I may have been sitting in a movie theater waiting for Star Trek Beyond to start, but secretly I was counting down the hours until the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the long-awaited (and according to J.K. Rowling) final Potter story. Like millions of other Potter devotees, I want to know what happens after Harry, Hermione, and Ron wave goodbye to their progeny on Platform 9 3/4 as the Hogwarts Express whisks them off to the magical school.
Since I highly doubt I’ll be jetting off to London anytime soon to catch the London production, I’ll just have to settle for reading the play, which was magically delivered to my Kindle before midnight. It’s an epic tale, and not unlike the Deathly Hallows, the story has been split into two parts–lucky theatre goers signing on for a double-header. Now some diehard fans can probably plow through the entire thing in one sitting. I, on the other hand, need sustenance…and I don’t mean snack food. So, with this in mind, I came up with a Potteresque menu to carry me through the marathon reading.
To start things off, I thought it would be appropriate to honor the grown up Harry Potter with an adult version of his favorite childhood beverage, butter beer. Harry’s Grown-Up Butter Beer is a sweet, creamy concoction made with homemade cream soda, dark rum, and Tuaca liqueur, topped off with homemade butterscotch whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.
On a recent trip to London, my friend Karen took her kids to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter exhibit, where they tried the “official” version of butter beer–a drink so painfully sweet that they were inspired to come up with their own less sweet version when they got home. In my adult version, I decided to up the game by making a vanilla bean-infused caramel syrup as the base for my cream soda, which along with the Tuaca and dark rum amplifies the butterscotch notes. I used the soda siphon to blend these flavors together. For the butterscotch whipped cream, I whisked about 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 tsp. vanilla extract into 1/2 cup warm heavy cream until the sugar dissolved, then chilled it completely before adding it 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream. The mixture was place into a whipped cream canister injected with NO². The drizzle of salted caramel sauce over the butterscotch cream takes it over the top.
Harry’s Grown Up Butter Beer
- 2 oz. Vanilla Caramel Syrup*
- 1 oz. Dark Rum
- 1 oz. Tuaca
- 4 oz. Cold Soda Water
- 2 oz. Butterscotch Whipped Cream (or a big dollop)
- Salted Caramel Sauce
*To make the vanilla caramel syrup, combine 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup water and cook to a medium amber. Carefully pour in 1 1/2 cups water and add 2 vanilla pods, split and scraped. Boil the mixture on medium heat for about 4-5 mins. or until the caramel is completely liquified. Remove from the heat and pour into a mason jar or other heat proof container.
In the play, Harry and the gang are all working parents (save Draco Malfoy perhaps), so I imagine, even with the aid of magic, whipping up an easy family meal can still be a challenge. My Bang Up Bangers & Mash Pie, a mash up of two classic British comfort foods, and Plum-Cherry Crisp are thoroughly satisfying do-ahead dishes you can pop in the oven and savor at your leisure.
Bang Up Bangers & Mash Pie
- 2 large russet potatoes, peeled, cut into large chunks
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 2/3 cup half & half, warmed
- 1 package British bangers (about 6 links), cut into thick slices
- 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 5-6 large button mushrooms, 1/2’d and sliced
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 Tbsp. butter or rendered bacon fat
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 cup Guinness or dark beer
- 2 cups beef stock/broth
- 1 Tsbp. chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 Tbsp. grated white cheddar or parmesan cheese
Place a film of plastic wrap over the bowl of mashed potatoes to keep them warm while you prepare the filling.
Once assembled, you can either bake it off at 350°F for 25 mins. (or until the top is golden and gravy is bubbling) or cover it with foil, put it in the refrigerator, and bake it the next day for 40-45 mins.
- 3 medium plums, pitted and sliced
- 1 cup pitted dark cherries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch of sea or Kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 4 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- pinch of sea or Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cardamom
Toss together the first 6 ingredients and transfer into a greased oven-proof dish. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, oats, and spices in a separate bowl, then drizzle in the melted butter. Mix together with your hands to form the crumble topping, then distribute it evenly over the fruit. Bake the crisp at 350°F for about 35-40 mins. or until the top is golden brown and the juices are thickened. Serve warm with whipped cream.