Pavlova (with a healthy twist)

27 Oct

The subject of pavlova is one which divides the dinner table if you’ve got guests from both New Zealand and Australia. In fact, I’ve witnessed many a heated debate over this subject so I tend to try and avoid bringing it up as much as I can! After having a rather delicious version of it last night however, I thought I should post it up – and hope that chaos will NOT ensue (take note all my Aussie/New Zealand friends!).

Just as a little bit of interesting fact for you – according to the Telegraph it is named after Anna Pavlova, the Russian prima ballerina, who toured both Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s.

I always think of pavlova as a bit of a retro dessert, but there’s no disputing the fact that it’s jolly delicious when done well. It’s also a perfect dessert to make the night before, as you can leave it to cool in the oven overnight and then just put your topping on before you want to serve it, minimising the amount of time you need to spend away from the table. My mum used to make this a lot when I was growing up, so it always reminds me of home!

The problem with pavlova is that I don’t really like cream, so when PD suggested it I wasn’t hugely looking forward to the cream bit. However, being the clever and creative man that he is, he suggested using Greek yoghurt instead of cream and topping it with lots of delicious fruit. Obviously it’s not the healthiest dish in the world (let’s be honest – it’s all sugar really!), if you’re going to the trouble of having a dessert there’s no point trying to make it all low fat/kcal/sugar/cholesterol/etc. because otherwise there’s no real point in having a dessert! But by using the yoghurt at least we were making it that tad bit healthier, and it was actually really lovely. We were going to drizzle some Greek honey over the top of the fruit, but as the meringue was so sweet it really didn’t need the additional sweetness, and the yoghurt added just that little bit of bitterness to complement the sugary sweetness of the meringue perfectly. It was beautifully crisp on the outside and wonderfully spongy and cloud-like (did I really just say cloud-like?) on the inside. It was really, reallllllllly nice!

This recipe is taken from, and it is another from Bill Granger. We seem to be cooking a lot of his recipes recently, so hopefully that’s testament to how great flavoured and straight forward his recipes are. I can really recommend both his Everyday Asian and Bill’s Basics books; he writes incredibly well and his recipes have always turned out fantastically. I also love the fact that he often takes some of our favourite dishes and tries to make them a little bit healthier, but never loses the wonderful flavours.


6 egg whites*
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/3 cups (310g) caster sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
2 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons white vinegar
300ml thickened cream, lightly whipped (optional)
300ml plain yoghurt (or Greek yoghurt if not adding to cream)
2 punnets fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
Runny honey (optional)

*Yes, you’ll have yolks left over. I’m going to try to make some Hollandaise sauce with them later, so I’ll let you know how that goes. You can also make custard, or mayonnaise…or…<comments on a postcard please!>

– Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20cm diameter circle on the paper.

– Place the egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla into a clean dry bowl and beat until stiff peaks form.

– Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until all the sugar is incorporated and dissolved and the mixture is thick and glossy.

– Stir in the cornflour, arrowroot and vinegar.

– Pile onto prepared tray and spread evenly to the edges of the circle.

– Turn oven to 150C.

– Place in oven and bake for 1 hour 20 minutes, then turn oven off and leave in oven until completely cool.

– Meanwhile, slice the strawberries and any other fruit you fancy. If you want to make the yoghurt cream, whip the cream and fold the plain yoghurt through it. Otherwise simply keep your toppings until your meringue has cooled, and then pile the yoghurt onto the meringue, topped with the fruit.


3 Responses to “Pavlova (with a healthy twist)”

  1. Stephanie October 27, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Yoghurt in place of cream is such a good idea. I’ll try that next time. With the left over egg yolks I’d probably make a passionfruit curd. That would go well over the top of the pav.

    • DrinksAndNibbles October 27, 2012 at 11:34 am #

      Ooo passion fruit curd sounds fantastic. Lemon curd could be another alternative if passion fruits are hard to find!


  1. Hollandaise Sauce « DrinksAndNibbles - October 31, 2012

    […] my previous post about Pavlova I mentioned the left over egg yolks. Luckily one of my favourite breakfasts in the whole world is poached eggs on toast, so I thought […]

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