One would naturally assume it would be near-impossible to make any type of meringue or pavlova recipe without the use of sugar or a sugar substitute.
I went to Village Organics in Frankton to buy a natural sweetener to use as a substitute for sugar so that I could make a sugar-free meringue.
The product we chose was Organic Raw Blue Agave, an extract from cactus. It is delicious as an alternative to maple syrup on pancakes or waffles, in baking or even to try making meringues with.
It wasn't all easy and required a trial or two to get something that was pavlova-like (meringues weren't happening for me and all I could create was a sticky, hokey pokey tasting egg white without any crispness at all).
While I was unable to get the wonderful crunchy exterior that comes with pavlova and meringue making, this recipe melts in your mouth and tastes just like the sugary dessert we love.
Here's another tip for reducing sugar, from a friend who has a diabetic daughter.
She recommended when making icing for cakes, that half the amount of icing sugar is used, with the balance in cornflour.
It's a great idea for any kid's birthday cake as they're blissfully unaware of this, yet still have a great time without excessive amounts of sugar.
3 large egg whites at room temperature
3 Tbsp Organic Raw Blue Agave syrup
3 tsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp vinegar
In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites until fluffy. Add the Blue Agave Syrup one tablespoon at a time with the mixer still running. Then add the cornflour, vanilla essence and vinegar. Scrape down the sides and continue to mix for a further five minutes. You will not get the gloss that normally is achieved with making sugar meringues but the mixture will still be very firm and easy to shape.
Use a piece of baking paper or dust the baking tray with cornflour before shaping your pavlova into a round about 18cm in diameter and 4-5cm in height.
Bake at 120C for 1 1/2 hours and then turn off oven and leave in there to cool for at least another hour. Remove from oven and ensure the pavlova is cool to touch.
Remove from baking sheet and place on to the serving plate. Decorate with whipped cream (sweetened with the Blue Agave Syrup) and fresh fruit.
To find out more about Organic Raw Blue Agave syrup visit www.organicsyrups.biz.
- Waikato Times
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