Happy Day – B

2 Mar

Another birthday…another sweet creation.

This week was my mom’s {B} birthday week and we had a little celebration in her honor.

Being the cook extraordinaire, and my mentor in all things to bake, knit and sew, she made an impressive spread (that i missed the opportunity to photograph).

The menu had a Russian theme and included:

  • Borscht with dill sour cream
  • Grav Lax (my mom cures the salmon in dill and salt for 72 hours, it literally melts in your mouth)
  • homemade pickles
  • fresh made goat cheese (plain, curry, and chive flavors)
  • a salad of pears and greens with a light vinaigrette
  • and, of course, homemade bread to slather with all the goodness

For dessert: individual chocolate/orange Pavlovas with chocolate crowns for the birthday girl.


It was a lovely finish to a splendid meal made all the better by the fantastic company around the table. Old and new friends…we laughed (it only takes 9 minutes) and enjoyed heated discussions (who here like SDM the movie?), it was perfect.

Chocolate Pavlova

Recipe from Nigella Lawson

italics are my changes to make individual Pavlova’s rather than one large one.

6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 (e: 350 °F) and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
. Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in.

Spoon onto lined baking pan and shape into rounds. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150°C/gas mark 2(e: 300 °F) and cook for about 45 minutes. When it’s ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you prod the centre you should feel the promise of squidginess beneath your fingers. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue disc cool completely.

Orange Curd

Recipe modified from Joy of Cooking

6 large egg yolks
60 grams sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
scant 1/2 cup strained fresh orange juice
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Cook, whisking, over medium heat until the butter is melted. Then whisk constantly until the mixture is thickened and simmers gently for a few seconds.  Let cool, cover, and refrigerate to thicken.

Whip up 1 cup whipping cream until stiff. Reserve some whipped cream for decoration. Fold curd into the remaining cream.

Crisp Chocolate Cookies

from Martha Stewart

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 large egg
  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, place chocolate, butter, and brown sugar; stir frequently until almost completely melted. Remove from heat, and stir until completely melted; let cool slightly.
  2. Add egg to chocolate mixture. With a mixer on low, beat until well blended. Gradually stir in flour mixture (dough will form a ball). Mix in orange zest.
  3. Divide dough in half; roll out each half on a sheet of parchment paper to a 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer each half (still on paper) to a baking sheet; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one half at a time, flip dough onto a work surface; peel off paper. Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies; place, 1/2 inch apart, on two baking sheets. Bake until firm and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool.

To assemble pavlovas

Push in the top of the pavolva and fill with orange curd mixture. Top with a dolop of cream and a cookie. Serve.


One Response to “Happy Day – B”

  1. deserthomespun March 2, 2009 at 18:15 #

    YUMMY! I am so hungry now!

    Such a nice time!

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