This is my second recipe-post and since I am still so very excited about posting on my blog I can’t just not share this excitement with you! And of course thank you so much for reading!
An idea for this dessert just came on me this morning when I was staring at a huge bucket of strawberries in my fridge that have been there for more than a few days. Well, initially these organic strawberries that I got on sale in Whole Foods looked just SO delicious that I bought more than I probably should’ve. See, the thing is that I have two kids and I try very hard to keep them healthy and so I get very excited when I see the yummy-looking produce that just screams “eat me!” from the shelf. So I buy a lot of it since I know that I’ll be feasting on it too. But more often than not I end up being the only one in the family feasting on it. And it’s not like I’ll be all selfish and not be sharing them with anyone! The problem I got with my kids (like many parents probably do) is that when they get used to eating one particular type of food, they don’t really want to change. Currently out of all fruit my kids only want to eat apples. I don’t mind that since the apples are good for them, but I also just can’t give up the hope to feed them something else, especially when it looks so good to me!
Well, this current attempt failed and the strawberries ended up just sitting there, loosing their freshness and appeal. Well, the not-so-fresh fruit means only one thing: making a healthy dessert so that everyone can finally eat it all up! And this is how the idea for this dessert came to me this morning…
And so I decided to make a beautifully pink Strawberry Pavlova.
And… (I’m gonna brag now) it’s:
- Zero fat
- Very low in calories
- High protein (naturally, no protein- or other artificial powders)
Yes, a Pavlova is one of my most favorite desserts because a. it’s decadent; b. it’s low in calories and fat-free (my version of it) and c. it’s just a yummy treat that you can gobble away for breakfast or even as a late-night snack knowing that I you will actually be getting all the calcium, protein and fruit servings that a meal should provide!
OK, no more messing around: here comes the recipe!
Strawberry Pavlova (Non-Fat and all Natural)
For the Merengue:
- 5 egg whites at room temperature
- 2/3 cup of sugar*
- 1 tbsp. of vanilla extract
- 2 tsp of Corn starch
- a pinch of Cream of Tartar
For the Strawberry Frosting:
- 16 oz. of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 package of 4-serving Strawberry Pudding mix*
- 1-2 oz of freeze-dried strawberries, milled
For the topping:
- 10 oz. of fresh or frozen strawberries
- 3 tbsp. or ¼ cup of sugar depending on whether you will or will not be cooking your berries (see the preparing directions)
- 1-2 tsp of corn starch
- 1-2 oz. freeze-dried strawberries to add some more color and texture to the dessert
Preheat the over to 250 F. Line a baking tray with a piece of parchment paper. Draw a circle on the paper with a pencil (to help you arrange your Pavlova on it). Flip the paper so that no paint gets in the food.
Beat the egg whites and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, beating in 1 tablespoon at a time until the sugar dissolves. Keep beating the whites until they are very stiff. Add the starch and the vanilla extract and beat the mixture for a few more seconds. Spoon mixture onto the prepared tray following the contours of your circle.
Bake for 1 hour until the merengue is just firm. Turn off the oven and let the merengue cool inside the oven with the oven’s door slightly ajar.
Beat the yogurt with the pudding mixture until it’s nicely incorporated and very thick. To make the frosting even thicker and to also add more color to it I added the milled into powder freeze-dried strawberries, but it’s optional since the frosting comes out pretty thick even without them.
If you are using fresh strawberries, blend them in a food processor with just a few tbsp. of sugar and no cornstarch. If your berries were previously frozen or are looking saggy or not so very fresh, cook them for 5-10 minutes with slightly more sugar (about ¼ cup for 10 oz. of strawberries, since the cooked berries lose their natural flavors) and some diluted in a few tbsp. of cold water cornstarch to thicken them up and then blend them or leave them whole, if you like.
To arrange the Pavlova (I usually do it on the next day when the merengue and the topping have cooled down and the frosting has thickened up) grind the freeze-dried strawberries and sprinkle them on the merengue. Scoop the frosting on top and finally top everything with the strawberry sauce.
Makes 8 small or 4 giant servings.
*I like to use less sugar than a regular baked merengue recipe calls for since I “trained” myself to eat low-sugar-added foods. And so even the amount of sugar that I put in this merengue tasted VERY sweet for me. You can use about a cup of sugar if you like it sweeter, only beware… less sugar is healthier.
** When I make this frosting for my kids I use an organic pudding mix with the regular sugar in it. For myself I use a xylitol-based mix which sounds safe enough for an adult to consume in order to cut the sugar off their diet, but I personally don’t believe in any kinds of “maybe it’s healthy” experimenting for the kids. I think that the kids are always better off with the real thing.
©2016 Beautiful Healthy Sweet