Friday, November 29, 2013

That bitch, Nigella

                We were having a few friends over for dinner and I had been menu planning, the highlight of any dinner party. Since I’ve emerged from my paleo fugue state, I do nothing but look at dessert recipes on line. I haven’t read a paper or checked the weather or perused my email in weeks. It is all Yumprint and Dessert Stalking all the time. BTW, if you don’t have these sites bookmarked, you don’t know what you are missing. As riveting as Petfinder but without the consequences.
                Dessert had to be gluten free. Just as well because something had to narrow down the field of contenders. I finally winnowed the options to Individual Cheesecake Pots with Salted Caramel Sauce and Nigella’s Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova. His Lordship wanted the cheesecake, but after further reflection, we both decided to go with the Pavlova.
                Most of the dinner guests are cyclists, and cyclists (present company excluded, bien sur) are food weird. The Pavlova has fruit and that’s healthy and the meringue is fat free and mostly egg whites and we eat egg white omelets. So far, so salubrious. Then there is the cocoa powder, all theobromine and flavenols. The Pavlova is essentially fruit with some protein and antioxidents and just enough whipped cream to bind it all together. Health food, really. Throw in a few chia seeds and it could be your refuel snack after hot yoga. 
                So we chose Nigella. I should have known better. Nigella is the Devil’s Spawn from Christmas 2010. I followed the recipe, I didn’t once imagine that I knew better and add cream of tartar instead of vinegar, or beat when folding was called for. Still, my Pavlova was flat. It roamed all over the sheet pan, emerging as thin and boneless as a Dali clock. 



               Undeterred, beaten but unbowed, I piled up the whipped cream, loaded on the raspberries, shaved a little chocolate around the edges. I tried to remember that as the founder of Magenta Arborvitae, my motto is, The only thing pretty is our name.
                I think the Devil’s Spawn’s motto is, It tastes as bad as it looks. OK, it didn’t exactly taste bad, but I didn’t want seconds and I had no desire to go near it the next day. It was the ugly early of desserts. 

                Of the cyclists, two refused outright, one accepted a small piece and ate half, the other two cleaned their plates. I’m not blaming any of that on the Pavlova.
                I made the Individual Cheesecake Pots the next day and they were disappointing too.
                As they say in Alanon, if you meet more than two assholes in a day, who’s the asshole? Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m being overly ambitious, (cheesecake?) or have lost the baking magic. I’m not giving up. The only failure is the person who doesn’t try again the next day. I wonder if I could find a poster with that on it, maybe featuring a kitten in tight spot.

Love, Margaret

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Still, my pavlova was flat."

Can't coach that....