Thursday 29 September 2011

Provamel Botanical Yogurts Cooking Challenge #1 : Autumnal Fruit Pavlova

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

Serves: 6


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
4 plums
1 pear, sliced
120g blackberries
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.

Sophie rose to the challenge and said she was really looking forward to doing some "grown-up cooking", rather than the kid-friendly baking kits I often use in the kitchen with the girls. She did really 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 !)

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  2. for future reference you might like to know 2/3 mins in a microwave drys out your meringue once it comes out the oven, but like you I prefer them chewy.
    Im being a cheeky bitch here...but wonder why your kids only ever appear eating in blog posts in their pj's? they do other things dressed but eating seems to be a pj based activity...
    I may try this to use up some blackberries and blackcurrants now I have mastered egg free meringues

  3. LOL They're not always in their PJ's but they are sometimes when they have a bath before tea & bed ! I'm in the middle of reviewing Discovery fajitas and you'll be pleased to know they're dressed for this one !!

    Great tip for the meringues, thanks :)There's another recipe with meringues and fruit coming up over the weekend too :)

  4. Your pavlova looked every bit as appetising as the professional photograph where they probably had 10+ pavlovas available, all in different serving dishes and proper lighting etc. (I wonder if they airbrush food?)
    I'm going to try this recipe for myself.

  5. Aww thank you, have you tried it yet ? How did it go ? :)

  6. Your pavlova looks delicious. I've never made one before - always been something I've been a bit scared off. I should get it a go.


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