So, when it came time to create my latest entry for Project Food Blog, is it any wonder that I would turn to Harry for inspiration? Not at all. The task was to bake a sweet or savory dish out of the seasonal ingredient: PUMPKIN!!!
While I must say that this seasonal squash has pretty much saturated all cooking channels during this time of year and though it really made me want to whisk off to the la-la land of muggles and goblins, the other part of me knew that I had to tackle this challenge head on. So off I flew in search of pumpkins at a nearby patch...sooo lovely! I couldn't help but snap pictures left and right.
And I eventually settled on these cute little darling sugar pumpkins. Again, mom also bought over more kabocha pumpkins to enhance my pumpkin recipe.
When Harry Met Spicy
When a little birdie told me that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter had opened this past summer at Universal Orlando in Florida, I nearly choked on my snickerdoodle. I don't care how old I am when I finally visit, but I can only imagine the cheesy grin plastered on my face as I frolick through Hogsmeade chugging down butter beer, gobbling chocolate frogs, and riding on a broomstick (okay, the broomstick might be a stretch, but you know—a muggle can only dream).
And dream I did! For this challenge, the Harry Potter-loving muggle in me threw a little shindig that I felt would happen when/if Harry met Spicy! Yes, if he only met me---oooh, the possibilities are endless! While I really wished I could have honored him with booger- and barf-flavored jelly beans, I realized that I also had a stronger urge to show him what eating with Spicy was really all about, so I threw in my own twist on what I thought Harry would enjoy, while still retaining many important aspects of the wizarding world.
Honeydukes Sweet & Savory Shop – featuring homemade Pumpkin Pot Pie!
Any trip to Hogsmeade would not be complete without a stop at the local sweet spot. As a tribute to Harry’s favorite sweets shop, I nicknamed my smorgasboard of delights Honeydukes, but with a savory twist as an added bonus. I envisioned a festive display of some of his traditional desserts, such as the Cauldron Cakes and then added my own spin on pot pies made with a rich blend of sugar and kabocha pumpkins and Thanksgiving turkey! When most people think of pumpkin, sweet pies and sugary desserts immediately come to mind. But I wanted something hearty and filling for my little wizard, so I imagined that if (or when) Harry met Spicy, he’d conjure up some of my pumpkin pot pies in place of his beloved pumpkin pasties any day!
Other equally pleasing homemade treats in Honeydukes Shop that afternoon were some tasty Gryffindor Grapefruit Bars & Slytherin Snickerdoodles. They were so much fun to bake (from scratch). To layer on another touch of whimsy, I also snagged some Chocolate Gold Coins from Gringotts Wizarding Bank. I know the holidays are around the corner, so I'll be posting my recipes soon because I kid you (NOT!) when I say that every single morsel and sliver of sweetness was licked clean or taken home as parting gifts.
• ½ small kabocha or sugar pumpkin, cubed (1 to 2 pounds each)
• Salt and ground black pepper
• 2 tbs olive oil
• 6 tbs butter
• ½ cup cream
• 8 tbs all-purpose flour
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 3 carrots, peeled & diced
• 12 pearl onions or ½ cup chopped yellow onions
• 1 cup cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces
• 1 parsnip, peeled & diced
• 1 celery stalk, diced
• 3 sprigs fresh lemon thyme
• 2 sprigs fresh sage
• refrigerated pie crust (recipe here)
• egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk for egg wash
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice tops off pumpkins. Remove seeds and pulp. Peel and chop pumpkin into bite-sized cubes. Place pumpkins and onions on a baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil and roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly until well blended, about 1 minute. Add broth and cream and stir constantly until mixture is thick and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable & turkey and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add in the roasted pearl onions, pumpkin and fresh herbs. Remove from heat and divide mixture evenly among your pie pans (approximately 1-1/2 cups per pot pie) or in my case, among my mini french onion soup crock pots turned pie pans.
3. Unwrap pie dough and place on lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough and cut into round disk shapes slightly larger than the tops of your pie pans. As an added garnish, use cookie cutters to cut out festive dough shapes to attach it to the tops of your pie.
4. Brush the tops of each pie with the egg wash, making sure to also brush all decorations. In a 375°F oven, bake pot pies for 30 minutes, or until pie dough is golden and filling is hot and bubbly.