Christmas party season is here and my favourite bring-a-plate-dessert (and quite possibly my favourite dessert) is the pav! I love the combination of crisp meringue, the creamy topping and of course, loads of fresh sweet fruit.
This is a lighter version of the traditional pav. There’s less sugar in the meringue, (but it is still a sweet treat) and I’ve switched the whipped, sweetened cream with rich Greek yoghurt instead.
The idea isn’t to turn all of our favourite foods into diet foods, it is only Christmas once a year after all. I strongly encourage enjoying your favourite Christmas treats, but choosing a few lighter options during the festive season will help you avoid the over-indulgence tummy aches. Plus the honey Greek yoghurt is so sweet and creamy it really is delicious in it’s own right.
A healthier, lighter pavlova leaves a little more room for tasting the other desserts too!
Instead of the traditional cream topping, choose a rich and creamy Greek yoghurt . Around 5-10% fat, something a little more decadent that your usual morning ‘natural’ yoghurt. This is still a treat and don’t you want it to be too runny or too sour. If you’re making this for friends or family who may find plain yoghurt a bit tart, chose a sweet one, like honey Greek.
Serves 6 (or 10 buffet style)
5 egg whites
150g caster sugar
1 1/2 cups honey Greek yoghurt*
1 cup fresh berries
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 100C.
2. In a large, squeaky clean bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until stiff peaks form. This means if you push the whisk into the eggs, then lift it straight up, the whipped egg whites will form a stiff peak that doesn’t melt back down again.
3. Continue to beat on a lower speed and gradually add the sugar. The egg whites should turn glossy.
4. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a large circle (or trace a plate) to guide the outer edge of the meringue. Draw a small circle in the middle (or trace a small bowl) to guide the inner edge of the wreath.
5. Flip over the baking paper (so the ink doesn’t run into the meringue) and use the lines as a guide to spoon the meringue mixture into a wreath shape. Smooth the edges and use the back of the spoon to create a circular dent on top to hold the yoghurt (a flat top makes the fruit more likely to slip off).
6. Bake the meringue for 2 hours, then turn the oven off and allow the meringue to cool and dry out for another 4 hours or overnight**.
7. Once completely cool, top with the yoghurt and fresh berries. Use a sieve to sprinkle a little icing sugar ‘snow’ over the top and add some mint leaves to serve. This is best served immediately, so take the yoghurt and fruit along separately if you need to travel.
*I use the Mundella brand honey Greek yoghurt. Yes it has some added sugar (not just honey) but this is a dessert after all!
**Ovens do vary and so will the size of your wreath which can effect the cooking time. After the oven is turned off and the meringue is cool enough to touch, lift up the baking paper on one side and give the bottom of the meringue a tap to make sure it has cooked. It should still be a little soft (like mashmallow) but not wet, like the stiff peaks.
I’d love to see your festive Christmas Pavlova Wreath, so tag me in to your social media posts – @sarahmoorewellness.
Sarah Moore is a mum, and university qualified Registered Nutritionist. She has 10 years’ experience working with families to improve their health and well-being. Sarah has a simplistic and practical approach to family nutrition and wants you to know that activated unicorn berries are not the answer to your health and wellness. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram for more healthy tips and tricks.