New Year’s Pavlova

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On New Year’s Eve, I cooked for some friends and realized that dessert needed to be on the lighter end of things, because who wants to go out to New Year’s parties feeling all weighed down with chocolate and butter, etc. etc.? That’s how I came up with Pavlova, something that I’d only really made once before (actually twice) but never served to guests because it always seemed so delicate and ephemeral and kind of risky. But a risky dessert on New Year’s Eve is a good way to kick off the new year: taking chances, living on the edge, whipping egg whites. So I got to work.

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Crème Caramel

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Ok, enough with this healthy stuff. Bring on dessert.

Very well! For a long time I’ve been curious about Crème Caramel but too wimpy to make it. It starts by making caramel, something I’ve done many times, but then you pour the caramel into ramekins, make a custard with eggs and milk and vanilla bean, pour it on top and cook everything in a water bath. The scary part comes later, after you refrigerate it, when your guests are there and it’s time to unmold… what if it doesn’t come out? What if the caramel didn’t melt and remained a hard block? What if your custard is too wet? Or, worse, overcooked? When it comes to Crème Caramel it’s easy to be afraid.

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An Excess of Egg Whites? Make Pavlova

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If you make the ice cream in the previous post, you’re going to find yourself with an excess of egg whites: specifically, six egg whites that you should not, by any means, throw away. Resourcefulness is what separates good home cooks from great ones; and there, with that bowl of egg whites, you can make a delicate, memorable dessert, especially if you top it with whipped cream and berries. The dessert in question is pavlova, named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova. Depending on your taste for sweets, it may either be the best or worst dessert you’ve ever tasted.

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Katy’s Reindeer Cupcakes

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My friend Katy is this blog’s godmother: she and her husband Josh were the ones who inspired me to start it five years ago. Just today, I noticed something awesome: Katy made reindeer cupcakes and posted them on her Facebook profile. Ironically, Katy–the food blog inspirer–does not have a food blog of her own so I insisted that she do a guest post that would explain to you, my beloved readers, how to make reindeer cupcakes of your own. Katy outright refused. Ok, she didn’t outright refuse but she wasn’t rushing to get it done. So I suggested we do an IM interview in which I ask her over IM chat how she made her reindeer cupcakes. What follows is what transpired.

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