I am delighted to present the first two recipes for the Harry Potter Cookbook Challenge: Paddington Burgers and Homemade Fudge. Both of these recipes can be found in the The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinah Bucholz. While I will be sharing the recipes for each dish here, I strongly encourage you to go out and buy your own copy of this book. It is packed full of delicious recipes, helpful tips, and interesting tidbits about the Harry Potter series. For more information about the book, please visit The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook website. You can also find information on the book’s Facebook page. And last but not least, a grand thank you to Dinah herself for supporting this venture.
The first week’s recipes were made at my dad and step-mom’s house. I felt it only appropriate to begin this adventure with people I love in a place I enjoy. They’ve been good to support me over the years (and tease me about my Harry Potter obsession), so I felt it only appropriate to thank them by making dinner, which I do on occasion anyways.
Note: I will be going backwards by starting with the dessert recipe, seeing as how that’s what I made first. Also,
What the book says: “Great fudge should have a slightly grainy but also smooth and creamy texture. It may take some practice to get it right. Although we Americans associate fudge with the chocolate variety, in England it often means non-chocolate fudge, also called opera fudge. And it tastes absolutely amazing!”
This recipe was inspired by Chapter 12 in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone to the Brits). I felt it only appropriate to start with the first book for my first recipe. In this scene, Harry and Ron are unwrapping Christmas presents. Never being a child exposed to receiving gifts, Harry is overwhelmed by the generosity of Hagrid, the Weasley’s, Hermione and even the Dursley’s, as well a mysterious figure to later be discovered as Albus Dumbledore. One of the presents he receives is “a large box of home-made fudge” from Mrs. Weasley. The fudge is said to be tasty in the book, so naturally it needed to be made a reality.
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup or light or dark corn syrup (I used light corn syrup)
1/4 stick (2 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Grease an 8-inch square pan. Line it with parchment paper, allowing the paper to come up two of the sides. This will make it easy to remove the fudge and slice it.
2. Combine the sugar, milk, golden syrup or corn syrup, butter, heavy cream, salt, and cream of tartar in a large saucepan. (As you cook, the mixture will expand like crazy, so be sure the pot is large enough; it should be at least 4 quarts.) Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is melted and the ingredients are combined. Wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in hot water to get rid of sugar crystals. A few crystals on the sides can cause the fudge to recrystallize.
3. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the mixture reaches 220°F. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 238°F. This whole process may take more than 30 minutes, so be patient. Don’t worry if the mixture looked curdled; it will smooth out as it thickens during the beating process.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and wait until the mixture cools to 115°F. Remove the thermometer, add the vanilla, and beat or stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture loses its gloss and is very thick, about 10 minutes. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. You can use a piece of plastic wrap and the palm of your hand to do this.
5. Cool completely before cutting into 1-inch squares.
Note: If the mixture gets too hot, the fudge will seize up into a hard, grainy clump when you try to stir it. If it doesn’t get hot enough, the fudge will not thicken and will remain a gloopy mess. You can then try to save it by putting it back in the pot with some water (don’t worry; the water will evaporate) and reheating it to the correct temperature.
Makes 64 pieces
Apart from it being absolutely AMAZING (can’t stress that), I will shoot the honesty bullet by saying that the fudge ended up taking me roughly two hours to make from start to finish, along with letting it cook before cutting it. I let the bit in the book that said “It may take some practice to get right” get to me, but it also made me determined to get it right the first time. And guess what? I got it right! I was so happy to bite into a little piece and savor the taste of what I can only compare to the cake frosting that you want to keep eating by the spoonful but know it needs to be saved for the actual cake. Good news: there is no actual cake, just fudge!
Seeing as how I will like (almost) everything in the cookbook, I’m not going to put these recipes on a grading scale. However, I will list my favorite recipes at the end of this journey, and I will be bold enough to say now that this may very well make or even top the dessert category. It takes a long time to make (in my opinion), but the reward of this sweet and savory morsel is well worth it in the end.
What the book says: Historians may not agree on who invented the hamburger, but one thing’s for sure: It’s named for the city of Hamburg in Germany. So it really has nothing to do with ham. As all the carnivores among us know, these patties typically are made from ground beef.
Keeping to the first book, burgers are briefly mentioned in Chapter 5 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (again, Philosopher’s Stone to the Brits). Harry has just been through Diagon Alley with Hagrid. He had met witches, wizards, goblins, and even the man hosting Lord Voldemort on the back of his head (scandal!). Hagrid takes him for a bite to eat before sending him off to school, and they eat, you guessed it, burgers. Although it doesn’t define what kind of burger they ate, I think you’ll find this recipe to be a suitable option. Being a traveler to England myself, I know very well that the English have superb meal options, and these burgers are no exception to that. This unique recipe can be enjoyed by all – except the vegetarians, of course (sorry).
1 1/2 pounds extra-lean ground beef
2 large eggs
1 onion, chopped and sautéed until well-browned
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sautéed sliced onions, for serving
English mustard, for serving
Lettuce, for serving
Tomato slices, for serving
1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
2. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat the skillet. Form the mixture into patties and cook on both sides over medium-high heat until well-browned. Transfer to paper-towel-lined plate and repeat until the beef mixture is used up. Or cook on a grill until well done. (I used a grill.)
I’m grilling, baby!
My dad, who I still believe won’t read or watch Harry Potter simply because we both know he’ll love it and will have to stop making fun of me for my own obsession.
Can I has cheezburger? (I couldn’t help but include the cats.)
And just like that, they are made! It’s like magic!
4. Serve in toasted hamburger buns with sautéed sliced onions, English mustard, lettuce, and tomato.
Christianna enjoys a Paddington Burger
Note: Christianna is my family’s host student from Germany who is staying for three weeks. Coincidence to the note above about Hamburg, the town she is from is near Hamburg. Fancy that!
While the burgers were a bit sloppy on the grill to start, they cooked up nicely and were a delight to enjoy. The flavor is beyond that of a traditional burger, and I would have considered a second had it not been for the fudge and my better judgment. We skipped on adding onions to the burgers at the end due to the fact that the mix had an entire onion in it, but everything else was included. I even put a tomato on my burger, which I never do. (I only tend to eat them plain or on a salad.) I didn’t think about a side dish at the time, so my step-mother added brown beans to the mix. Classic!
I hope you enjoyed my first post for the Harry Potter Cookbook Challenge. While I post regularly to my blog, I will be back with another Harry Potter recipe or two next week. I won’t give anything away (at least not yet), so you’ll have to wait and see on what delicious dish I pulled from Dinah Bucholz’s book next!
Harry Potter quote of the week: “Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Chapter 15
Have you been through the grueling process of making homemade fudge? If so, was it worth it in the end?
What is you favorite Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone quote (book or movie)?