Dessert Recipes: Clodagh McKenna’s Pistachio Rosewater Florentine, Raspberry Pavlova and Sticky Fig Cake

Some delicious, tantalizing treats from Clodagh McKenna…

Pistachio and Rosewater Florentines

These are an after-dinner staple at most of my dinners. They are without a doubt the most delicious chocolate recipe I have made and they are so easy to make! It’s literally all about melting, stirring, spooning, sprinkling and chilling.

It takes about 15 minutes to make. Sometimes I serve them on top of a scoop of ice cream, like a Philip Treacy hat! There are many variations (but this rosewater and pistachio is the best) – orange blossom water with almonds, espresso coffee with hazelnuts, or candied orange peel. Make them a day ahead and keep them refrigerated. Try to prepare extra if you have time as people will devour them! Makes about 20


300 g dark chocolate (70 pieces of cocoa mass), chopped

100 g pistachio nuts, finely chopped

1 tbsp rose water

10 g dried rose petals


1. In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), melt the chocolate.

2. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir in half the pistachios and all of the rosewater into the melted chocolate.

3. Place individual tablespoons of the chocolate mixture on a sheet of baking paper and shape into circles of the same size.

4. Scatter over the remaining pistachios and dried rose petals, then gently press into the melted chocolate. Place in the fridge for an hour until firm.

Raspberry Rosewater Pavlova

This is my absolute favorite summer dessert! It’s so decadent in taste and looks absolutely fabulous – everyone loves it! I love the taste of rose water and its gentle floral flavor pairs perfectly with the light and fluffy pavlova. I also make the pavlova the night before and let it cool in the oven overnight (after it’s turned off). This dish also tastes great with strawberries or peaches when they’re in season.

Makes 1 pavlova


For the raspberry syrup: 100g fresh raspberries

1 tbsp powdered sugar

For the meringue:

9 egg whites, at room temperature

500g powdered sugar

2 tsp cornmeal

1 tsp white wine vinegar

1 tbsp rose water

For the filling: 500 ml whipped cream

1 tbsp powdered sugar

1 tbsp rose water

200 g fresh raspberries


1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

2. Make the syrup first. Place raspberries and sugar in a small saucepan, heat over low heat and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Cook for another 2-3 minutes until the raspberries have turned into a mush. Place the raspberries in a strainer over a bowl and press through the strainer with the back of a spoon to obtain a thick, syrupy consistency. Let cool down.

3. For the meringue, place the egg whites in a very clean and dry large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using an electric hand mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the powdered sugar, tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until the mixture is thick and glossy and the sugar is completely dissolved. Then add the cornstarch, vinegar, and rosewater and fold in gently until just combined.

4. Spoon the meringue onto the parchment-lined baking sheet to form a round and use the back of a wooden spoon to shape the meringue into a nest. Using a teaspoon, drizzle half of the raspberry syrup over the meringue to create a ripple effect.

5. Place the meringue in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/gas mark 1 and bake for 1½ hours. Then turn off the oven, open the oven door and let the meringue cool completely.

6. When the meringue has cooled and you’re ready to serve, start preparing the filling – don’t add it too early as it will soak into the meringue. In a bowl, gently whip the cream until thick, then stir in the powdered sugar. Fold in rose water. Place the filling in the center of the meringue, arrange the fresh raspberries on top and drizzle over the remaining raspberry syrup.

Sticky Fig Cake

A true autumn hero! I came up with this recipe because I had an abundance of figs from the tree in my garden and I absolutely love a sticky toffee pudding – so this one is a bit similar in flavor but a lot lighter.

Make sure you use ripe figs as they add more flavor and you can omit the glaze if you like. Makes 1 cake, serves 12


300 g dried pitted dates

150 g dried figs

900ml of water

225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

350 g light brown soft sugar

4 large eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract 300 g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking soda

150 g fresh figs

For the glaze:

360 g cream cheese, softened

200 g powdered sugar, sifted


12 fresh figs, halved

1 orange, for seasoning

2 tablespoons clear Irish honey


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease a 30cm springform pan.

2. Place dates, dried figs and water in a saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the date and fig mixture to cool for 10 minutes, then place in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Put aside.

4. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor or large bowl and, using the paddle attachment of the food processor or an electric hand mixer, beat on high speed until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and baking soda, followed by the date and fig puree.

5. Pour the cake batter into the greased form. Slice the fresh figs and arrange them in a fan shape. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven, then unmold the cake, transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

7. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Place the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of a food processor or large bowl and, using the paddle attachment or an electric hand mixer, beat on high speed until combined, light and fluffy.

8. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake. To decorate, arrange the halved figs on the frosting and grate the orange peel over them. Finally, drizzle the honey over the cake.

* Excerpt from Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna, published by Kyle Books, £20. Photography by Dora Kazmierak.

A note from the chef

Clodagh McKenna is an accomplished cook and a romantic one too.

The Cork-born author and presenter is dedicating her latest book “to my true love, Harry Herbert”. Clodagh says she’s never been happier than seeing loved ones sitting around the table with a smile on their face as they enjoy delicious home-cooked food in a beautiful setting. She recommends nice romantic touches like twigs, herbs or flowers along the table with moody candles, dried lavender on everyone’s napkins, or figs with place settings tucked into a fruit slot.

As tips for successful hosting, she recommends “Keep it simple and cook the dishes you love the most”. Candles lit, playlist on, table set, food cooked, all that’s left is to whip up a delicious cocktail and make it a night to remember. Dessert Recipes: Clodagh McKenna’s Pistachio Rosewater Florentine, Raspberry Pavlova and Sticky Fig Cake

Fry Electronics Team

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