For the apple jelly:
2 sheets gelatine
250ml apple juice
For the vanilla labneh:
1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
500g natural yogurt
For the pavlovas:
5 large egg whites
200g caster sugar
A pinch salt
200g icing sugar
2 tsp cornflour
200g vanilla labneh (see below)
Rosewater, to taste
1. To make the apple jelly, soak the gelatine leaves in a dish of cold water for a couple of minutes, until soft and slippery, then squeeze them to get rid of any excess water. Heat 50ml of the apple juice and whisk in the gelatine until it dissolves. Mix it back into the rest of the juice, then pour into a small shallow container and transfer to the fridge to set.
2. To make the labneh, mix the honey and vanilla seeds into the yogurt and scrape into a muslin square. Tie the four corners together to form a hanging bag. Twist firmly to give it a good squeeze and kick-start the draining process. Suspend the bag from a wooden spoon set over a deep bowl and allow it to drain in the fridge for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
3. To make the pavlovas, preheat the oven to 120°C (235°F) and line two large baking sheets with baking paper. Put the egg whites into a clean bowl of a stand-mixer. Add 2 tablespoons of the caster sugar and the salt, and whisk on a slow speed until the mixture begins to foam. Increase the speed to high, and whisk until the foam thickens to form smooth, soft, glossy peaks. Sift on the remaining caster sugar, a little at a time, whisking as you go, to firm peaks. Finally, sift on the icing sugar and cornflour and whisk in briefly until incorporated.
4. Spoon the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm nozzle. On each of the prepared baking trays, pipe 4 pavlova ‘flowers’, spacing them well apart. Start with a walnut-sized central blob, then surround it with 6 more blobs, to form pretty flower-like meringue nests. Aim to get the peaks of the outer blobs pointing inwards, if you can. Use a knife to flatten the central meringue; this will form a base for the filling. (If you feel the flowers are beyond your piping skills, then form the traditional swirled meringue nests.)
5. Bake the pavlovas for 1½ hours until they are ivory-coloured and crisp. Leave to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before carefully lifting the meringue flowers onto wire racks to cool completely. And any uneaten meringues will keep very well for up to two weeks in a sealed container.
6. When ready to serve, cut the jelly into small cubes – they don’t have to be precise. Fill the central cavity of each meringue with a generous spoonful of vanilla labneh. Top with fresh raspberries and a scattering of jelly cubes. Add a splash of rosewater and serve straight away.
From New Feast: Modern Middle Eastern Vegetarian by Greg & Lucy Malouf
Photograph: Alan Benson