Lemon Tart – An American Girl Recipe

lemon tart recipe

In Happy Birthday, Molly! we meet Molly’s friend Emily. Emily is an English girl who comes to live with Molly and her family in the US during the war. She moves in just before Molly’s birthday, so Molly tries to include her in the party planning. The girls plan a traditional English tea party, and everything seems to be going well until Emily suggests serving a lemon tart instead of a birthday cake. Molly just can’t imagine her birthday without a cake. I have to say, I’m on Molly’s side with this one.

Still, I thought a lemon tart sounded delightful for a non-birthday party. This tart is very rich, so much so that I could only really stomach a small sliver at a time, but it was still delicious, and it makes plenty to share! I used this recipe to make this tart, and I think it turned out well.

Lemon Tart - An American Girl Recipe

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the crust until it forms a crumbly dough.
  2. Press the dough into a tart pan or pie tin.
  3. Bake the crust at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes.
  4. Mix together the filling ingredients until smooth.
  5. Pour the filling into the baked crust.
  6. Bake the tart for an additional 20 minutes. Wrap the edges with aluminum foil to prevent burning on the edges (as you can see in the photos, I neglected to do that part 😉 )
  7. Allow the tart to cool, and dust it with powdered sugar before serving.

Samantha’s Pink Lemonade – An American Girl Recipe

Pink Lemonade Recipe - American Girl

In Happy Birthday, Samantha! Samantha throws a “grown-up” tea party in honor of her 10th birthday. They serve tea sandwiches, petit fours, peppermint ice cream, and pink lemonade.

When I re-read this book recently (for the first time since I was a child), I started wondering about pink lemonade and how it was made. I mean, I knew it wasn’t made from pink lemons, but I never considered pink lemonade being a thing back in the early 1900s. I always just thought the pink color came from artificial coloring. I’m sure that’s where the color comes from nowadays in premade pink lemonade mixes, but it wasn’t always that way. It turns out, pink lemonade is traditionally made with a splash of cranberry juice.

So, while this recipe is incredibly simple, I really wanted to share it with you in case anyone else out there would love to make their own pink lemonade!

Samantha's Pink Lemonade - An American Girl Recipe

Samantha’s Pink Lemonade – An American Girl Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup cranberry juice
  • extra sugar, to taste

Directions

  1. In a small pot on the stove, melt the water and 1 cup of sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Allow the sugar mixture to cool to room temperature.
  3. Combine the sugar water, lemon juice, and cranberry juice in a pitcher, and stir well.
  4. Chill the lemonade in the refrigerator, and add extra sugar if you think it needs it. If you use 100% cranberry juice, you will probably want more sugar. If you use a cranberry juice cocktail, you likely will not need more sugar.

I love the idea of pink lemonade as a tea alternative at a tea party. It’s still fun and fancy, and it’s perfect for serving with fancy tea-time treats.

 

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Buttered Scones – A Hobbit Recipe

…the dwarves were starting on a round of buttered scones, when there came–a loud knock.

-The Hobbit

Buttered Scones - A Hobbit Recipe

Here we are revisiting Bilbo’s “Unexpected Party” again. It’s a good thing those dwarves were so hungry, or else we wouldn’t have so many yummy foods to emulate!

Hot buttered scones are one of the simpler menu items at this party, but I wanted to get the recipe right, so I did some research. I’ve never been to the UK, but apparently those triangular things you get from cafes here in the US aren’t authentic scones. In fact, “real” scones seem to be a great deal similar to what we in America call “biscuits,” only sweeter. I found this recipe for Afternoon Tea Scones written by someone who actually used to live in the UK and goes back to visit often, so I knew it had to be authentic! I adapted the recipe slightly to better fit the narrative of The Hobbit.

Buttered Scones – A Hobbit Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter, for brushing

Directions

  1. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. Cut the butter into several small pieces, and drop the pieces into the flour mixture.
  3. Using your fingers, rub the cold butter into the flour mixture until it forms a crumbly texture.
  4. Add the egg and buttermilk, and mix until just combined.
  5. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface, and pat it into a flat disk, about 1/2 an inch high.
  6. Cut out scones in a circular shape. You can use a circle cookie or biscuit cutter, but I just used a drinking glass.
  7. Place the scones onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  8. Brush the scones with melted butter.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until the scones turn golden brown.

These yummy scones are a great simple pleasure. Enjoy them with butter, jam, clotted cream, or whatever you fancy. Hopefully you won’t have to share them with any dwarves!

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

 

 

Cinnamon Hot Cocoa – A Once Upon A Time Recipe

Cinnamon Hot Cocoa - A Once Upon A Time Recipe

I’m back with another recipe from Once Upon A Time! Cinnamon hot cocoa is a food item that is referenced multiple times throughout the series. Cinnamon in hot cocoa…it’s a quirk of the “Charming” family. Cinnamon is probably my favorite spice, and combining it with chocolate is heavenly.

Yes, I am well aware that it is May…almost summertime. Cocoa is typically a wintertime beverage, but when you live in Florida like I do and it’s hot all year round, you just crank up the A/C and drink hot cocoa whenever you feel like it. 🙂

Cinnamon Hot Cocoa – A Once Upon A Time Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. powdered sugar
  • whipped cream

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except for the whipped cream, into a pot on the stove or into a hot cocoa machine. You can also use the “soup” setting on one of those fancy expensive blenders 🙂
  2. Heat the contents thoroughly, stirring constantly. A hot cocoa machine or blender on “soup” setting will stir for you as it heats, which saves you a lot of work!
  3. Pour the cocoa into a mug and top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of extra cinnamon.

Drink this cocoa on your own, or double the recipe to share as you bond with family or make new friends. It’s warm and comforting in every way possible.

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission for sales made through those links. Rest assured, this does not cost you any extra money, and it helps me buy ingredients to make delicious recipes for you 🙂

 

 

Homemade Ladyfingers – A Downton Abbey Recipe

Homemade Ladyfingers - A Downton Abbey Recipe

At some point on this blog, I really want to recreate the Charlotte Russe pudding served in one particular episode of Downton Abbey. While researching Charlotte Russe recipes, I realized that it calls for ladyfingers. Ladyfingers are small thin biscuits that are often used to line pudding dishes. I decided that before I tackled the actual pudding recipe, I wanted to try my hand at making ladyfingers from scratch, and I think they turned out pretty good! I slightly adapted this recipe from Allrecipes.com.

There are 2 keys to making these ladyfingers perfect. First off, you have to make sure the batter doesn’t get too warm, or else it will melt too quickly in the oven, creating biscuits that are too flat. Second, make sure to be gentle when folding in the egg whites so as not to deflate them. Deflated egg whites will also result in a biscuit that is too flat.

Homemade Ladyfingers – A Downton Abbey Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder

Directions

  1. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and the surface becomes glossy.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip the egg yolks and sugar together. Continue to whisk the yolk mixture until it turns a pale yellow color. This should take a couple minutes.
  3. Fold half of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder together on top of the egg mixture, and stir carefully to combine, without deflating the egg whites.
  5. Carefully fold in the remaining egg whites.
  6. Allow the batter to sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  7. Scoop the batter into a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch-wide round tip, or you can use a large plastic zip-top bag with one of the corners snipped off to form a 1/2-inch-wide hole.
  8. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  9. Pipe the batter onto the baking sheet in strips about 1 inch wide and 3 inches long.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes.

These homemade ladyfingers would be perfect for using in a pudding or trifle, but they’re also simplistically sweet and yummy enough to eat on their own.

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Bifur’s Apple Tart – The Hobbit Recipe

Bifur's Apple Tart - The Hobbit Recipe

When Bilbo finds himself hosting an “unexpected party” of dwarves (plus one wizard), he scurries around gathering food items to serve his guests. As each dwarf appears on his doorstep, he requests a new food item. Bifur requests “raspberry jam and apple tart.”

Though in the context of the book, I think Bifur was asking for raspberry jam and apple tart separately, I decided to combine them! When I found this recipe for a rustic apple tart, it called for a few Tablespoons of apricot preserves. When I read this, I knew instantly that I wanted to incorporate Bifur’s request and change the apricot preserves to raspberry jam.

The resulting apple tart turned out beautifully. The red color of the jam made the tart more visually stunning, and it added a depth of flavor that made me want to eat this entire apple tart in one sitting.

Bifur’s Raspberry Jam and Apple Tart – The Hobbit Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 12 Tbsp. butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
  • 1/3 cup ice-cold water
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and cut into thin slices
  • 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam, melted

Directions

  1. Add the 1 1/2 cups of flour, the salt, and the cold butter to a food processor, and pulse until a crumbly mixture forms.
  2. Add the cold water, and pulse for a few more seconds until combined (the mixture will still be a bit crumbly).
  3. Pour the crumbly dough onto a floured surface and knead it for a few seconds until the dough comes together in a ball.
  4. Flatted the ball of dough, and roll it out in a round shape until it is about 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Place the dough round onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together 2 Tbsp. of sugar with 1 Tbsp. of flour.
  7. Sprinkle the sugar/flour mixture onto the dough round.
  8. Place the apple slices on top of the flour/sugar mixture. Arrange them in a circular overlapping pattern, leaving a couple inches of dough free around the edges.
  9. Fold over the edges of the dough, overlapping the apples a bit.
  10. Brush the melted butter on top of the apples.
  11. Sprinkle the top of the tart with 1 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar.
  12. Chill the tart in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
  13. Bake at 400 degrees F for about an hour. If the tart starts to get too brown before the hour is up, place a layer of aluminum foil on top to keep it from burning.
  14. Brush the melted raspberry jam on top of the cooked tart, and allow it to cool slightly.

This apple tart was so easy to make, but it still looked beautiful and tasted amazing. It made me want to plan a trip to the Misty Mountains. If only…

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Mr. Tumnus’ Sugar-Topped Cake – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Recipe

Mr. Tumnus' Sugar-Topped Cake - Narnia Recipe

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia, Lucy meets a faun in the woods. This faun, named Mr. Tumnus, invites Lucy to come have tea with him. This is possibly one of the most iconic scenes in the book, and it’s no doubt why. The combination of the beautiful snowy scene with the meeting of a magical creature is the stuff of fantasy.

C.S. Lewis goes into great detail describing the contents of the table at that tea, and among them is a “sugar-topped cake.” There have been many interpretations of this cake on different blogs and cookbooks, and each author has their own idea as to how that cake might have looked and tasted.

In the Official Narnia Cookbook, the cake is described as one with bits of dried fruit inside. I thought that sounded gross, as I’m not a huge fan of dried fruits in baked goods. The recipe also says that the cake is topped with a sugar icing, and not just sugar on its own. The icing seemed too fussy for me for an everyday sort of tea like this one, though.

Taking these things into consideration, I decided to make a crumb coffee cake dusted with powdered sugar. I know this is pretty inauthentic but, it’s my blog and I’ll cook what I want to! 😉 Plus, this coffee cake was yummy.

I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart.

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Mix together the egg, milk and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Sift 1 1/2 cups of the flour together with the sugar, baking powder and salt on top of the wet mixture.
  3. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together.
  4. Pour the batter into a well-greased square or round dish.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 1 1/4 cup flour.
  6. Pour the melted butter over the brown sugar mixture, and toss until it forms a crumb texture.
  7. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the batter in the baking dish.
  8. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until done in the center.
  9. Once cool, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.

Serve up this cake as part of an afternoon tea party, just like the one Mr. Tumnus threw for Lucy.

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Fruity Oaty Bars – Serenity

Fruity Oaty Bars Recipe - Serenity

I’ve been trying to make up some Fruity Oaty Bars for a really long time! I’ve tried a bunch of different recipes, and none of them turned out well at all. I truly almost gave up, but I decided to give it one more go…and this batch actually turned out okay!

For those “non-Browncoats” out there, Fruity Oaty Bars are featured in the movie Serenity, which is based off the TV show, Firefly. In the movie, there is a TV advertisement for a product called Fruity Oaty Bars. It has a catchy little tune, too 🙂 Well, the advertisement turns out to have some serious subliminal messages hidden within it, which causes a bit of a problem for the crew.

In the animated advertisement, the bars are rainbow colored. I tried my best to recreate that, but if you don’t want to dye the dough, you don’t have to. Just leave that step out.

I used this recipe from CookFiction as inspiration and adapted it slightly to suit my tastes.

Fruity Oaty Bars – Serenity

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • food coloring (optional)
  • 1 cup jam (any flavor)

Directions

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add the oats, flour, and salt, and mix until crumbly.
  3. Add the egg, applesauce, and vanilla and mix until just combined.
  4. Divide the dough evenly into 4 small bowls.
  5. Mix each portion of dough with a different color of food coloring.
  6. Press half of the dough into the bottom of a square pan, alternating colors to form a rainbow look.
  7. Spread the jam on top of the dough.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining dough on top of the jam, again alternating colors.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes.
  10. Slice the bars across the colored strips to form a rainbow.

I love the combination of jam and oats in these bars, and the pretty colors make them extra fun to eat!

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Homemade English Muffins – A Little Princess

homemade english muffin recipe

A Little Princess was one of my favorite books when I was a child. I loved being transported into Sara Crewe’s magical world. One of the most special scenes in this novel is when a mysterious benefactor arranges a delicious hot breakfast for Sara and Becky, seemingly by magic. They wake up in the morning to find the breakfast all laid out on the table.

One of the items on this breakfast table were “muffins.” There is no other description of these muffins in the book, but somehow I just couldn’t imagine anyone in Victorian England eating muffins like we imagine them today. So, I researched a bit about “Victorian muffins” and learned some really interesting things!

Muffins as we know them are a relatively recent invention. In Sara Crewe’s England, what they called “muffins” is what we would call “English muffins” today. In fact, when we hear about “The Muffin Man,” that is referring to a baker who carried around a basket of English muffins, selling them on the streets to passersby. That sounded a whole lot more authentic, so I set out to make my own English muffins in honor of A Little Princess.

I loosely followed this traditional recipe. Be warned that this recipe requires a total of about 12 hours of rising time for the dough. But, don’t let that scare you. The recipe isn’t difficult at all, you just have to be home basically all day to make it.

These scrumptious muffins are worth the wait, though! So much more flavorful than store-bought English muffins.

Homemade English Muffin Recipe – A Little Princess

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 packet yeast (not rapid-rise yeast!)
  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup cornmeal (or more, if needed)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or oil

Directions

  1. Mix together the flour, salt and yeast.
  2. Add the milk, honey, and egg white to the flour mixture, and stir well.
  3. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 3 hours.
  4. Cover a cookie sheet with a thick layer or cornmeal. Make sure that the entire baking sheet is covered. This is to prevent the dough from sticking. I didn’t put nearly enough cornmeal on the sheet I used, and I had some problems, so the more cornmeal, the better!
  5. Portion out the dough onto the cookie sheet into about 12 little mounds.
  6. Sprinkle some more cornmeal on top of these dough mounds, and cover the cookie sheet with plastic.
  7. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place for about 9 hours (see note at bottom about rising time).
  8. Melt the butter or oil in a pan on the stove on medium heat.
  9. Add the muffins to the griddle, and cook them until brown on the bottom.
  10. Flip the muffins over and cook until brown on the other side, too.

A note on rising times: The original recipe called for 4-5 hours of initial rising, followed by 12-42 hours of rising in the refrigerator once the muffins are formed. I just simply didn’t have the fridge space for that, so I adapted the rising times and temperatures to meet my needs, and the muffins still turned out great, but if you want to be totally authentic, follow the rising times in the original recipe!

Once the muffins are cooled, split them in half by running your fingers along the edges. You can toast them and eat them with butter, honey, or jam. You can also eat them plain, because they are just that good! I don’t think I’d ever eat a store-bought English muffin plain, but these are good enough to do just that.

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!

Cheese Straws – Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey cheese straws recipe

Recently I rewatched most of Downton Abbey to take note of the food references, and the show was just as captivating as it was when I first watched it. I had forgotten about some events in the story, and even the ones I remembered were still exciting the second time around.

In Downton Abbey, there are a few scenes that revolve around food, but there are also a bunch of foods mentioned just in passing by one of the characters. These are actually my favorite food references, because it’s just a little something to lend an authentic feel to the world, rather than to move the story along.

One of these such references was to cheese straws. During a scene in the kitchen, Daisy mentions casually that she is going to make some cheese straws. I love cheese, so I looked up a good traditional recipe for cheese straws to recreate and share with you. I found a recipe from BBC Food and adapted it to my tastes.

Cheese Straws Recipe – Downton Abbey

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 3 Tbsp. parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne powder
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 Tbsp. cold water (or more, if needed)

Directions

  1. Sift together the flour and salt.
  2. Add the butter, and crumble it together with the flour with your fingers until it is well incorporated.
  3. Add the cheddar, parmesan, cayenne powder, and egg yolk and mix.
  4. Pour some cold water into the mix, a few Tbsp. at a time until a stiff dough forms.
  5. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes
  6. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/4-inch thick.
  7. Cut the dough into thin strips (mine were a bit too thick in the photos…now I know for next time!)
  8. Lay the strips onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  9. Bake the cheese straws at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

What I loved about this recipe is that most tea-time recipes I find online are sweet, and this is the perfect tea-time snack with a savory flavor. So, make up a batch of these Downton Abbey cheese straws before your next tea party!

 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from sales made through those links. Rest assured, this costs you nothing extra!