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.