Last week was all about dinner parties and cooking for friends. Today’s post is all about my battle with pavlova.
I love pavlova. It’s one of my favourite desserts. I adore meringues, I love berries, I could happily eat cream with a spoon – really, pavlova and I should be best friends. We’re not, though. Every time I tried to make it for years I ended up picking the crispy edges off what was nothing more than a weeping, undercooked mess.
What was so frustrating was that I am SO good at meringues. Honestly, I’m brilliant at them. My chocolate meringue recipe is heavenly – I’ve had people say that they’re the best meringues they’ve ever tasted. I can make them with beautiful coloured swirls or with chocolate or big or small or twirly with a pool of chocolate in the middle. But one big meringue that I can pile cream on top of? Apparently impossible.
You’ll be glad to know that a combination of Delia and Nigella helped me solve my pavlova issues and create this berry and chocolate pavlova. I was very relieved. A pavlova really is the perfect, low-calorie dessert that fulfils my criteria of not tasting at all like it’s diet food.
Pavlovas are also just so pretty. I think a pretty table is important in a formal dinner party – they say you eat with your eyes, don’t they? I take it even further and make everything look gorgeous even before the food comes out. A pretty tablecloth, some pretty plates and a few candles can work wonders.
If you recall, the reason I was throwing the dinner party I was talking about on Wednesday was that Argos challenged me to have a healthy dinner party. Pavolva is amazingly diet friendly. If you swop the cream for 0% Total Greek Yogurt whipped with a teaspoon of vanilla, all you really have to worry about is the sugar in the meringue. Otherwise you’re basically eating an enormous pile of lighter-than-air egg whites with fruit and yogurt. Win-win.
I also added several liberal handfuls of dark chocolate chips. Well. You can’t be on plan all the time.
The recipe is below – if these posts have inspired you to hold your own healthy dinner parties, don’t forget to share a photo of your dinner party on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #ArgosDinnerParty for a chance to win a bundle of kitchenware from Heart of House! Download full T&Cs here and read Argos’s tips on how to throw the perfect dinner party, including some tips from yours truly.
- 4 large egg whites
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 500g 0% Total Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 200g strawberries, hulled and halved
- 200g raspberries
- 100g dark chocolate chips
- Pre-heat the oven to 180C and place a sheet of baking parchment on a large baking tray. Use a cake tin to draw a large circle on the parchment that’s about 20cm in diameter
- Whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until they form stiff peaks
- Whisk in the sugar one tablespoonful at a time, whisking well between additions. When all the sugar is added in, rub a little mixture between your fingers. If it feels grainy it’s not ready, so whisk a little more
- Spread the mixture onto the baking parchment, using the circle to guide you into making one large pile of mixture. Smooth the sides and top. Put in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 150C. Cook for about an hour and a half until it looks crispy
- Turn the oven off, then open the door very slightly and let it cool completely
- Place the meringue on a plate. Use a fork to beat the vanilla into the yogurt. Taste it, and add more vanilla if necessary. Then pile this on top of the meringue
- Top with the strawberries and the raspberries. Sprinkle over the chocolate chips to finish