A vegan and gluten free tart with apples, pears, and cranberries inspired by A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
Happy holidays, all! I hope that no matter where you are or what you’re celebrating this season – Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Saturnalia – that you are joyous, healthy, and surrounded by loved ones.
If you’re like me, balancing the holidays with work and family and travel can be a little stressful, but it doesn’t have to turn you into a Scrooge. Relax, unwind, and bake away the stress with this easy tart, fit for the whole family. And I mean, everyone.
A creamy mushroom and root vegetable savory pie inspired by The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
I wasn’t a very strong reader as a kid and it was hard for me to find books that I found engaging. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit bridged the gap between the casual reading of popular literature, and a lifetime literary obsession. I discovered a whole genre, a lineage, of fantasy and a way of thinking I had thought particular to me. Disappearing inside this world, which was somehow the joint creation of a man thirty years gone and of my own imagination, was magical.
Pumpkin spice hand pies inspired by the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling.
It’s almost Halloween; goblins, ghouls, and ghosts are abroad in the muggle world. If you’re like me then you’ve done your apple picking, your pumpkin hunting, and your woodland hiking. But at the end of a long day of jumping in leaf piles, you need something a little sweet to go with that cup of hot apple cider. I wanted to get this recipe out before that particular flavor of witchy October magic passes, while there’s still time to curl up with a pumpkin beer before we start mulling cider and delving into winter holiday territory. So here it is! This one goes out to anyone who spent their preteens waiting for their Hogwarts letter.
Maple and oat chess pie with dark chocolate seams, inspired by Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
At this point Frankenstein has become so ingrained in our popular consciousness I think it’s difficult to read the novel without any kind of preconceived ideas. The green, flat-headed monster with bolts protruding from his neck has become such an iconic part of the horror canon (especially in cinema) that it’s sometimes difficult to reconcile pop-culture with the literary reality.
Chocolate ganache infused with lavender and earl grey in a lemon sweet pastry crust, inspired by Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Can you believe that after earning a bachelors degree in English I still hadn’t read Pride and Prejudice? Somehow we just never crossed paths in the classroom. It seems criminal not only to have never read Pride and Prejudice, but to have never read any Jane Austen at all! Especially considering how much I enjoy romantic tension built on people not touching. (Give me pithy banter and absurd social decorum, I love me a period piece.) I was appropriately ashamed of the hole in my education, and rectified the oversight with a tart.
Rose and white chocolate custard studded with fresh raspberries in a Nilla wafer and gingersnap combination crust, inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland specifically for this project. For me, it belonged to that list of books that every college professor and classmate assumes you’ve read and so you must smile and nod when they talk about them, lest you look like an illiterate buffoon in front of your academic peers. (Other books on this list include, Paradise Lost, The Canterbury Tales, and most of Jane Austen’s work.) Now, having read it, I can see why it has such a fanatic following: it has a staggering amount of depth for such a slim volume.