This chestnut pavlova recipe is fabulously festive: an exuberant, rich, and luxurious treat for the holidays. The meringue base is crisp on the outside with a soft marshmallowy interior,topped with sweetened chestnut puree (sometimes labeled "chestnut spread;" seek out Clement Faugier brand) followed by swaths of softly whipped cream and splinters of bitter chocolate. This chestnut pavlova is, despite appearances, a relatively easy affair. The only complicated part is the meringue base, and, provided you stash it in a completely airtight container, it can be made 2 days in advance. Handle the baked meringue carefully,as it is quite fragile.
Atapakua is a Purhépecha term that refers to whole range of stew-like dishes thickened with masa. In this atapakua from Imelda Campos Sebastián (also known as doña Mela) of Michoacan, Mexico, sorrel adds bright acidity to a masa-thickened sauce made of a blend of seeds and vegetables. Greens like mature arugula, mustard greens, or Swiss chard can stand in for sorrel in this dish but will lack its punchy flavor. (If substituting heartier Swiss chard or mustard greens for sorrel, remove the stems before using). Doña Mela doesn't serve this dish with lemon, but if sorrel is unavailable, squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice before serving. Yerba buena, similar to orange mint, has a citrusy, minty flavor with notes of pine; look for it or orange mint at Mexican grocery stores or at plant nurseries.
A wooden skewer, dowel, or chopstick is the only special tool needed to make this crispy scrunched phyllo pastry filled with chopped nuts and drizzled with sugary syrup. A splash of fresh lemon juice adds bright, zesty flavor to the syrup that balances both the sweetness of the pastry and the rich, buttery walnuts. The recipe is from Roberta Kochakian of Los Angeles, who is descended from a family of Armenian Genocide survivors and has devoted much of her life to chronicling traditional Armenian recipes and cooking techniques.