It’s time again for my monthly Fandom Foodies post. This month’s theme is #AslansFeast, which means the Foodies are cooking up dishes inspired by The Chronicles of Narnia! The host is month is the amazing Alison of Alison’s Wonderland Recipes, who has created many recipes I adore. Check out the link-up post here to see the Narnia recipes contributed so far!
I read the entire Chronicles of Narnia series during a summer when I was 12 or 13. Though I’d moved to America by then, I was staying with my German family at the time. My Oma presented me with a stack of Narnia books that were, curiously, in English. She explained that my uncle had used them to study when he was younger. I spent dozens of nights afterward powering through the books.
Without a doubt, my favorite in the series was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I’m not sure it’d be my favorite now, but as a kid there was no competition. Every new location had me filled with anticipation, and there was a sense of discovery none of the other books had.
Over the course of Dawn Treader, our protagonists embark on a journey to the end of the world. They explore a variety of islands on the way, and the very last island is called Ramandu’s Island. Here they find Aslan’s Table, which is loaded with incredible food. The description of the feast is George R.R. Martin levels of ridiculous, which I mean as a compliment.
There were turkeys and geese and peacocks, there were boars’ heads and sides of venison, there were pies shaped like ships under full sale or like dragons and elephants, there were ice puddings and bright lobsters and gleaming salmon, there were nuts and grapes, pineapples and peaches, pomegranates and melons and tomatoes. There were flagons of gold and silver and curiously-wrought glass; and the smell of the fruit and the wine blew toward them like a promise of all happiness.
–The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis
Reading this again as an adult, the first thing I noticed was “ice puddings.” What the heck is ice pudding, anyway? Turns out it’s a molded frozen custard, sort of like Victorian no-churn ice cream. I ended up in kind of a Victorian dessert research spiral. If you’re a food nerd like me, you’ll probably enjoy reading up on ice pudding too.
I used a miniature bundt mold for these, which I’ll link at the end of the entry. I also made extra-tiny puddings with a different mold to set on top of the larger ones. This is optional; the single-tiered puddings were equally adorable!
APRICOT ICE PUDDING
Yields: ~8 puddings, depending on mold
500ml (2 cups) heavy cream
250ml (1 cup) whole milk
6 egg yolks
15g (2 tbsp) corn starch
125g (2/3) cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
300g (about 2 1/2) fresh or semi-dried apricots, diced finely
25g (2 tbsp) sugar
Berries (of your choice), jam (of your choice), and whipped cream or meringue for garnish
1. In a bowl, toss the apricots with the 2 tbsp sugar. Allow to sit for 15 minutes to draw out juices, then squeeze the excess juice off (you can discard it or keep it. It’s yummy mixed into iced tea!) and pat them dry with a paper towel.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and corn starch with half the 2/3 cup measure of sugar. Combine the cream, remaining sugar, salt and vanilla bean in a saucepan and heat on low until steaming, but not bubbling. Now add the heated cream to the egg yolks a couple tablespoons at a time, whisking as you go to avoid the egg cooking. Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue to cook on low until thickened. Pour it through a sieve into a container with a lid. Refrigerate until completely cooled.
3. Once cooled, fold in the apricot pieces. Place the bundt mold onto a cookie sheet. Spoon the pudding into your silicone bundt molds and level them off with a spatula. Rap the cookie sheet against your counter a couple times to make sure the pudding gets into the ridges. Freeze overnight to set.
4. Prepare the garnishes. Fill some whipped cream into a piping bag with a small star tip (I used #17) and some jam into a piping bag with a small round tip. Chop up some strawberries and leave others whole.
5. Unmold each pudding and place it on a plate. If using the small kugelhopf molds to make a second tier for the puddings, go ahead and stack them immediately. Pipe around each pudding with a star tip, then accent with dabs of jam and berries. There are no hard and fast rules here; I decorated each one differently. Serve immediately.
The recipe I created is based loosely on the available recipes from the time, but at the end of the day it isn’t totally authentic. It was delicious, however. The custard was very rich and creamy even without any churning, and the apricot chunks inside were a lovely touch. I love how simple these are to make, and the presentation is definitely more interesting than your average ice cream.
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