A few months ago, I came across a beautiful blog called Roost. I bookmarked it, added it to my RSS Reader and promised myself that I was going to make at least one recipe from Caitlin's collection of delicious sugar free, gluten free, flavour full recipes. I remember that I was smitten by her beautiful looking Orange Flower Pavlova. When the time came to choose something that starts with P to bake for this month's AlphaBakes, the image of Caitlin's pavlova materialised in front of my eyes and I desperately wanted to make it. I have a lot of experience with.... eating pavlovas, they are after all something like my favourite "white" desserts. Crunchy and crumbling or spongy and light it makes no big difference, I love them all. This is the first time I had to make one. I was a bit apprehensive at the beginning. They taste so good they are bound to be complicated and difficult to make. Maybe. I cannot say for sure because this one was the easiest thing ever. Caitlin's recipe has only 7 ingredients and one of them is water so....easy.
There is a twist to this recipe and it too has to do with water...Orange Blossom Water. When we lived in Saudi Arabia, I used to see it in the supermarkets all the time and taste it in the Saudi versions of Basbousa. I have never seen it in Zagreb though. I thought about using orange flavouring or even a few drops of orange liqueur to substitute it. Then one morning last week I passed by a new delicatessen shop and I saw it beckoning to me, Eau de Fleur d'Oranger from Tunisia. Magic. You only need 1/2 a tablespoon but it really makes all the difference. Nothing really can substitute the aroma of orange flowers. The moment I popped the cup open I was transported in time and in space...spring evenings on the streets of Athens. Athens? Yes, there are bitter orange and lemon trees all over Athens and their flowers smell heavenly making you forget that you are in the centre of a big concrete jungle but rather in the middle of a huge orange grove. This spring I am going to be in Athens and I am going to smell the orange blossoms again...
Pistachio & 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 lemon
1 can of full fat coconut milk
Preheat oven to 150C.
In a small saucepan add the water and honey and bring to 120 degrees C (measure with a candy thermometer). Remove from heat and set aside.
In a metal bowl whisk with a hand mixer the egg whites 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 120C. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off oven and prop open the door and allow to cool completely. The pavlova should be firm and dry on the outside and spongy on the inside.
Place can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (this will allow the cream to separate from the water). Remove the lid and carefully scrape out the top layer of cream leaving the coconut water behind. Place cream in a bowl and whisk to a whipped cream consistency.
Transfer the pavlova to a plate. Spread coconut cream over the top, sprinkle with left over pistachios and lemon zest.
AlphaBakes hosted by Caroline from Caroline Makes and Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker