A second attempt at bookish cooking (see last year’s Krupni-cake adventure). Perfect for pairing with this month’s Feel Good Frights!
Disclaimer: Don’t worry; the following cookbooks only contain a handful of Hogwarts-related dishes (none of which I discuss in this post), among many more from Narnia, Oz, Hyrule, Jordan College, Dungeons and Dragons, World of Warcraft, the Smurf Village, and other lands Far, Far Away. And I’m fairly sure none of the proceeds go to a certain author, since the recipes are “inspired by” rather than copied from any of the related stories.
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I had this book in my library app’s wishlist for ages, and finally checked it out last month.
Aurélia Beaupommier. The Wizard’s Cookbook. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2017 (English translation).
Rating: 4.95 out of 5 werewolf biscuits topped with morello cherries and chocolate cream, perfect for distracting that ravenous lycanthrope until morning. Best served on a silver plate.
Then my friend Library Larkynn alerted me to the sequel, The Wizard’s Dessert Cookbook, and I discovered even more delightful fantasy feasts.
Aurélia Beaupommier. The Wizard’s Dessert Cookbook. New York: Skyhorse Publishing, 2019 (English translation by Grace McQuillan).
Rating: 4.95 out of 5 Queen of Hearts Tarts best enjoyed over a totally-not-rigged game of croquet.
While it does contain a typo or two in the “Who’s Who of Wizards” section (it lists Shakespeare’s tragedy as “Magic” instead of “Macbeth”), this sugared sequel improves on the previous book by including a measurement conversion chart and spelling out the measurements (“T” is tablespoon and “t” is teaspoon, FYI). So, if you want to know how many sticks of butter equal eight ounces, you can flip to the end of the book instead of reaching for Google (it’s two sticks).
Besides the drool-worthy dishes themselves, half the fun of these cookbooks comes from the mock instructions sprinkled throughout the recipes. For example, the Poisoned Apples should be allowed to cool “until the candy is as dry as your heart,” and the Miracle Max Bites are best prepared while “paying no attention to the Spanish man’s gibberish about how his name is Inigo Montoya, blah blah blah” (See the Cookbook pg. 107 and the Dessert Cookbook pg. 29, respectively).
Also, although I’m not planning to try her Far Breton prune cake myself, I ab-shell-utely want to learn more about the mermaid of Douarnenez Bay, who was once a fairy princess, friend to Merlin, and protector of the city of Ys before it was drowned by a demon.
And I’m curious enough to watch at least one YouTube episode of Ulysses 31 — it’s apparently an 80’s French cartoon about a spaceship captained by the enchantress Circe, who hypnotizes people into working in her intergalactic library. Or something. (Looking it up now…oh gods, the intro is sooooo 80s! 😀 )
But in the meantime! I did thoroughly enjoy the following two desserts so far, with a few modifications. I’m not going to give the full recipes, because that’s probably stretching the limits of fair use, but definitely check your local library; Thriftbooks and ebay also have fairly inexpensive copies of The Wizard’s Cookbook, as of today.
From page 140 of The Wizard’s Dessert Cookbook (it’s in the “Large Cakes” section, but mine ended up more runny, like oatmeal). If you have the hoopla app through your library, you may be able to find a digital copy of the book.
Rating 5 out of 5 times you must first rinse the pot with water from a sacred spring. I’d totally make this again.
Beaupommier aligns this recipe with the general history of the Salem Witch Trials as well as the more benign ideas people have about witches. Yeah, maybe it’s a biiiit tasteless to make jokes about the murder of women by 17th-century America’s version of toxic patriarchy… but, as the author suggests, maybe you can think about Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s cat, instead! Or just ignore the intro paragraph altogether.
In any case, this is a really good pudding made with cinnamon and molasses, and I added the Halloween-colored sprinkles specifically to go with a Google Hangouts viewing of Hocus Pocus with my writer’s group.
From page 119 of The Wizard’s Cookbook, in the “Marvelous Snacks and Sweets” section.
Rating: 5 out of 5 years these cakes take you back, until you can truly taste “the sweetness of childhood.” I’d definitely make this again.
These are meant to be little pumpkin-filled cake pops inspired by Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus series. Mine turned out more like miniature pancakes and they were DELICIOUS. Especially with a little maple syrup drizzled on top, and especially when paired with a Krupni-coffee (6 oz fresh-brewed decaf with a few drops of Lithuanian honey liqueur, topped with milk froth…oh, did I mention I got my own MILK FROTHER? 😀 ). Best. Tea Time. Ever.
The recipe said I could use any cookie cutter shape I wanted, so I decided to be super on-the-nose and chose a pumpkin. Fortunately/unfortunately(?), it turned out to be a larger shape than what Beaupommier had in mind, so I was only able to make five Reminders, and even the popsicle sticks I’d substituted in weren’t quite up to the task). Oddly enough, on the other hand, I ended up with a surplus of pumpkin filling (oh noooo, I guess I’ll have to make more pancakes!).
Speaking of which, in addition to the maple syrup listed in the recipe, I added cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger to the (canned) pumpkin puree, to make more of a pumpkin pie filling. And I dusted the dough with brown sugar as it was baking, to make up for the fact that I skipped the ground hazelnuts (just not a fan).
P.S. I think I now have a breakfast-inspired secret ingredient for pumpkin pie…
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What recipes (bookish or otherwise) have you successfully personalized, Bookwyrms? Know any other good bookish/fantasy cookbooks I should check out? Know any good spiked coffee recipes that can make the winter/post-election months more bearable (asking for a friend 😉 )?