A new year has begun and with it brings glad tidings and joy abound. Some of you may recall the exhilarating day, three months ago now, when my husband took his last pill. It was a day of celebration though our hopes were held at bay and our peace flanked with caution as we knew it would take three months for the medicine to fully leave his body. Well my friends, those ninety days have passed and my love is healthy and thriving. A part of me never thought this day would come. And it is that part of me which I now lay to rest. I hold a dirge for my doubt, my fear and take on a posture of unyielding faith and peace.
Forward reaching I anticipate a year of health and continued inspiration as we maintain our diet. I also have hopes to grow our family, Lord willing. To hold a little one in my arms, feeling the abiding ardor swell, listening to the lilt of its heart beat against my chest...yes these are the joys I hope to call my own this year.
So much is behind us; I look forward and hold dear my resolutions which stand untarnished and innocent, a child like faith, a wayward naiveté gilded with sweet abandon. I lay it all down, release my hold, and receive this new year with a humbled heart.
And what better way to usher in the new year than with a pavlova. Simply meringue with a few adornments, pavlova is airy and sweet, light on the palate and tummy. My take on this traditional dish involves egg whites and orange blossom water whisked with a simple syrup made with country honey and water until billowy. Topped with crushed pistachios and baked at a low temperature until the outside forms a crispy crust while the inside maintains a spongy texture similar to that of a marshmallow. To finish I top with a generous dollop of whipped coconut milk and fresh meyer lemon zest.
The result is heavenly. Sweet and soft, yet with a slight crunch and tang from the lemon zest. I find it imperative to welcome each new year with this pavlova gracing our table, yours as well.
*The lovely cake flags and beeswax candles are from the talented Herriott Grace.
Orange Flower Pavlova
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 tsp orange flower water
- 1/2 cup light colored honey
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup pistachios, finely chopped
- zest of 1 large meyer lemon (or two small ones)
Preheat oven to 300F.
In a saucepan add the water and honey and bring to 225F degrees (measure with a candy or kitchen thermometer). Remove from heat and set aside.
In a metal bowl whisk (I used an electric hand held mixer) until soft peaks form. Continue to whisk and slowly pour in honey mixture. Add orange flower water and continue to whisk until firm peaks form.
Pour mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper forming an imperfect circle. Sprinkle with half of the chopped pistachios. Place in oven and immediately turn heat down to 250F. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and prop open oven door and allow to cool completely. The pavlova should be firm and dry on the outside and spongy on the inside.
- 1 can of full fat coconut milk
Place can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (this will allow the cream to separate from the water)
Remove lid and carefully scrape out the top layer of cream leaving the coconut water behind.
Place cream in a bowl and whisk until a whipped cream consistency.
Transfer pavlova to a plate. Spread coconut cream over the top, sprinkle with left over pistachios and lemon zest.