Pavlova? or the 13 Desserts of Noel?

I've been looking for a special a dessert for our Christmas Eve celebration that is beautiful (of course!), delicious, simple, and that warms the spirit....and I found it! It's perfect!


This delightful dessert is a designer's dream! Egg whites whipped into a silken alabaster pouf, the meringue a crisp and delicate base, filled with whipped cream, (so far it's pristinely white) then topped with a gorgeous array of fruits: the tart green of kiwis, the ruby red of strawberries, the deep coral of raspberries, the indigo of blueberries, the tangerine of, well, tangerines!

Made in honor of the ballerina Anna Pavlova on her 1923 tour of New Zealand, it is the epitome of elegant ease. I think even the Provencales would forgive me not putting out the traditional 13 desserts* this Christmas Eve when they see this confection!

Pavlova it is!

the top view of luscious Pavlova, the perfect ending
to Christmas Eve dinner

what could be more inviting for dessert?

Thanks to House of Annie for the Pavlova recipe and photos! Or for the American version (easier to follow!) check out Ina Garten's recipe.


* Les Treize Desserts de Noel:

At Christmastime in Provence, in the south of France, there’s a tradition of having a Christmas meal consisting largely of vegetables, followed by 13 desserts. 13 signifies the number of people at the last supper – Christ and his 12 apostles. The table should be decorated with 3 candlesticks, representing the Trinity. The meal and dessert are eaten before the family goes to midnight mass on Christmas.

1. Black Nougats – Symbolizing evil – Hard candy made with honey and almonds.

2. White Nougats – Symbolizing good – Soft candy made with sugar, eggs, pistachios, honey, and almonds.

These four are supposed to symbolize beggars, represented by four religious orders (Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelite Nuns, Augustinians):

3. Dried Figs
4. Almonds
5. Hazelnuts or other nuts
6. Dried Grapes

The symbol of Mary and Jesus’ safe journey from the East:

7. Dates

Some of the other desserts eaten, depending on the region, are:

Quince Paste
Calissons d’Aix (almond-paste pastry with sugar icing)
Oil Cake called Fougasse or Pompe à l’huile (made with Orange Flower Water and Olive Oil)

Finally with these desserts, one drinks cooked wine, representing Jesus himself.

One must have a taste of each dessert to have good luck for the whole year.

the thought of 13 desserts is altogether
too much to contemplate this simpler Christmas!



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Kit Golson Design

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Chic Provence Interior Design


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