This week I had a bunch of leftover egg whites from a recipe for another post I am working on. Since I don’t like to waste food I needed to find a purpose for these egg whites. Egg-white omelet? Nah… too bland for my taste. Soufflé? Macarons? Too dainty. Use it as egg-wash? But on what? Suddenly, while strolling through the fruit and vegetable market, I found a box of perfectly ripe strawberries. Ah, yes! Summer is approaching and multicolored, fragrant fruits are returning to the stalls. I had a vision of a light and airy vanilla pavlova with heaps of fresh fruit and fresh mint piled on top of creamy, tart, Greek yoghurt. And… here we are.
To be honest, I am not the biggest dessert fan. Sure, I can appreciate a gooey, chocolatey brownie, or slice of hot apple pie, but I don’t have too much of a sweet tooth. Sweet fresh fruit, however, always makes me happy and the fruit here in Greece is especially delicious. I have even gotten into the habit of eating tons of fruits on ‘hangover days’, rather than reaching for a bacon sandwich, or bag of chips (I don’t know…am I just getting old?). Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that a dessert like this pavlova that is not overtly sweet and that contains tart yoghurt and a lot of fresh fruit is right up my alley.
My lack of a sweet tooth may be the reason my baking-skills are not quite there yet. Honestly, I am still trying to figure out how this baking-thing really works. I have had some fails with making meringue in the past. They have either cracked whilst baking, turned out too brown (still tasty, though), started weeping, or simply collapsed. Having said that this pavlova turned out quite nicely and only showed some minor cracks along the edges… which I think give it character… maybe.
Summer Pavlova with Greek Yoghurt, Strawberries, Mango and Mint
- For the meringue:
- 4 egg whites, at room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 vanilla bean
- For the topping:
- 200g greek yoghurt
- 200ml cream
- 1 ½ tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 300g strawberries
- 1 medium-sized mango
- Couple sprigs of mint, plus extra for decorating
- Preheat oven to 120°C.
- Prepare set-up: On a piece of parchment paper trace the circumference of a plate. Turn over the piece of paper to avoid staining your meringue and place paper on a baking tray.
- To prepare the meringue: Put your egg whites in a clean bowl. With a hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. With a knife, scrape the little seeds out of the vanilla pod, stir vanilla into the vinegar. Gently whisk the vinegar-vanilla mixture and the cornstarch into the egg whites, then gently stir in the sugar a couple tablespoons at a time. Continue beating with the handmixer, whilst slowly turning up the speed, until the egg-white mixture forms stiff peaks and looks glossy.
- Bake the meringue: Spread the meringue-mixture within the lines of the drawn circle on the parchment paper. Create a slight indentation in the middle of the meringue to create a place for the toppings later. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The outside of the meringue should be hard/dry, but the inside should be nice and chewy. The meringue will brown a little, but if you think it is browning too much, lower the heat and slightly extend the cooking time. When the meringue is cooked, turn off the heat and leave the meringue in the oven to cool and dry for about an hour (if your oven remains very hot, crack open the oven-door slightly).
- Prepare the toppings for the meringue: Cut your strawberries and mango and chop the mint leaves (keep some for decoration). Mix together and set aside. In a bowl, combine yoghurt and honey until the honey has dissolved. In another bowl, combine the cream and 1 tablespoon of sugar and whip. When the cream forms stiff peaks, carefully fold whipped cream into the yoghurt and honey.
- Assemble your pavlova: Make sure your meringue is completely cooled when you remove it from the baking sheet. Place it on the plate you intend to serve it on as it will be nearly impossible to transfer after placing your toppings on. Top the meringue with the honey-yoghurt-cream mixture and place the fresh fruits on top. If you wish, decorate the meringue with some extra mint leaves. Serve immediately.