Friday, September 30, 2011


Marmalade always makes me think of Paddington Bear. Remember those stories? About the bear in the raincoat and galoshes found in Paddington Station? Well anyway, he ate marmalade. And so do the students at Hogwarts:

"This morning, however, she [Hedwig] fluttered down between the marmalade and the sugar bowl and dropped a note onto Harry's plate" (Sorcerer's Stone 135).

Marmalade is one of those condiments that Americans don't eat very often, and from what I've heard, many people don't like it at all. But the recipe in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook for "Sweet Orange Marmalade" is delicious!

(To Fill a 14oz Jar) You Will Need:
3 Oranges
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
Note: I only had 1 orange, so I used only 1/3 of everything.

1. Place the oranges in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1.5 hours.

2. Remove the oranges from the pot and place on a cutting board. Discard the water and rinse the pot.
3. When the oranges are cool enough to handle, peel them. Scrape the pith off the peels (the white underside of the peel), as much as you can and discard the pith, since it will make your marmalade bitter (I wonder if people usually include the pith? I've always heard that marmalade is pretty bitter.).

4. Mince the orange peels and add to the clean pot. Chop the peeled oranges  (discard the seeds) and process in a blender or food processor (even better, use a juicer if you have one!).

5. Pour through a sieve, pressing down with a rubber spatula to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp.

6. Add the orange juice, sugar, and water to the pot. As the mixture boils, it will expand A LOT, so be sure the pot has enough space for the mixture to at least double.
7. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and it begins to bubble.

8. Add a candy thermometer and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until it is 220 degrees. Remove from the heat.

And that is where Ms. Bucholz' recipe ends... sooo, transfer the mixture to a glass container (a jar with a lid is best) and allow it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve it spread on toast, English muffins, whatever you fancy! And enjoy this lovely sweet marmalade!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I feel like it's been ages since I posted a new recipe! My life just got crazy busy-- my own personal week of OWLs. Well, not really. I catered a party for 40 last week (yep! it was pretty neat!), and then got really sick for a couple days, and then had job interviews coming out my ears. It's been a little stressful (in a good way). But surely not as stressful as poor Neville's experience with Meringues:

"Uncle Algie came round for dinner, and he was hanging me out of an upstairs window by the ankles when my Great Aunt Enid offered him a meringue and he accidently let go" (Sorcerer's Stone 125).

Poor Neville! But at least he bounced (and realized he's not a squib!)! So today, in honor of our dear Neville, we shall make Meringues.

Meringues are super simple to make, but somehow are a very sophisticated sweet (perhaps it's their French origin?). Dinah Bucholz includes an excellent meringue recipe in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, so that is the recipe we shall use!

You Will Need:
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.
2. Combine the egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft mounds form.


3. Gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff but glossy. If the meringue is dry and cottony or curdled-looking, it's overbeaten and you'll have to start again. Likewise, if it's underbeaten, the meringues will never set. A good test: hold the bowl on it's side. If the meringue sticks to the bottom and doesn't move, it's ready!

4. Fill a pastry bag (or a ziplock bag with a corner cut off) fitted with a plain or star tip (or none at all, mine didn't create much of a shape) with the meringue mix and pipe little blobs, swirls, kisses, whatever you fancy, onto the prepared cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 1 hour, rotating the pans and switching shelves halfway through the baking time. Leave the meringues in the oven for another hour to dry out. Discard any leftover meringue mixture, it won't keep long enough for you to use it.

Pop the meringues in an airtight container to store them. Serve them up for your next gathering and enjoy while thinking of heroic Neville's precious/tragic/awkward childhood!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rice Pudding

We have finally reached the final dessert in our list of delicacies from the first Hogwarts Feast:

"Blocks of ice cream in ever flavor you could think of, apples, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding..." 
(Sorcerer's Stone 125).

I love rice pudding, so I'm very excited that a recipe for it is included in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. And it's really easy! That is the recipe we'll use today.

You Will Need:
1/2 cup white rice (preferably short grain, but long grain works-- and is cheaper, that's what I used)
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbs butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1. In a large saucepan, combine the rice, milk, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil (slowly, or else your milk will scald on the bottom!).

2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease a 2-quart baking dish.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and nutmeg, stirring until combined and the butter is melted.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. 

6. Then bake for another 30-45 minutes (without stirring), until spotted golden brown (it took mine almost an hour to get to this point). 

Serve warm or at room temperature. Dinah Bucholz says to serve it with whipped cream or ice cream or jam... I've always enjoyed it plain, but go ahead and do whatever you fancy! It's really delicious, and totally hits the spot on a brisk autumn day (even if you haven't just floated across the Hogwarts Lake)!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Remember those commercials? "J-E-L-L-OOOOO." When I was a kid, we sang that song every time Jell-O was served in my family. My poor parents. I wonder if the students sang it at Hogwarts:

"Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding..." (Sorcerer's Stone 125).

Do we really need to go over jello-making? Here we go then: Buy a box of Jell-O. Follow the instructions of the back. Tada! Jell-O. 

The End.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


"Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding..." (Sorcerer's Stone, 125).

I think it's fabulous that strawberries are included in the list of desserts at the first Hogwarts Feast. I could tell you to just throw some strawberries in a bowl and eat them. But that's no fun. So today we will make "Tuxedoed Strawberries!" I found the recipe on the website for Taste of Home.

You Will Need:
White Chocolate for melting
Milk or Dark Chocolate for melting

1. Wash and dry your strawberries. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt about half your white chocolate (assuming you're using a bag of Wilton's candy melts) and stir until smooth.
2. Dip each strawberry into the white chocolate, coating it completely, but leaving a little red visible below the stem. Place the coated strawberries on a sheet of parchment or wax paper to set.

3. Melt the milk (or dark) chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Dip each white strawberry into the melted milk chocolate on a angle, first one way, then the other, leaving an inverted triangle on the front of each strawberry.

4. Spoon the extra milk (or dark) chocolate into a sandwich bag or pastry bag, and cut a tiny bit off the tip. Use the pastry bag to pipe tiny "buttons" onto the "shirt" of each strawberry, followed by a little bowtie. If you still have extra chocolate (like I did), you can also pipe lapels onto the "jacket," cleaning up any smudges.

How cute are these?! And they are SO delicious! I want to make them for every party ever! They will be sure to impress your friends.

I mean, come on! It's like a little choir of strawberries!

Friday, September 16, 2011


Ahh, trifle-- That British dessert Americans are missing out on because too few of us know what it is:

"Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, choclate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jell-O, rice pudding..." (Sorcerer's Stone 125).

I won't lie, the dessert I envisioned when reading the word "trifle," turned out to not really be anything like a trifle at all. Trifle is really just a fantastic way to use up leftover cake. 

... though I don't think I've ever known any family that had leftover cake long enough to really call it "leftovers." 

While there is a recipe for Chocolate Trifle in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, it is created using the recipe from Harry's First Birthday Cake. And if you recall, I was not really a fan of that cake. But I found a recipe that appears on multiple websites, including Taste of Home. So today, in honor of the sudden Autumnal weather, we shall make "Colossal Caramel Apple Trifle." Heads up, trifle is (in my opinion) not worth making unless you have a clear glass trifle dish or salad bowl or something similar to build and serve it in. 

You Will Need:
1 package yellow cake mix (and whatever is required to make said cake: probably 3 eggs, some water, and some vegetable oil)
6 cups cold milk
3 packages (3.4oz) instant vanilla pudding (I used 2 of the 6ish oz ones)
1 tsp apple pie spice (I didn't have this, so I used a bit of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg)
1 jar (12oz) Caramel ice cream topping (Note that the jar pictured here is 16oz)
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 cans (21oz each) Apple pie Filling
32oz whipped topping

1. Bake the cake according to the package's directions, using two 9" round pans. Cool them completely (I recommend baking them the night before). 

2. In a large bowl, prepare the instant pudding using the 6 cups of milk, and whisk in the apple pie spice. Let stand for at least 2 minutes or until soft-set.

3. If necessary, trim one of the cake layers so it will fit in the bottom of your bowl and set it in. Use a wooden skewer (or, in my case, a metal knife sharpener...) to poke a bunch of holes in the cake.

4. Pour 1/3 (ish) of he caramel topping over the cake.

5. Sprinkle pecans over the caramel.

6. Spread half the pudding mixture on top.

7. Pour 1 can of Apple Pie Filling on op of the pudding, then spread 16oz of whipped topping on top.

8. If you sill have space in your bowl, repeat all the layers one more time (I couldn't fit anything else in my trifle bowl). Then sprinkle pecans on top and drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce. Refrigerate until serving (and probably cover with foil).

Since I could only fit half the ingredients in my trifle dish, I used the rest of the ingredients to make "individual" (albeit enormous) trifles in tall glasses. 

This is a ridiculously tasty and impressive-looking dessert that should definitely appear on dinner tables more often! So enjoy!

Seriously, it's all about the serving dish!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jam Doughnuts

Many Americans might find it funny that jam doughnuts appear in a list of Hogwarts desserts, since we (gratuitous nation that we are) eat them for breakfast. But in Britain, sugary things belong in their rightful place at the end of a meal:

Blocks of ice cream in every flavor you could think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, Jello-O, rice pudding..." (Sorcerer's Stone, 125).

I may have mentioned before that doughnuts are not my favorite thing, but the recipe from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook seems pretty swell, so that's what I'll make today!

You Will Need:
1/2 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp (2 packets) dry yeast
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 stick butter
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
5 cups flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups peanut or vegetable oil
Your choice of jam (I used strawberry), and a pastry bag with a metal tip
confectioner's sugar, for dusting

1. Combine the water, yeast, and 1 Tbs sugar in a small mixing bowl and let it stand until the yeast is dissolved and the mixture is puffy.

2. Heat the butter and milk in a small saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted.
3. Whisk the eggs into the mixture.

4. In a large bowl (the bowl of an electric mixer, if you have one), combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
5. Whisk the yeast mixture into the milk mixture and pour it into the flour mixture. Mix the dough and knead for 10 minutes or so. If the dough is very sticky (mine sure was!), add more flour 1/4 cup at a time (I probably added a full cup).

6. Knead the dough vigorously for 30 seconds or so, and transfer into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a towel, and leave it to rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1.5 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.

7. Remove the dough from the dough and roll it out to 1/2" thick on a floured surface. I must roll my dough thinner than I think I do, because this recipe should make 12-18 doughnuts, but I ended up with 29!
8. Cut 3" circles of dough (I used a glass as a guide). Cut the remaining scraps into appropriate sized chunks. Place the dough circles and scraps on a piece of floured parchment or wax paper and leave them to rise for 1.5 to 2 hours, until doubled in size.

9. Pour the vegetable oil into a pot and begin to heat on medium until a candy thermometer reads 350 degrees. Meanwhile, line 2 baking sheets with 4 layers of paper towel.
10. Carefully place a couple doughnuts into the hot oil, fry until golden, using a metal spatula or tongs to be sure both sides fry evenly. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the doughnuts to the paper-towel-lined baking sheets. Repeat until all the doughnuts are fried.

11. Sift the confectioner's sugar generously over the warm doughnuts.

12. When the doughnuts are cool, fill a pastry bag fitted with a metal tip with jam. Plunge the tip into the bottom (I went through the side, it seemed less messy) of each doughnut and squirt in some jam. You'll quickly get the hang of how much to inject!

And enjoy! If you plan to Americanize them, these doughnuts are rather tasty with a cup of coffee at breakfast time. If you end up with an absurd amount of them like I did, I recommend taking them to families on your street who have small children. I was very popular that day!