A little while ago, I was contacted by the lovely people at Provamel who threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to try out a couple of recipes using their Botanical Yogurts. Having reviewed Provamel yogurts in the past (here) and knowing that they have a range of interesting flavours, I said I'd love to have a go - then panicked about not being able to rise to the challenge and make the perfect meringue !
Well, shortly afterwards, they kindly arranged for all the ingredients to be delivered. I loved discovering a brand new ingredient that I'd never tried before : cardamom pods.
Right, time to have a good look at the recipe then ! This is the professional photo of what it's supposed to look like - eeeek !
And the recipe :
Autumnal Fruit Pavlova with Provamel Apple and Green Tea Yogurt
Preparation Time: 2 hrs
Cooking Time: 1 ½ hrs
350g Provamel Apple and Green Tea Yogurt
4 egg whites
150g caster sugar
140g light brown muscovado sugar (90g for the pavlova and 50g for caramelising fruit)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp corn flour
1 pear, sliced
30g toasted hazelnuts, chopped
60g soya margarine
Pre-heat oven to 120 ºC/250 ºF/Gas Mark ½
- Using a large, clean mixing bowl and an electric hand whisk; whisk the egg whites until forming soft peaks. Turn the whisk up to top speed and gradually add in the sugars, a tablespoon at a time, until all incorporated. Gently fold in the corn flour and white wine vinegar.
- Spoon the mixture on to a flat baking tray lined with baking parchment, making a circular shape about 25 cm across.
- Bake in the oven for 1 ½ hrs. Turn the oven off but leave the meringue in for at least 2 hrs or overnight with the door shut - this allows the meringue to dry out properly.
- Cut the plums in half and remove the stones. Place on a baking tray along with the sliced pear, and sprinkle with the remaining 50g muscovado sugar and dot with the soya margarine before placing under a hot grill for 5-10 mins until sticky and soft.
- Top the pavlova base with the Provamel Apple and Green Tea Yogurt and top with the plums, pears, blackberries and toasted hazelnuts.
And here's our version :
I have to say, I even impressed myself ! We don't have an electric whisk so we had to beat the egg whites by hand, which I was worried wouldn't work so well.
We didn't have any baking parchment either so I used foil instead. The only thing that "went wrong" was that the kids couldn't wait to eat it so it only got 2 hours in the oven to dry out, rather than leaving it overnight as I originally planned. This meant that it actually stayed fluffy, gooey and almost molten in the middle, but we decided this was actually a good thing as it made it into a really moist, indulgent dessert. Sophie said she preferred it to normal meringues that are too dry. Phew, got away with that one then !
Once it's topped with yogurt, sticky baked fruit and hazelnuts, it really looks the business. Tastewise, it got a huge thumbs up all round. Definitely a dessert with wow-factor that is perfect for finishing off a dinner party meal.
You know you've got a really good recipe when you can tweak it to suit your own tastes and needs and this one is perfect for this. We discovered that Jordan's Country Crisp clusters make a delicious alternative (or addition) to the toasted hazelnuts.
As a busy mum, I will also be tempted to redo this recipe as an instant dessert, using ready-made meringue nests topped with yogurt and the baked fruit. Which is very similar to the delicious-sounding Eton Mess recipe which is my second challenge, so watch this space at the weekend to see how that goes. (It'll be a piece of cake after the Pavlova, that's for sure !)
for more information and recipes : http://www.provamel.co.uk/
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