Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas Eve

This year we spent Christmas Eve at my in laws house in Lafayette. We started the prep the day before as we were to bring the bread/rolls, cheese, and a desert I wanted to try out. Off to the cheese shop we went (before taking in a movie as a side trip). We got a few different ones to try and then your standards. The cranberry chipotle cheese was a surprise hit, and pretty, too. I made little flags with the names on them using some leftover Christmas address labels. PK made the yeast rolls and I set out on making the bottom of the pavlova.

I wanted to try a tradition from another country for Christmas and settled on this dish that New Zealanders have. To my surprise a high school friend's wife's family (following?) are from New Zealand and she shared her grandmother's recipe with me. Thrilled and scared I was going to mess up the dish, I bought everything and started by making the meringue bottom the night before so that it could cool in the oven that night without having to worry about the additional oven cooking the next morning. These pictures are pre-baking. I used a spring form pan to get the bottom round. After it baked, it had spread out much larger, but stayed round. It was a light brown and the outside was dry and crisp. The inside was like a marshmallow. 

I sat the bottom aside and made that evening's meal of my grandmother's dumplings. (I made enough so that we could have them on Christmas evening as well.) After all that cooking was done I was exhausted and we hadn't hit Christmas Eve yet!!!! The dumplings were amazing and I found out Patrick had never had these before. He LOVED them and we decided that our little two-person holiday meal each year would be the dumplings. 

I also made up the centerpiece for the next day's get together. I saw this on Pinterest and thought it was adorable. I hot glued the candy canes to the glass vase because the rubber band they suggested was unstable. It turned out festive and cute.

My BIL and his family were at Christmas Eve and we all had fun watching A open his gifts. Patrick was super excited to give him the gifts he picked out this year. Lots of super hero items and Star Wars!

This was a gift Patrick made A. He took family photos and some super hero sketches and converted them to outline drawings. We paired it with trace paper so that he can draw all of them. 

Of course, in addition to the comic book stuff, he had to get a hat from Aunt Gina. (I did a simple 2 x 2 ribbed hat on a US 7 with worsted weight yarn. Decreased fast at the top for a gathered finish.)

That morning before leaving the house, I made homemade whipped cream and cut up the fruit. Right before we were ready for the pavlova, I put the whipped cream and fruit on top of the meringue bottom. Isn't it pretty? It tasted SO good. We were all talking about how you could make it for various events with different toppings. I think that it will be a request for Fourth of July with strawberries and blueberries. I also know that it will be part of our Christmas celebration in one way or another. (Patrick informed me that it would be a must for after our dumplings. :) It is my new favorite desert and PK wants it for his birthday cake. Yummy...

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