Monday, June 30, 2014

A fat-free dessert for your summer party

There are a lot of exciting things coming up this week and lots of reasons to party. This coming Friday is Independence Day stateside, which means BBQs, ice-cream and fire-works and on this side of the pond this weekend is the Wimbledon tennis final, which means strawberries, ice-cream and 'Pimm's' cups to me (not that I've ever gone to it but I've dreamed) Edit: How could I forget that Tuesday is also Canada day, yet another reason to celebrate! So there's lots and lots of potential parties and delicious food. However what if you are eating healthy at the moment? Well I have a solution for you my friend and it is absolutely delicious so you won't feel left out.

These giant meringues are the perfect way to have your 'cake' and eat it without as much guilt. Now, they are not very low in sugar, I replace some of the sugar with stevia but you can only go so far when you want to get crispy meringues. I'll tell you a secret: I have been working on lower calorie baked dishes for years and am always trying to replace the sugar or fat with healthier options. Meringues were one of the recipes I tinkered with, however it never worked out and it reached a stage where all I produced was marshmallow clouds without any bite until one day my sister, who I was baking with, said 'This is ridiculous, you need so much more sugar in these!'

Well these meringues are crispy, sweet and chewy in the center and still have 1/3 less sugar than normal.

Real fruit Meringue with fat free 'sweet cream' (makes 4 giant meringues)

6 egg whites
6/8 tsp cream of tartar
230g white caster sugar
115g equivilant stevia (follow the packer directions, my stevia says 10% so c12g stevia)

250g strawberries + 1 pinch stevia
250g Black berries + 1 pinch stevia

8 tbsp fat-free greek yoghurt (2 per meringue)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
optional - stevia to taste
berries to decorate

1 - Start by making your coulis- in a saucepan mash together the berries and stevia

2 - Boil the berries until they have reduced by half, let cool and then put through a sieve.

3 - Preheat your oven to 110'C. Beat the egg whites until light and fluffy, mix together the sugar and
      stevia and slowly add while whisking. Stop when firm peaks have formed.

4 - Pour out large dollops of meringue, then spoon on 3/4 tsp of the coulis on top of the meringue
      and use a tooth pick or the handle of a teaspoon to fold and mix the coulis gently into the
      meringue, stopping when it's streaked through the meringue. Steps below.

Try to lift up to keep the volume

Strawberry meringue

Blackberry meringue - these turned out best, a mon avis!
5 - Bake for 90 to 115 minutes and then turn off the oven and crack open the door to let the
     meringues dry out until cool. You will notice that the meringues lose a lot of volume and the
     colour diminishes on the outside. This is why it's important to try to keep the volume before
     cooking and don't worry the colour remains vivid inside.

6 - Now let's dress this up while keeping it fat free, so don't touch that cream!! Trust me you will not miss it. Now beat together your greek yoghurt, vanilla extract, vanilla paste and stevia. Portion out 2 tablespoons per meringue and decorate with extra berries and sprinkled coulis over the top. Then serve with a sparkling drink and enjoy ;)

Do you like my attempt to do red, white and blue? Perfect 4th July colours!

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