Hello and welcome to another installment of HP Saturday! As indicated in my last post, each Saturday I’ll be trying HP recipes from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, putting them in context for how they’re relevant to the story, and letting you know how the recipe works for me.
Like puddings, pies have an important role in British cuisine. Most commonly, the mention of a “pie” in England brings images of flaky pastries filled with fruit, custard, or meat. Indeed, savory pies are just as prominent as savory pies across the pond, if not more so. Today, however, we’ll turn our attention to a sweet pie that may be more in line with American ideals of what a pie is.
Connection to Harry Potter
We’re using a mention of pies from the sixth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. At this point, Voldemort has returned to power, and things are really starting to get interesting in the wizarding world. We also see Harry become more rebellious and more distrusting of the authority figures in the magical realm.
Strange things are happening, such as Snape teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and Malfoy’s suspicious dealings in the sinister Knockturn Alley. In fact, Harry starts to suspect that Malfoy has become a Death Eater.
The introduction of Horace Slughorn is another bizarre event. After Dumbledore takes Harry to convince Slughorn to return to teach at Hogwarts, Slughorn hosts his own private luncheon on the Hogwarts Express. He only seems to invite students who are somehow well-connected to notable or famous witches and wizards. Of course, Harry is invited, along with Neville and Ginny, among others.
This elitist “Slug Club” rubs an already moody Harry the wrong way, and the decadent spread presented likely doesn’t help.
‘Ah, you know Bertie and Rufus too?” beamed Slughorn, now offering around a small tray of pies; somehow, Belby was missed out. “Now tell me…’
It was as Harry had suspected. Everyone here seemed to have been invited because they were connected to somebody well-known or influential–everyone except Ginny.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7, pg. 145
There are no further details on the types of pies served, but we can safely assume that some of the more common pies in British cuisine were present–one such being the apple crumb pie.
I followed this recipe exactly, and I was especially pleased with the crust. Make sure not to cut corners with chilling the crust dough. I left mine to chill overnight, and it was very easy to handle.
Also, the recipe in the book doesn’t mention it, but be sure to use nonstick spray to grease your muffin pan before adding the dough. It’s also useful to spray a bit on your rubber spatula when you’re forming your dough to cut down on stickiness.
Apple Crumble Pies
- food processor
- 4-inch circular cookie cutter
- 12-cup muffin pan
- 1¼ cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter (chilled and cut into slices)
- 4-6 tbsp cold water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 sweet apples ex. Gala (peeled, cored, and finely chopped)
- 2 tart apples ex. Granny Smith (peeled, cored, and finely chopped)
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- Juice & zest of ½ a lemon
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ cup packed dark or light brown sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp (½ stick) butter (chilled and cut into pieces)
- ⅓ cup chopped pecans
- Add flour, sugar, and salt to a food processor and pulse to combine.
- Scatter butter atop the mixture and pulse until it looks like course yellow meal.
- Pour mixture into large mixing bowl. Drop four tablespoons of the water over the mixture and toss with a rubber spatula until the dough sticks together.
- If dough is dry, add more water one tablespoon at a time (better too wet than too dry).
- Form dough into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap.
- Chill for at least two hours, up to three days.
- Heat butter in a large skillet until it starts foaming.
- Add in apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and lemon juice and mix together with a wooden spoon.
- Cook over medium high heat and stir frequently until the apples are soft and the juices have evaporated.
- Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Scatter the butter pieces on top and rub them into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles the consistency of wet sand.
- Add the chopped pecans and toss to combine.
The Apple Crumble Pies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator, and on a generously floured surface, roll out the dough until thin (see photo below).
- Use four-inch circular cookie cutter to cut out twelve circles. Fit the circles evenly into the cups of a greased 12-cup muffin pan.
- Fill each pie with a heaping tablespoon of filling.
- Generously sprinkle the topping mixture on top of each pie.
- Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan midway through baking, until the juices are bubbling over and the tops are browned.
- Remove from the oven and let cool until cool enough to handle. To remove pies from the pan, run a knife along the edges to loosen the pies and lift out.
The finished product!
Can’t you just picture these fitting in naturally on the Hogwarts Express menu? Even though these were brought aboard by Slughorn, it’s not hard to imagine these as an option on the trolley next to the pumpkin pasties and cauldron cakes.
Are you enjoying HP Saturdays? Please reach out and let me know what you think! I’d love to see pics of your recipe tries, too!
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