Behold our Low FODMAP Mixed Berry Slab Pavlova! A vision of beauty and one bite will make you swoon with the contrasts of textures and flavors. It begins with a giant freeform slab of meringue baked on a sheet pan, which can be made ahead. Low FODMAP amounts of blackberries and raspberries are cooked into a thick, glossy sauce. Three kinds of fresh berries (blueberries, strawberries and blackberries) are scattered about on top along with a tangy whipped yogurt cream. The yogurt tempers the sweetness of the meringue. This is the perfect summer party dessert. BTW some folks call this a “slablova” and you can too, if you are so inclined.
Are Blackberries Low FODMAP?
Let’s dive into a discussion about blackberries and FODMAPs. Blackberries have been lab tested for FODMAPs by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. The Monash lab results state that 1 small berry at 4g is Green Light low FODMAP. FODMAP Friendly has lab tested blackberries and gives them a “Pass” at 1 cup (150 g). You can see that this is a huge difference.
If you have both apps, and we think EVERYONE following this diet should, then you will note that sometimes there are discrepancies, but they are very often in the same ballpark. This case is an outlier and we are going to talk about how each lab came to such different conclusions.
Let’s Look At Blackberry FODMAP Levels
First of all, let us make it clear that neither lab is wrong, and both are right. Let’s look at the reasons why:
- When lab testing a raw agricultural product, such as a fruit or vegetable, the test is for a certain fruit on a certain day from a certain orchard or farm, grown in particular soil, treated a certain way by the farmers; it was harvested at a certain time, stored in a varied ways, etc. These are just some of the factors that can affect the FODMAP content.
- We know from speaking with both Monash and FODMAP Friendly that they typically take multiple items (fruit, brands of a condiment, etc.) and test them to get an overview of the test subject.
- While this approach can help provide a more bird’s eye understanding and create “average” numbers for the consumer, it still is just representing what was actually tested and does not represent “all blackberries” or “all ketchup” and what have you.
- Even when we are doing our own blood lab work, when we go for follow-ups, it is recommended that we use the same lab as before, so that findings are comparing “apples to apples” as they say. Different labs, different equipment, different lab management can lead to different results.
- Monash uses an in-house lab. FODMAP Friendly uses an independent lab and they are each considered trustworthy.
- In general when you look at the apps and see what a low FODMAP serving size is for something, what you are looking at is what was determined in a lab. You are not a lab. How you respond to a food, whether it is lab determined to be low FODMAP or not, is what is important. The lab tests are guides for our Elimination Phase, not the be all and end all.
- We chose to go with the FODMAP Friendly lab tested findings for blackberries and blueberries for this dessert. As always, eat to your tolerance.
- For further educational background please read our articles, What Is A Low FODMAP Serving Size? and also Is It Low FODMAP vs. Can I Tolerate This?
Do Ahead Components
This dessert not only feeds a crowd and looks gorgeous on your table, but you can also make two of the components ahead of time.
- The meringue slab can be made two or 3 days ahead. The trick is that it is large and must be stored airtight. It probably won’t fit in any container. Keep it on the baking sheet pan and wrap very well in plastic wrap and then foil and let sit at room temperature.
- The sauce can be made 3 days ahead, too. The only trick with the sauce is that it might overly thicken in the fridge. You might have to loosen it up by stirring/whisking in a little water until it is a nice thick but flowy texture.
What Is Whipped Yogurt Cream?
2020 might just be the year of whipped yogurt cream for me, which is a combination of thick plain lactose-free yogurt and heavy cream whipped until thick. I used it in our Low FODMAP Red, White & Blue Trifle, too. The yogurt brings a tang and whips up beautifully with the addition of lactose-free heavy cream.
The reason I love whipped yogurt cream in this Low FODMAP Mixed Berry Slab Pavlova is because meringue is very sweet. By its very definition it contains a fair amount of sugar. The tartness of the yogurt offsets the sweetness of the meringue beautifully (just as it did for the sweet Angel Food Cake in the trifle). You will see that I give you the option of sweetening your whipped yogurt cream or not. I prefer it unsweetened.
Use The Right Yogurt
But you have to choose the right yogurt. Many different kinds of yogurt are low FODMAP, from lactose-free to small servings of Greek and traditional yogurt. And then there are some alt dairy yogurts, too.
For this recipe you want a thick lactose-free dairy yogurt and Siggi’s plain lactose-free whole milk yogurt is perfect. It is thick, mild and so delectable with an incredibly creamy mouthfeel. It is the yogurt I recommend for this recipe. If you cannot source it, then try another whole milk lactose-free yogurt. It does need to be thick though. If yours is watery, then drain it in a cheesecloth lined strainer for a bit before whipping. I cannot vouch for whipping various alt yogurts. And the FODMAP load will change with substitutions, which is always the issue when altering low FODMAP recipe.
Assembling Your Slab Pavlova
Once your components are made, it is just a matter of putting them together. As you can see, it is very free form! Think Jackson Pollock. You are aiming for shabby chic, meaning it is a little messy, but still aesthetically pleasing. You will get the hang of it as you go along.
One huge key is that you must make sure that you have a platter that is large enough! Figure that even before you form your meringue on your sheet pan so that you don’t have any last-minute surprises.
I once made a huge gingerbread house that was going to be featured on the Today Show for Christmas. At first, we hadn’t calculated the width of the door of the kitchen to even get out of the kitchen and over to the studio! We saved the day in the end, but lesson learned. And by we, I mean my very favorite food stylist ever, Liz Duffy. Oh, the stories…
How To Make Low FODMAP Mixed Berry Slab Pavlova
Whether you are taking advantage of making the meringue slab days ahead or not, it is the first thing that you will make. AND at this point also make sure that you have a large display platter that will hold your slab with extra room. (The slab will be about 12-inches by 9-inches/30.5 cm by 23 cm). There is nothing fancy about this meringue. You need a scrupulously clean bowl to whip your egg whites, which are stabilized with cream of tartar, and whipped with sugar until a stiff, glossy meringue forms. You can use a hand-held mixer, but if you have a stand mixer, it will be a breeze.
Make Your Meringue
You want to whip it until you can really see that it is “stiff and glossy”.
Then scrape the meringue out onto a parchment lined pan:
You can use a large offset spatula, or the back of a spoon, to spread the meringue out into a large oval, about 12-inches by 9-inches (30.5 cm by 23 cm) in size. Pull out a ruler! I keep one alongside my spatulas.
If you make the slab of meringue the right size, it will automatically be the right thickness, which will be relatively thin, but will have some variability.
When done, it will be nice and crisp:
Make The Berry Sauce
While the meringue is baking, you can make your sauce. It cooks very quickly and will take mere minutes for it to reach that nice and thick, yet saucy stage. Simply place your blackberries and raspberries in a non-reactive bowl with sugar, water and lemon juice:
Then use a potato masher to mash up the fruit right in the pot.
Add the cornstarch slurry and keep simmering for a few minutes until it thickens a bit and you are done. Sorry for the steamy picture! There will be steam coming up out of the pan.
Remember that so far everything you have made can be made days ahead, so take advantage of that if it is helpful.
Time To Assemble Your Slab Pavlova
Once you are ready to assembly, gently crush the top of your slab. Just use your palms. This will make serving a bit easier.
Have your sauce cool and ready to use. Then whip your yogurt cream using an electric mixer. You do want to whip it nice and thick. You can add sugar if you like but the meringue is very sweet. I prefer it unsweetened, but you can choose.
Simply spread the whipped yogurt cream all over the slab which is on your large serving platter – I left a bit of a naked edge of meringue. Then drizzle the sauce all over the cream and scatter the fresh berries here and there. There is no exact way and anyway you do it will be gorgeous. Ready to eat! If you are going to refrigerate it for a while, make sure you have room in the fridge.
More Low FODMAP Berry Desserts
And for more berry focused desserts, try our The Berries Pie, Crumb Topped Berry Slab Pie, Strawberry Sherbet, Strawberry Shortcake, Blueberry Pie, Blueberry Sour Cream Bundt Cake and Rhubarb Raspberry Crostata, to name just a few!
And if you love to bake, be sure to check out our 275 page ebook, Low FODMAP Baking for the ridiculously low price of $3.99!
Low FODMAP Mixed Berry Slab Pavolva
Behold our Low FODMAP Mixed Berry Slab Pavolva! A vision of beauty and one bite will make you swoon with the contrasts of textures and flavors. It begins with a giant freeform slab of meringue baked on a sheet pan, which can be made ahead. Low FODMAP amounts of blackberries and raspberries are cooked into a thick, glossy sauce. Three kinds of fresh berries are scattered about on top along with a tangy whipped yogurt cream. The yogurt tempers the sweetness of the meringue. This is the perfect summer party dessert. BTW some folks call this a “slablova” and you can too, if you are so inclined.
- 1 ¼ cup (163 g) fresh blackberries
- 1 ¼ cup (157 g) fresh raspberries
- ½ cup (120 ml) plus 2 teaspoons water, divided
- 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the Meringue Slab: Position racks middle of oven. Preheat oven to 225°F (110°C). Line a half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper; set aside. Find a very large flat platter that will accommodate your oval slab, which will be about 12-inches by 9-inches (30.5 cm by 23 cm) large but you also need to factor in a border to hold in all the lovely messiness.
In a clean, grease-free bowl whip egg whites with balloon whip attachment of stand mixer or use an electric beater on low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and keep beating until soft peaks begin to form. Add sugar gradually and beat until meringue is stiff and glossy, which will take several minutes. If you test it between your fingertips, there should be no grittiness. Beat in vanilla.
Scoop meringue onto the parchment and use the back of a spoon or a large offset spatula to create a slab in an oval shape about 12-inches by 9-inches 30.5 cm by 23 cm) in shape.
Bake for 2 hours, then check the meringue slab. It should be crisp and dry. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Once cooled, the slab may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (You would need a large, wide, flat container, so plan ahead if you want to do this or simply keep it the pan and wrap it up well with plastic wrap and foil.)
For the Berry Sauce: Place the blackberries, raspberries, ½ cup (120 ml) of water, sugar and lemon juice in a nonreactive saucepan and mash the berries a bit with a potato masher. Cook over medium heat, bringing to a simmer, and continue to simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken a little. Meanwhile whisk together the cornstarch and remaining 2 teaspoons of water to make a slurry. Add the cornstarch slurry to the simmering sauce and continue to simmer, whisking often, for a couple more minutes or until the sauce is thick and glossy. Remove from heat and cool. Sauce may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. It might thicken upon storage in which case you need to whisk in water to think it out to its original consistency before assembling your trifle.
For Assembly: Place your slab on platter. Gently press down on the top with the flat part of your palms to create some cracks to make serving easier. Whip the yogurt, cream and sugar with an electric mixer, until firm almost stiff, peaks form. Make sure that your sauce is thick but fluid. Dollop some of the sauce here and there (I use a soup spoon), then spread the cream all over the slab, leaving a border. You can use the images to help guide you. Drizzle the remaining sauce as you like and scatter the blueberries, blackberries and strawberries over the slab. Your slab pavlova is ready to serve or may be refrigerated for an hour or 2 but it will begin to lose its fresh look.
Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.
- Blackberries: Blackberries have been lab tested by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. The Monash lab results state that 1 small berry at 4g is Green Light low FODMAP. FODMAP Friendly has lab tested blackberries and gives them a “Pass” at 1 cup (150 g).
- Blueberries: Blueberries have also been lab tested by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. FODMAP Friendly gives them a “Pass” at 1 cup or 150 g. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving is a heaping ¼ cup or 40 g. In their tests the fruit jumped to Moderate FODMAP levels quickly at ⅓ cup or 50 g.
- Eggs: Eggs are high in protein and do not contain carbohydrates, according to Monash University.
- Lemon Juice: Monash University has lab tested lemon juice and it is low FODMAP in ½ cup (125 g) amounts.
- Strawberries: This popular berry has been lab tested by both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly. Monash lab testing reports that no FODMAPs were detected in strawberries. They suggest 10 medium berries (150 g) as a serving. FODMAP Friendly gives strawberries a “pass” and pegs 10 medium berries at (140 g).
- Sugar: Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have both lab tested white, granulated sugar. Monash states that a Green Light low FODMAP serving size of white sugar is ¼ cup (50 g). FODMAP Friendly simply states that they have tested 1 tablespoon and that it is low FODMAP. Regular granulated white sugar is sucrose, which is a disaccharide made up of equal parts glucose and fructose. Sucrose is broken down and absorbed efficiently in the small intestine.
Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.
All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.