Meringues are ideal after a heavy meal, because they feel a lot lighter and more digestible than many other desserts (or so I keep telling myself!). I use sweetened labneh and cream which really changes the character of a classic pavlova to something a bit different. The cinnamon meringue works beautifully with the figs, and Greek basil adds a refreshing touch.
Make Sabrina Ghayour's cinnamon pavlova with sweet labneh cream
Fancy a light and refreshing dessert that won't knock your stomach for six? This recipe – chock full of sweetened labneh, cinnamon and figs – is just the dish you've been looking for
Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 2 hours
For the meringue
- 6 large egg whites
- 300g caster sugar
- 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
For the topping
- 600ml double cream
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 100g labneh
- 6 fat black figs, quartered
- 75g pistachio nut slithers (or roughly chopped whole nuts)
- 2-3 tbsp clear honey
- Handful of Greek basil
- Handful of mint, leaves picked, rolled up tightly and thinly sliced into ribbons
- Preheat the oven to 160ºC (140ºC fan), Gas Mark 3. Select the largest baking sheet you have. Line it with baking paper, then draw a 24cm-diameter circle in the centre of the paper. Turn the paper over and you should still be able to see the circle, which you can use as a guide.
- Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form, then slowly add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, until it is all incorporated into the egg white.
- Add the cinnamon, cornflour and vinegar and continue to whisk until they are well incorporated and the mixture is shiny and dense.
- Fill the circle on the prepared baking sheet with the meringue mixture, then use a spatula to create peaks around the sides.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Immediately reduce the temperature to 150ºC (130ºC fan), Gas Mark 2, and bake for 1½ hours, or until the meringue is cooked and crisp on the outside. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
- Make the topping when you are ready to serve it. Using an electric hand whisk, whip the cream with the vanilla bean paste in a large mixing bowl until stiff peaks form. Once the cream is nice and firm, but not over-beaten, gently fold in the labneh.
- Spread the cream over the meringue, then arrange the figs on top. Scatter over the pistachios, drizzle with the honey, then sprinkle over the basil leaves and mint. Serve immediately.
From Bazaar by Sabrina Ghayour; photography by Kris Kirkham. Published by Octopus Books.