Pavlova “Flowers” with Apple Jelly, Raspberries, and Vanilla Labneh
A nod to Greg Malouf’s Australian upbringing, the pavlova is a much- loved dessert from Down Under.
- 2 ¼ cups plain unflavored yogurt (not Greek-style)
- 1 vanilla pod split and scraped, exterior discarded (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 9 ounces chilled apple juice divided
- ¼ tablespoon gelatin powder
- 5 large egg whites
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar sifted
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 10 ½ ounces raspberries
- Rosewater to taste
- In a medium-size bowl, combine all the ingredients until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a clean tea towel or a doubled-up piece of cheesecloth and tie the 4 corners together to form a hanging bag. Twist firmly to squeeze out remaining liquid. Poke the handle of a wooden spoon through the knots and suspend the bag over a deep bowl. Refrigerate and let drain at least 4 hours or overnight. Longer hanging means thicker labneh.
- To a small bowl, add about 4 tablespoons of chilled apple juice, sprinkle with gelatin powder, and let sit about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat remaining apple juice in a small sauce pan or in the microwave. Whisk the hot apple juice into the gelatin mixture. Pour the mixture into a small shallow container and transfer to the fridge to set.
- Heat the oven to 235°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- To the bowl of an electric stand-mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites, 2 tablespoons sugar, and the salt. Whisk on low until the mixture begins to foam. Increase speed to high and whisk until smooth, soft, glossy peaks begin to form. Gradually sift in the remaining sugar, continuing to whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the confectioner’s sugar and cornstarch and whisk briefly until incorporated.
- Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a ¾-inch tip (or use a plastic bag with a cut corner). Pipe 4 3- to 4-inch “flowers” onto each baking sheet: Start with a walnut-sized central blob, then surround it with 6 additional smaller blobs to form a flower shape. Be sure to space the flowers well apart on the sheets. Use a knife to flatten each central blob to create a shallow well to serve as a base for the filling.
- Place baking sheets gently in the oven and bake 90 minutes or until flowers are crisp to the touch. Let cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Cut the apple jelly into small cubes. Fill the center of each meringue flower with a generous spoonful of labneh. Top with fresh raspberries and a few apple jelly cubes. Add a splash of rosewater and serve immediately.
Adapted from New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian