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Strawberry and Almond Pavlova 

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This is a delicious incredibly simple (yet impressive-looking) dessert that can be made ahead of time – perfect for entertaining.

Usually served with double cream, this recipe uses almond milk yogurt as a healthier, more nutritious alternative. You could always use coconut yogurt or indeed regular pure Greek yogurt if you don’t mind dairy. I have tried it with coconut sugar and it just doesn’t yield the same effect, so I always opt for unrefined caster sugar. Yet once adorned with strawberries and raw almonds this dessert is a gorgeous way to spoil yourself without spoiling yourself.

Meringue can be quite tricky to make, especially if you don’t have a good oven. The tiniest piece of eggshell, the temperature of the sugar, the cleanliness of the bowl can either make or break the consistency of the meringue. Ultimately, you want the meringue to be soft and chewy on the inside yet hard and crispy on the outside. I find that the trick is to add ½ a teaspoon of cream of tartar to the final mixture, and to create this mixture in a glass bowl with eggs and sugar that are room temperature – not cold.

Of course you could use raspberries or blueberries if you’d prefer; but I do love English strawberries in June when they are in season and just taste divine!

Ingredients:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 175g fine caster sugar
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp cream of tartarTo decorate: 
  • 150g of flaked almonds
  • 400g fresh strawberries
  • 2 x 125g tubs almond milk yogurt (I like to use Nush’s natural flavour)
Method:

Preheat the oven to 150°C and place a sheet of baking paper on a large flat baking tray.

Separate the eggs and place the whites in a large clean bowl. Take an electric hand whisk and whisk them until they form stiff peaks i.e. you should be able to hold the whisk upside down and the mixture will standup straight and not collapse.

Next whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and add the cream of tartar and almond extract.

Then take a spoon and spoon the mixture in blobs onto the baking sheet, making a circle that’s about 9inch/20cm in diameter. Fill in the middle of the circle until you have a large bowl-shaped nest effect. Sprinkle half of your flaked almonds on top.

Place the meringue on a middle shelf in your own and turn the temperature down immediately to 140°C , leave it for 1 hour. After an hour has passed, turn the oven off but DO NOT remove the meringue – instead just leave it inside the oven to finish cooking while the oven cools. Once the oven is completely cold you can remove it.

About 30 minutes before serving, top it with the yogurt, strawberries and the remaining almonds and enjoy!

Recipe by Amelia Stewart, Founder of CookFirst – www.cookfirst.co.uk

*Cover image courtesy of https://www.alphafoodie.com/eton-mess-meringue-pavlova-cake/