Don't miss out on our special Christmas issue with free 2023 calendar - subscribe by 18 October!
First make the meringues. Heat the oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Using a pestle and mortar or spice grinder, finely grind the cardamom seeds, clove, allspice and cinnamon together. Whisk the egg white until stiff peaks form, then gradually whisk in the sugar, a tbsp at a time, until you have a stiff, shiny mixture. Fold in the cornflour, vinegar, vanilla, spice mix and orange zest.
Divide the mixture into two on the prepared baking sheet and use the back of a spoon to make a slight hollow in the centre of each. Bake for 50 mins until crisp, then turn off the heat and leave the meringues cooling in the oven for 30 mins. Finish cooling on a wire rack. If making ahead, store in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze for up to one month.
For the figs, put all the ingredients except the figs in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 mins. Reheat the liquid, pour over the figs, then leave overnight or at least until cool. Drain the figs, reserving the liquid, then thickly slice each into 2-3 pieces.
To make the sauce, put 125ml of the reserved fig liquid and sugar in a pan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then whisk in the cocoa and chocolate. The mixture will thicken as the chocolate melts. Allow the sauce to cool to room temperature.
To assemble, spoon a little crème fraîche onto each pavlova, top with the fig slices and drizzle with chocolate sauce. Serve extra sauce on the side.