Boy this has been a rough winter. The deep snow on the farm and well below freezing temps have made even the simplest tasks of tending to the goats and chickens a major chore. Constant snow blowing, shoveling and salting just to open the stall doors is enough to make me want to go on permanent vacation, and bring the animals with me. The girls (our 5 lovely Rhode Island Red hens)have been huddled together for what seems like months, and have literally been “cooped up” for as long. They had no desire to even attempt to free range and forage for bugs, seeds and deeply buried blades of grass , and I don’t blame them one bit.
I myself have been “cooped up” in the house, with my teething 8 month old, CJ. These days he just wants to be held. All day long. If you put him down he just cries and cries and cries. It’s been a challenge to find time to take a shower, eat a sandwich, or do a load of laundry. Its also been impossible to blog, let alone cook a simple meal for dinner.
But then this past weekend, there showed signs of hope. The sun beamed down, and was doing its darndest to begin melting the ice and snow. The girls opted to walk about on the path I had shoveled for them, and I scattered a bit of sweet feed for them to discover. The next day, to show their gratitude, they laid 3 eggs for me, after weeks of receiving 1 a day if I was lucky. Finally, my baby boy learned how to crawl- even though he now needs more supervision, he can explore and entertain himself for minutes at a time ( yes, just minutes, but it’s a big improvement!).
And then something exciting happened (well, exciting to me, as I told you, not much has been going on around here lately!). My friend Laura was having her husbands colleagues for dinner at her home the following night, and she needed a special dessert! With my newly found freedom, I was happy to oblige. Not only could I take pride in creating her a fantastic dessert, but I could blog it as well!
I wanted to create something fun and different, maybe something they’d never had before. A Pavlova was the first thing that came to mind, but normally I top the crispy cloud of meringue with lots a vanilla whipped cream, raspberries and peaches. It might just be my favorite dessert. Obviously, the season is way wrong for this embelishment, so I got to thinking of how I could “warm it up” for the middle of February. Bosc pears and a caramel sauce felt right, and I decided to toast some pecans and soak some currants and raisins in dark rum for some texture, color, and a flavor punch. This sounded good overall, I was only afraid it would be cloyingly sweet. I thought maybe some creme fraiche folded in to the very lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream would give it a nice mellow tang, and it did just that. But now the pure white meringue of the pavlova felt too pristine, so I decided to flavor it with brown and white sugar, some good vanilla bean paste, and a touch of espresso extract.
I brought the components to her house at 9:00, just in time for coffee. I rummaged through her cabinets for a nice big plate and transferred the baked meringue, then piled it high with the whipped creme fraiche-chantilly cream. Next I tossed the bosc pears with the caramel rum raisin sauce, mounded it on top of the cream, and sprinkled it generously with the roasted pecans. I asked Laura for her largest dessert plates and placed a big scoop of pillowy crisp meringue, cream and rum-caramel-y pears on each. Just as I had hoped, they had never had a dessert quite like this, and they LOVED it! This was a dessert trifecta- simple, delicious and impressive.
So the weekend was a little bit brighter,and today the sun is still shining ( we won’t talk about weather predictions for tomorrow…). My baby boy is napping, and I can write my blog, and in so doing, I get to relive the joy of creating it for my friend. Then, if the Nap Gods are in agreement, I will lay down next to my baby boy and dream of the raspberries and peaches that will soon drip from the top of my next Pavlova. Spring is coming. It is.
Please see the My Recipes tab at the top of this page for this one and many more!