Rye Popovers with Welsh Rarebit Sauce

Miss Peregrine’s school is located in Wales, and to my American sensibility the most iconic Welsh food is Welsh Rarebit (please comment and school me if there are more dishes I should know). As far as dishes go though, this is a good one, the sauce is simply amazing. One of my peculiar children declared “dis is yum!”

I made the lovely rarebit creamy cheese sauce flavored with dijon, worcestershire sauce and ale (I used pumpkin beer!) but rather than on rye toast, I made some light and airy rye popovers to evoke Emma (yes in the book it’s Olive) who is lighter than air. I wonder if she’s a good cook – she’s probably great at things like popovers, soufflees, meringues, puris, foams and lattes.

Just a note, in a rare twist I adapted nothing this time, both unaltered recipes came out really nice.

Rye Popovers with Welsh Rarebit Sauce

For the popovers
Recipe from Food.com

  • 3⁄4 cup rye flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Heat over to 450° and grease a muffin tin.

Whisk together flours and salt, then add milk, butter, and eggs. Mix well and divide between muffin cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350$deg; and bake for another 5 minutes. Cool on a rack. Serve with rarebit sauce, below.

For the rarebit sauce
Recipe from Alton Brown

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup beer (porter is best, I used a lighter pumpkin beer, also good)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3/4 cups shredded cheddar

On low heat in a saucepan, heat butter and flour, whisking continuously for several minutes (do not let flour brown). Whisk in in dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until well combined. Whisk in beer and cream, and add cheddar. Cook, whisking constantly, for 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted completely and mixture has slightly thickened. Remove from heat and serve warm with popovers.

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Midwestern-style Cornbread


We’re not in Oz anymore – we’re in Kansas! This is classic Midwestern-style cornbread, golden as the yellow brick road. It’s sweet (some people argue that this is cake but whatever, I like sweet cornbread), moist, easy-to-make, and has become my go-to cornbread – I’ve made it twice since the podcast to accompany soup and chili!

If you have a skillet, that would be ideal, but I just did in a 9 inch cake pan and melted my butter beforehand in the oven.

Midwestern-style Cornbread

Adapted from Skillet Cornbread in Midwest Living

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 375° Grease a 9 inch cake pan with the butter.

In a large bowl, whisk together cormeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another, whisk together egg, oil, sugar, and buttermilk. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and pour evenly into pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool slightly, serve warm.

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Yorkshire Puddings, Steak with Stilton and Caramelized Onions


While The Friends of English Magic don’t actually practice magic, and are only moderately well-read, they certainly do eat well! The Old Starre Inn in Yorkshire looked like it had some decent pub fare, so that’s what I set out to make.

Just a note, the Yorkshire puddings were very eggy – there was a comment on the original recipe that you could use less with success. These were made with batter rested half an hour per the recipe, but there are also a lot of tips to let this rest in the fridge overnight for better results. I may come back and try this with one less eggs, and a longer rested batter.

Yorkshire Pudding

From The New York Times

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon/5 grams kosher salt
  • About 1/4 cup rendered beef or pork fat, olive oil or melted butter (I used the little bit of rendered fat from the steaks, below, plus about a tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix eggs, milk, flour and salt and let rest 30 minutes.

In a muffin tin, add a spoonful of fat to the bottom of each cup, then transfer to the oven to heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove, and equally divide the batter between the cups. Bake for 10-12 minutes until puffed, golden and crispy. Serve immediately.

Steak with Stilton and Caramelized Onions

Adapted from Food.com

For the onions
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter on high heat. Cut an onion into medium sized rings. Cook until slightly charred, then lower heat to medium to caramelize the rest of the way. Remove from heat.

For the stilton sauce
Mix together 2 ounces stilton, 1/2 cup toasted and finely chopped walnuts, and 1 tablespoon butter

For the steaks
Since you have the goodies above, the steaks only need to be flavored with salt and pepper. I used super cheap thin cut sirloin, but you can use whatever you want and cook appropriately. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper and allow to come to room temp (just 15 min for my cut), then sear each side on a screaming hot pan (3 min each side). If you have a thicker cut you can move to the oven to cook through. Rest for 20 minutes or so, then serve with stilton sauce and onions.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 31: Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell

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Wookiee Cookies


I know “Wookiee Cookies” already existed, but I was unsatisfied. I wanted something snarlier. Something sweeter. Something furrier.

I used the same butterscotch from our Harry Potter episode, mixed with peanut butter to make these super easy, no-bake hairballs of cookies.

Wookiee Cookies

  • 3+ tablespoons butterscotch (such as Popsugar’s easy homemade recipe)
  • 3+ tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 large shredded wheat biscuits

In a large bowl, carefully break apart the shredded what biscuits so that they are completely broken up but there are still lots of long strands.

In a small bowl, mix together butterscotch and peanut butter. This amount should be enough to just barely hold the cookies together and keep them extra furry, you can increase the amount if you want them a little more stuck together and less delicate. Gently heat it 10 seconds at a time in the microwave until it is liquidy but not too hot to touch.

Mix the butterscotch-peanut-butter mixture with the shredded wheat. Form into clumps, and space on a wax-paper lined baking sheet to cool/harden to room temperature.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 29: Star Wars

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Pretzel Bread

Photo pending! I didn’t have a chance to snap one as I was whisking these out the door…

In Season 2 of Fargo, the Gerhardt’s kitchen is fascinating to me. It’s colored in icy, impersonal tones (I very much enjoy Tom and Lorenzo’s color theories) yet the racks of freshly baked bread are generally warm and inviting. The way they are used in the story is two-sided two, the offering of bread is at once maternal and threatening.

These loaves are drama-fraught, but pretty tasty, so if you’re feeling both violent and cozy this is a good recipe for you.

Pretzel Bread

Adapted from With Salt and Wit

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 packet yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Heat milk until comfortably warm to touch (not hot, will kill yeast). Stir in butter, sugar, and yeast and let it proof for 10 minutes or so.

In a large bowl, measure out 2 1/2 cups flour and add salt. Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and mix until it starts to form a dough. Add more flour little by little until it comes together in a ball, then pour out onto a floured counter and knead for about 10 minutes, adding a little flour as necessary if it gets too sticky to handle. Transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let rise for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, punch down the dough, knead slightly and form into two equal sized balls.

Preheat oven to 400° Bring water and baking soda to a boil. One at a time, boil each of the balls for two minutes each side, and remove to an oiled baking sheet.

Brush with egg and slice crossways on the top of each loaf. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° to continue baking for another 10-12 minutes until loaves are evenly browned. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 27: Fargo

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Gingerbread is not a fantastic episode of Buffy, but the combination of fairy tales, much Willowness, and a hilarious line by Cordelia about her mom confiscating all her black clothes and scented candles make it a really entertaining one, one close to my little Buffy-enthusiast heart.

Plus it’s fall, aka the best season, and I am looking for any excuse to bake delicious fall goodies.


Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Witchy Autumn Spice Mix (or a mixture of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or allow 1 cup milk with a 1 tablespoon lemon juice to sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 350° and prepare a 9×9 baking pan.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Pour in the melted butter, molasses, and honey (you can combine the molasses and honey in a measuring cup and heat for 20 seconds in the microwave to make it pour easily) and stir gently into the flour until moistened. Add ginger, beaten egg, buttermilk and water and stir gently until evenly combined.

Pour into baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes (start checking around 33) until cake is pulling away from the edge of the pan.

Cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 23: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Apple Carrot Currant Cake with Apple Brown Sugar Glaze


Poor Anne, she hates her red hair (aka her lifelong sorrow) and will smash a slate on your head if you call her “Carrots.” Marilla makes apple cakes, pies, and preserves, and is famous on the island for her currant wine (try not to mistake it for raspberry cordial and pound three glasses). Matthew is so nervous to buy a puffy-sleeved dress he buys 20 pounds of brown sugar while dancing around the subject. All these things make for a delicious cake!

This cake has just enough flour and egg to hold it together, and is dense with goodies inspired by the characters in Anne of Green Gables.

Carrot Apple Currant Cake with Apple Brown Sugar Glaze

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 apple juice (I used the nice cloudy unfiltered kind)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • spices: seeds of 2 cardamom pods, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup carrots (about 3 medium), grated
  • 1/2 cup Granny Smith apples (about 1 1/2 medium), grated
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Soak currants in apple juice for at least 10 minutes. Strain, reserving the juice.

In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. In another bowl, which together egg, butter, brown and white sugars. Stir flour mixture into egg/butter/sugar mixture until just combined, then fold in carrots, apple, currants, and walnuts.

Spread into a prepare loaf pan and bake at 350° for 55 minutes to an hour. Remove to a rack to cool in the pan.

For the glaze

  • approximately 3/4 cups apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

Using the apple juice reserved from the currants, add juice to make one cup. In a small saucepan, combine apple juice, butter, brown sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring often, until reduced to about 1/4 cup.

Poke holes in the warm cake and spoon the glaze all over the top. Allow cake to cool completely in the pan.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 22: Anne of Green Gables

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Double Tea Swirly Shortbread Cookies


Maddie Hatter is hands down my favorite EAH character. She’s sweet, she’s smart, she’s quirky in a way that’s adorable (not obnoxious), she has a very cool steampunk look going on, and she has the best hair! Her aqua and violet curls were the inspiration for these cookies, and what makes them even more perfect for Maddie is that each of the tinted shortbreads is made from a tea-infused butter – plus they are completely appropriate for teatime! Which for Maddie is pretty much anytime.


If the dormouse scurries and the jubjub bird flutters,
Then what could be curiouser than colorful butters?

Double Tea Swirly Shortbread Cookies

I made the same basic shortbread twice, one for each infused butter
Adapted from kitchen witch Martha Stewart’s Basic Shortbread

  • 2 tablespoons green tea with matcha (I used Republic of Tea brand)
  • 2 tablespoons hibiscus tea (I used Tazo brand, Passion flavor)
  • Blue food coloring (optional)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter x 2
  • 2 cups flour x 2
  • 3/4 teaspoons coarse salt x 2
  • 1/2 cup sugar x 2

In two separate sauce pans, melt two sticks of butter each. When they are completely melted, remove from heat and stir green/matcha tea into one and hibiscus tea into the other. Steep for several minutes, then pour each into separate bowls through a fine mesh strainer. Allow to cool to room temperature, then mix each thoroughly until the color is uniform. You can use them as is, or put several drops of blue food coloring in each to make the bright green matcha tea butter more aqua and the pink hibiscus butter more purple, like Maddie’s hair.

Transfer the green tea butter to a mixing bowl, whip for 4 minutes or so until fluffy. Add 1/2 cup sugar and cream together well. Combine 2 cups flour and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and combine with the butter/sugar mixture (start by stirring it in, then when it starts to form a dough you can mash it together a little, but don’t handle it too too much). Repeat process with the hibiscus butter.

Onto parchment paper, roll each dough out into an oblong rectanglish shape about 1/4 inch thick. Stack the green tea dough on top of the hibiscus dough, trimming away any wildly uneven parts. Slice down the center longways, and roll each half up lengthwise into a log. Wrap each log in parchment paper (you can use the same paper you rolled the two doughs out onto) and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 275°F and prepare two baking pans. Remove logs from the fridge and slice each into 1/4 inch circles. Arrange an inch apart on the baking pan (you’ll have to do a couple batches, or at least a batch and a half). Bake for 30-35 minutes, cool for 2 minutes on the pan, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 20: Ever After High

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Queen of Hearts Tarts


The Queen of Heart’s stolen tarts cause a lot of drama in Alice in Wonderland, including a wacky trial and much threat of beheading. You can enjoy these with a very calm and reasonable afternoon tea – as long as you remember to paint them red!!

I made a strawberry curd similar to the lemon curd that I used for Sansa’s Lemoncakes, and topped that with a slice of strawberry and some bright red strawberry glaze. On the podcast I mentioned that if I had it to do again, I would probably either just put the glaze in a thin layer, or else forgo the glaze and pile them up a little more with strawberries brushed with a simple syrup – either I think would be good. However, after a day or two of leftovers, my heart softened to this style (I put less cornstarch than most recipes, so it’s not so gelatinous), so a couple of slices with glaze is also an option.

The strawberry curd and strawberry glaze recipes below make WAY more than you will need for these mini tarts, so you also have some options there – either make a large tart instead of mini tarts, halve the recipes, or else just enjoy the leftovers. Recommendation for extra strawberry curd: spread on top of muffins, toast or bagels. Recommendation for extra strawberry glaze: stirred into plain yogurt or poured on top of pancakes (along with some fresh strawberries of course). I’m sure you can think of more!

Queen of Hearts Tarts

For the dough
Adapted from Sandra Gutierrez’s Butter Pie Crust

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 1/2 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

Butter a mini muffin tin (or mini tart pan if you possess such a thing).

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, sugar, orange zest, and butter, until the mixture looks grainy. Add in just enough water that when combined it makes a dough. Turn out onto a floured board or counter, and roll about 1/8 of an inch thick. Cut circles (I used the top of a mason jar) and press them into the prepared muffin tin, making as nice an edge as you can manage. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge at least 30 minutes.

For the strawberry curd
Adapted from Ina Garten

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 4 eggs
  • juice of 1 lemon and half an orange
  • 1/4 cup pureed strawberries
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Cream the butter, then beat in the sugar and lemon zest. Add the eggs one by one. In a blender, combine lemon and orange juices, strawberries, and salt and blend thoroughly. Press through a fine mesh strainer then combine with butter/sugar mixture.

Pour into a saucepan and cook VERY SLOWLY over low heat, stirring, until thickened (10 minutes or so, mine took longer – it will thicken just below boiling point). Remove from heat and cool completely.

For the strawberry glaze

  • 1 heaping cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

(Full disclosure, I sliced the strawberries and let them sit in sugar for 10 minutes beforehand to release the juices – it’s all going the same place though so this might have been unnecessary). Blend strawberries, sugar, and 3/4 cup water and push through a fine mesh strainer into a sauce pan. Cook on medium low heat, stirring, until thicken, then remove from heat.

To finish
Prick the pie crusts and bake in a 350° oven until golden brown. (You’ll just bake the crusts, not the filling). Remove from the oven and spoon half to 3/4 full of lemon curd, then top with your choice of just glaze, or strawberries (slices or halves) brushed with glaze. Cool completely. You can store them in the fridge.

Serve with barely sweetened yogurt or whipped cream.

Listen to the episode! Fiction Kitchen Episode 13: Alice in Wonderland

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