wine, along with the pod itself and the lemon juice and simmer for another couple minutes. Place the fruit into an oven proof dish, pour over the wine and place in the oven for about 15 minutes. Take out the oven and leave to cool.

2.     Turn the oven down to 120c. Place the egg whites in a bowl and whisk to soft peaks, very slowly add the sugar – a spoon at a time till all combined and it should be thick with a good shine to it. Add the hazelnuts and carefully fold in with a metal bowl. Line a baking tray with parchment and spoon the meringue onto the tray – we like to make one large one, but you could make smaller ones if you wish. Place in the oven and cook for about 40 mins – you want it to be crisp on the outside yet chewy in the middle.

3.     Place the chai tea in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. Place the cream in a bowl and whisk till it’s beginning to thicken and add the chai powder, taste and add more if necessary. Whisk to soft peaks – don’t over whisk.

4.     To assemble place the meringue on your serving platter, spoon over the cream then place the fruit on top and finish with sprinkling over chopped pistachio.