There is no scene in movie history more replete with Halloween theming and atmosphere than the Great Hall Halloween celebration from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” Illuminated jack-o-lanterns hover in the Enchanted Ceiling. But most importantly the tables are heaping with magical treats and that’s not just hyperbole, because as a big Harry Potter nerd I know for a fact the food is magically transported from the kitchens to the tables.
There are a plethora of Harry Potter dessert recipes floating around the internet. I wanted to try not one, but three at the same time, because part of what makes that Halloween scene so appealing to me is the bounty of British food. Which seems exotic to me not just because it’s from the Harry Potter universe, but because British flavors are so different than American tastes. I opted for Treacle Tart, Fruit Trifle, and Pumpkin Pasties (see, even the names sound all charming and British).
Obviously, I can’t walk you through the process of how each recipe went for me exactly, because I’m sure you have better things to do with the next three hours of your life, but here are the highlights from each recipe.
- Ok, I admit it, I used store bought pie crust . . . yep, totally pressed the easy button . . .
- These are essentially delightful little pumpkin turnovers. They look impressive, they have a distinct holiday flavor because of the pumpkin, and they are really easy to make in mini size. This means they are a great Halloween party food.
- I chose this dessert because I’ve never stopped been able to stop thinking about it after the scene in Chamber of Secrets where Dobby drops it on a dinner guest’s head. Even when it was splattered all over someone’s head and shoulders it still managed to look appetizing.
- This is another no fail scenario. It’s basically repeated layers of cake, pudding, fruit, and whipped cream. It’s like dessert lasagna (side bar: the only American media reference to Trifle that I can immediately recall is an episode of “Friends” where Rachel puts ground beef and pees amongst the layers of pudding and lady fingers.)
- This recipe calls for two kinds of treacle. One is called Golden Syrup which was easy for me to find, because I just so happen to be smack in the middle of a very popular British tourist area. So all of our local grocery stores stock loads of British tea, candy, and baking ingredients. But the other kind of Treacle is called Black Treacle and my good friend Google told me that Black Treacle has an alias in America. Black Molasses.
- This recipe is really fun, because there isn’t really an American equivalent so at your Halloween party it makes a great conversation starter. The best way I can explain it if you have never had it is that it is sort of like Pecan Pie without the Pecans.
- One great bonus about making Treacle Tart and Pumpkin Pasties at the same time, is that you can make one big batch of pie crust and use it for both recipes.
The best thing about this dessert trifecta isn’t just it’s relation to the Harry Potter universe and it isn’t the fact that this menu will impress party guests. It’s the interesting textures. Spongy cake in the trifle, fluffy pumpkin pasty filling, and the combination of almost chewy treacle with crisp pie crust. Of course the obvious beverage choice here would be Butter Beer, but I just so happened to have some left over flaming Pumpkin Juice from the night before that I was able to reheat in the crock pot. I’ll admit making three desserts at once took a few hours. And I definitely met my nerd quotient for the day by spending so many hours in service to my love of the Wizarding World (if you ever see me walking down the street waving a stick in the air, trying to cast spells on passersby, you have my permission to call the police), but it was worth it.
Happy Halloween, mischief managed!
- 1 single pie crust (store bought is fine, preferably one free of partially hydrogenated oils)
- 1-1/4 cups golden syrup (Corn Syrup is a fine substitute)
- 1 heaped tbsp black molasses (or treacle, hence the name of this recipe)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon (approximately 2 Tablespoons; zest lemon first, then juice)
- 4 medium eggs
- 4 ounces fresh bread crumbs (measure by weight here as not all breadcrumbs are equal when measuring by dry cup)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees
- Roll out the pastry crust, line a removable-bottomed tart pan and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
- Mix together the golden syrup and molasses (or treacle if you happen to have some on hand) with the lemon juice and zest
- Beat the eggs in a bowl and add to the syrup/molasses mixture; add breadcrumbs and blend
- Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tart pan
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the crust and filling are golden brown and firm to the touch
- Serve warm with a dollop of bourbon whipped cream