#BookCook Sweeney Todd – “More hot pies! More hot pies! – Part 1”

Is that a pie fit for a king? Such wondrous Sweet and most particular thing?

Sweeney Todd – God that’s Good


A few years ago I set a goal for myself that I was going to learn to cook pies.. ahem bake pies. You see my problem here. I set a goal of 50 pie recipes for myself to bake that year and set to work. I was a frigging fool.

“Making pie is hard ,” she whines.

Seriously, I am physically incapable of doing anything small, makes me ill. Must go big or GTFO. So fifty. le sigh. I made 25 that year. I learned a lot, and can make killer apple/almond pie and a coconut pie that would make you want to “slap yo mama.” All courtesy of this fabulous cookbook Sweetie-licious Pies: Eat Pie, Love Life

However, there is something I have always been a little fascinated with. The weird pie. Well the weird food anything… Taking something that one would not associate with yummy pie deliciousness, and turning it into something delectable. So in my quest for the weird pie, I have made a pie out of vinegar, one out of avocados, and one out of buttermilk. Now it is time to experiment with meat. I am going to make a classic mincemeat pie. As in a dessert pie with meat and I am going to force-feed it to my family and friends. I am feeling so medieval at the moment.

Well, ladies and gentlemen
that aroma enriching the breeze,
is like something compared to its succulent source
as the gourmets among you will tell you, of course.
Ladies and gentlemen you can’t imagine the rapture in store,
just inside of this door!
There, you’ll sample Mrs.Lovett’s meat pies.savory and sweet pies,as you’ll see.
You who eat pies Mrs. Lovetts meat pies conjure up the treat pies used to be!

Sweeney Todd – God that’s Good

The recipe I found (after much digging) is one from the 1861 volume Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management and was a feature in Saveur magazine. The article can be found Here.

Gratuitous picture of Johnny Depp as Sweeney Todd. He was frigging brilliant.

For the Filling

2 cups finely chopped beef suet
34 cup currants
34 cup finely chopped rump steak (about 3 oz.)
12 cup raisins
12 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. brandy
1 12 tsp. chopped candied citron peel
1 12 tsp. chopped candied lemon peel
1 12 tsp. chopped candied orange peel
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
14 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 12 granny smith apples, cored and finely chopped
Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon

For the Crust


In a bowl, combine beef suet, currants, rump steak, raisins, brown sugar, brandy, citron peel, lemon peel, orange peel, lemon juice, nutmeg, apples, and lemon zest. Mix well.
Transfer mixture to a 1-qt. jar. Cover and refrigerate for 2 days to 2 weeks.
Make dough, prepare pie crust, and add filling. Heat oven to 350º. Bake until golden, about 1 hour.
I am of the impatient disposition, so the (incubation? infiltration? saturation?) period on this pie’s filling will probably be 3 days instead of the 2 weeks. yeesh. I will post lovely, artsy, and  beautifully photographed pictures of my pie-wreck when finished. I feel there will be much schadenfreude from my friends and family after this little experiment.

Saturday’s #BookCook – Harry Potter’s Treacle Tart

If you do not know who Harry Potter is, you might be living under a rock. He is a cultural phenomenon. Harry Potter books outstrip sales of every book in history, save for Lord of the Rings and The Little Prince. If you have read the stories, you may have noticed that JK Rowling uses food quite often as a prop in scenes. There are so many varieties to try: puking pasties, Bertie Bots Every Flavor Bean’s, Butterbeer. You could create whole banquets based on her fictional food and still have recipes leftover to try. However, one standout for me is the Treacle Tart.

“A moment later the desserts appeared. Blocks of ice cream in every flavour you can think of, apple pies, treacle tarts, chocolate eclairs and jam doughnuts, trifle, strawberries, jelly, rice pudding… As Harry helped himself to a treacle tart, the talk turned to their families.”

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling

Treacle Tart’s are Harry Potter’s favorite food. That in itself washes me in nostalgia. It brings up countless hours of scintillating fantasy curled up in a chair with a fluffy blanket. Or, pouring over the last pages of book 6 at 4 in the morning after I went to a midnight book release party. It brings up good memories. Here is a recipe I found that may bring up some memories for you. The original recipe can be found here.

Courtesy of The Guardian

Treacle Tart

Serves 10

200g plain flour
2tbsp icing sugar 
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of salt
140g butter, chilled and cubed 
1 egg yolk

600ml golden syrup
A pinch of ground ginger
150g fresh fine breadcrumbs 
Zest and juice of one lemon 
1 egg

Mixing bowl
23cm fluted tart tin (or similar) 
Cling film 
Rolling pin
Baking sheet/tray 
Baking paper and baking beans (or rice/uncooked beans) 
Wooden spoon
Pastry brush (optional) 
Cooling Rack

 Read more

1 To make the pastry, combine the flour, icing sugar, lemon zest and salt in a bowl. Rub in the cold butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 1-2tbsp of very cold water and combine with your hands in the bowl until the mixture comes together into a dough. Turn onto a lightly floured bench and bring into a ball. You shouldn’t work it too much, as the pastry won’t be crisp if you do.

2 Wrap the pastry in cling film and pop in the fridge for half an hour. Don’t be tempted to skip the chilling, as the pastry may shrink in the oven.Advertisement

3 Roll out the dough on a lightly floured bench. If the pastry is sticking – as it is wont to do in a warm kitchen – roll it between two pieces of greaseproof paper rather than straight onto the bench. Stop rolling when you have a 30cm circle that is around the thickness of a pound coin.

4 Drape your pastry over your rolling pin, or keep it on the sheet of greaseproof paper, and lay it across the fluted tart tin. Use a small ball of spare dough (rather than your fingers – your nails may cut the pastry) to push it into place, making sure it goes right into the edges. If there are any tears in the pastry, patch them up with extra dough. Lightly prick the base with a fork and return to the fridge to chill for a further 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 190C and insert the baking sheet in the middle of the oven to heat up.

5 Line the chilled pastry case with baking paper and fill with the baking beans or uncooked beans. Place in the oven on the baking sheet for fifteen minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans and bake for a further five minutes, until golden.

6 To prepare the filling, heat the golden syrup and ground ginger in a saucepan over a low heat until hot, but not boiling. Stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and juice and one beaten egg until just combined, and pour into the pastry case.

7 Return to the oven and bake the tart for 30-35 minutes until the filling is set and the pastry golden. Cool on a wire rack for fifteen minutes before removing from the tin and serving warm with crème fraîche, sour cream or ice-cream. Leftovers (should there be any) should be reheated a little in the oven before eating, or you risk losing a tooth!