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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Butterbeer and Treacle Tart

Exciting news!  I am celebrating my one-year blog-oversary this week.  It is also Halloween weekend.  AND, most importantly, it is also the start of a very exciting month in my life.  In a few short weeks, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One will be in movie theaters.  And, Ron and I will be venturing down to Orlando and spending time in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I'm not gonna lie.  I am flippin' ECSTATIC.  What better a way to celebrate a one-year blog-oversary with goodies from Jo Rowling's beautiful world.
Like millions of others, I am a Harry Potter fan.  Some of my family members call me "obsessed" but considering I have never actually attended a Harry Potter convention, I feel that this takes me out of the "obsessive" category.  Sure, I have a wand and I often cast spells with it.  Who doesn't?  I have a small miniature Hedwig that sits in my office next to my small little Buckbeak.  And yes, I have attended Wizard parties.  I sport my Gryffindor scarf with pride.  And, I have attended midnight-release parties to obtain a newly-released HP book.  And, of course I have blown through the books as fast as possible (book 7 was in my hands at 12:15 a.m. and was read through the night and finished at 11:12 a.m. the next day - SPOILER ALERT - with one moment to pause and ball my eyes out around page 60 after Hedwig died - not to mention the many more moments I had to cry when, well... countless others died in the bloodbath that is the end of this epic series).  And, yes, I reread the entire series, from book one to book seven, once a year (it is the absolute best time of the year!) and am constantly amazed by the detail and the brilliance that is Jo Rowling and her imagination.

And, sure, I lined up outside of the bookstore recently to purchase the film wizardry book (even though there was no line) before anyone else did.  And, I've definitely read The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Quidditch Through the Ages about as many times as I've read the entire series.  And, I do check my favorite HP fan sights on a daily basis and squeal with delight when I find another fan so immersed in this world.  And, I literally watch a HP movie at least two or three times a month.  And, I have consistently booked my HP movie tickets weeks in advance to secure a 12:01 a.m. showing (November 19 cannot come soon enough!).  And yes, I did sink into deep despair when I was not at the opening of the Wizarding Park this past June (don't worry; I was relieved once I saw the lines).  And yes, I have had a countdown going until the day Ron and I arrive at the Wizarding Park (24 days left!!!).

But, I am not obsessed.  And until now, I have never tried my hand at making my own Harry Potter treats.  I don't know why this is.  But in spirit of my upcoming one year blog-oversary, I've decided to do something special and celebrate the magic that Harry Potter as brought to my life.  It saddens me when people say they don't like Harry Potter, but I have gotten past the jokes when someone questions my sanity over Harry.  The thing is, everyone has their own thing that makes them happy.  Mine is Harry Potter.  Yes, I do sink into a small bout of sadness when anything HP ends, but how could you not?  Harry Potter has been a part of my life for a very, very, very long time.  The books have given me something to look forward to and a place to travel when I want to enter another world.  They have inspired me to enjoy reading and to use my imagination and creativity.  And the movies?  Well, they just give me a few short hours to dive into a magical and whimsical universe that takes my mind away from the struggles of reality.  Everyone needs something.  And my thing is Harry Potter.

Oh yeah, about the recipes.  Even if you don't like Harry Potter, this treacle tart was interesting enough to be quite tasty.  It's very sweet and similar to a pecan pie, but the consistency is much different.  Treacle tart is, in fact, Harry Potter's favorite dessert and he is often quoted as eating it in the books.  In Half-Blood Prince, the treacle tart is what he smells around the "most powerful love potion in the world."  I was actually very surprised at how prominent the lemon taste was in this recipe.  I also cheated and used a pre-made pie shell.  And the Butterbeer?  Butterbeer is the popular drink choice among young wizards.  It tastes very similar to a butterscotch and has a sweet and salty combination (but it has enough alcohol in it to get house elves drunk).  This glass was so sweet that it could probably give an elephant a sugar high.  It is definitely for sipping only.  I was pretty bummed that my glasses didn't have the authentic butterbeer color (I didn't add enough of the brown sugar mixture) but it was fun to make.  And, we'll be able to try the authentic Jo Rowling butterbeer recipe in a few weeks, so for now, this will do. :)
Butterbeer and a few other sources such as Mugglenet.Com and The Leaky Cauldron
Yield:  4 servings
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 tsp rum extract
  • Four 12-ounces bottles cream soda
  1. In a small saucepan over medium, combine the brown sugar and water.  Bring to a gentle boil and cook, stirring often, until the mixture reads 240F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Stir in the butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 cup heavy cream.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in rum extract.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tbsp of brown sugar and remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  Use an electric mixer to beat until just thickened, but not completely whipped, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. To serve, divide the brown sugar mixture between 4 tall glasses (about 1/4 cup for each glass).  Add 1/4 cup of cream soda to each glass, then stir to combine.  Fill each glass nearly to the top with additional cream soda, then spoon the whipped topping over each.
Treacle Tart
Yield:  1 tart, about 8 servings
  • 1 unbaked pie shell for single crust, 8-inch pie
  • 1 cup Lyle's golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups dry bread crumbs
  • Lemon rind of 1 lemon, finely grated
  • Juice of half a lemon (about 1 T)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In heavy saucepan, lightly warm the syrup to make it easier to incorporate the other ingredients.  Keep a close watch on this as it can be easy to overheat.  Add crumbs, lemon rind and juice.  Mix well.
  3. Pour filling into unbaked crust.  Smooth the filling and decorate top with extra pieces of crust (in the shape of Harry's scar!), or a lattice top.  Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until crust begins to brown.
  4. Cool before cutting.


  1. Ashley, this is absolutely A-MAZING!!! GREAT pictures! I love it! I've always thought about making butterbeer. Awesome! I'm envious about your trip to the Wizarding Park!!! I keep talking Win into it. FYI, there's a good chance that I'll hold you hostage after you return to get the full story! :)

  2. Thanks, Cole! I wish you could've been here to partake in Harry Potter adventures. Is it November 19th yet?

  3. Congrats on your 1-year blog-o-versary! It's amazing that you've been able to do all this cooking/baking, etc. and still have time for law school. Thanks for the good recipes and good read!

  4. Thank you so much for the congrats! I'm so glad that I decided to start blogging about it. And, I am so glad that I have readers who enjoy my antics and the recipes I post. I'll be sure to put in another good year and many more! Thank you for reading :)