Another midnight release is coming up in the lands of Potter-mania. Harry Potter and the Cursed Childscript/book is hoping to make a splash at the end of the month, and however it hits with fans there is always some fun to re-immersion in the Potter world. For me, it's bringing on fond memories of past Potter parties.
... bringing on fond memories of past Potter parties ...
My first was the release of book 5--the Barnes and Noble festivities were adorable, with thick-rimmed black glasses for all, the buttery scent of fresh popcorn, Polaroid pics with a fav character, but most of all the air of sincere excitement. And it all culminated in that first thirsty drink of a long-awaited chapter as soon as we got home at 1 a.m.
... all culminated in that first thirsty drink of a long-awaited chapter...
As additional books and movies brought me again and again to experience this pure Potter love with my fellow fans, I thrilled each time when picking up that red and gold scarf, painting lightning bolts on 1-year-old nephews' foreheads, and taking in the costume, make-up or googly eyes of a fan radiating anticipation. Over time, my family and I began the tradition of throwing our own party to celebrate a new book, movie, or, you know, dvd release. At the center of the celebration: the magical foods of the Potter world.
... At the center of the celebration: the magical foods of the Potter world ...
There are so many to choose from! Indeed, those committed minds over at Pottermore created an infographic (far larger than the bit pictured above) that details all the "fantastical fancies" found in the books "from the wizarding world to the Muggle world." Yup, all the candy, chocolates, mundane but delicious muggle pastries can be found on this list. So the possibilities for a Potter-themed feast are innumerable. There are few that we at my household consider staples, however:
First, butterbeer ...
Essential. And so delicious that it is the thing that a not-too-Potterheaded young nephew always asks about--at every holiday, not just days of rest in honor of our dear Harry.
My favorite recipe comes from Food52. It melts over your tongue, feels of a warm velvet blanket in your tummy, and leaves that contented peace of buttery goodness. This recipe is not sickly sweet as some other efforts we previously attempted. I make one slight alteration by using fresh ginger steeped in hot water in place of ginger ale--sugar and cider make this drink plenty sweet so our clan prefers to avoid the soda base and kick up the spice a bit.
2. Pumpkin pasties ...
My vision for pumpkin pasties was something like a pumpkin hand-pie. So I used a pie crust and pie filling and found it pretty pleasing.
My pie crust go-to is from The Hoosier Mama Book of Pie. This tiny pie shop from Chicago's West town takes such care and has the most flaky, dough-heavenly pie crusts. If you don't have this book, which is a must for a pie lover, a testing of one of their recipes over at Serious Eats gives you the directions for the crust.
In my head a cauldron cake is a chocolatey container of more chocolate. So my original was a chocolate cupcake, with a scooped out center and filled with warm chocolate pudding. My sister devised an ingenious method of removing the center of the cakes--using the center straw portion of a baby bottle that has the perfect circular head for removing just the right amount of cake. They were gooey and delicious.
I've also considered more of an upside-down molten chocolate cake, that graciously spills its contents to your welcoming spoon as a full, tipping cauldron might. Here are a couple of promising-looking recipes:
A potentially more researched approach comes from Food in Literature. The chefs at that site thought about Rowling's descriptions of stacked cakes made in Pakistan and came up with a spiced date and almond pastry. I can imagine Harry and Ron devouring a few of these on the Hogwarts Express!
Those were our musts, but I know there are so many more! Maybe this November as we start feeling the tingles of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them around the corner we'll have to try out Hagrid's rock cakes, Hogwart's start-of-term plum cake or a Honeydukes treacle fudge.
Until then, wishing you all some midnight magic and the goodness of a wizarding treat!
a pairing for you
food pairing: Spring lamb acorn squash soup with An Ember in the Ashes
food pairing: Cherry coconut toaster pastries with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland