Happy Birthday, Harry Potter! I’ve decided to celebrate Harry’s birthday here on Cask & Quill each year with a theme from each successive book by year. Last year I made cupcake versions of Hagrid’s birthday cake for Harry, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. This year isn’t quite as nice. We have to commemorate Harry’s birth by recreating the pudding his horrible aunt makes on his birthday, not for him, but for their esteemed guests, Mr. and Mrs. Mason, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. You may recall what fate the pudding meets once Dobby arrives on the scene… So certainly not the best memory. And in fact the chapter is titled “The Worst Birthday,” but let’s just get it over with shall we? Sorry, Harry! The good news is that this recipe is super delicious, which really helps you get over the negative associations!
Harry moved gladly into the shade of the gleaming kitchen. On top of the fridge stood tonight’s pudding: a huge mound of whipped cream and sugared violets.
We don’t have much to go on, just that the pudding is a heap of whipped cream and sugared violets. Well who am I to argue with that? I did a little research and decided the most similar British pudding to that description is called a fool. I think that’s a spectacular name. Is it outrageously simple to make, which is ideal because the flowers will get a bit tricky. A fool has a fairly simple base with many, many variations. But the general idea is that it’s a soft cheese and whipped cream dessert, usually flavored with fruit of some variety. It’s very versatile, which was perfect for my needs!
When I decided to make this thing, I was excited to figure out how to make sugared violets. Well, I’m not much of a horticulturalist and when I asked a local gardener (my mom) for some violet blooms, she informed me that violets bloom in the spring. Much to my dismay! Did I just discover a huge plot hole? How is Petunia Dursley making sugared violets on July 31st if they’re a spring bloom?! My world is crumbling around me. Okay, let’s all take a breath and regroup.
Though I do think this recipe would be fun to try with real sugared violets sometime, I had to come up with an alternative. Enter a tube of almond paste! (I loooooove almond paste and those who follow my Instagram will know I was eating it right out of the tube during the making of this recipe. Because, you know, I’m a health nut.) Okay, but here’s where things get a little bit tricky. I will not lie to you. Making almond paste or marzipan violets is not the easiest thing.
Aunt Petunia's Pudding
- 1/4 cup almond paste or marzipan
- 1 drop each red and blue food coloring
- 3/4 cup mascarpone
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp sugar
Combine the red and blue food coloring with your almond paste in a bowl using the back of a metal spoon. It should end up a nice light purple when you're done. Add a little more paste if it is too dark.
Separate the almond paste into small marble-sized balls and then roll them in your hands to shape them more like an oval. Place on wax paper Space them out as you will be pressing them down flat.
Place another piece of wax paper on top of the almond paste balls and gently press each one down flat. Try to maintain the oval shape as you flatten them. You want them about a centimeter in thickness.
Pick up and carefully pinch the center of each oval, creating the center of the flower. Don't fold it over, but just mold it to look a bit puckered. This will give you a bit of a stem on the back.
Using a clean scissor, cut petals into the flower. You will make one cut down the center of the top oval and two cuts to the bottom side of the oval, creating 5 petals total.
Gently round the sharp corners of the petals and place into the refrigerator to harden a bit. Place them on a wax paper with the top of the flower facing down, stem pointing up. Repeat for the rest of the flowers.
Mix the mascarpone by hand or with a mixer just until it has softened up.
In a separate bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream and sugar together with an electric mixer just until it is looking fluffy. You want smooth texture so don't mix too much.
Fold the mascarpone into the whipped cream, transfer into your serving dish or small individual cups and pop into the refrigerator to firm up a bit.
When you are ready to serve, place the violets all over the top of the creamy cloud of your fool.
I wanted to keep this recipe as close to the description in the book, but I have some suggestions to make it even tastier, if you’re interested! Throw some sliced almonds in there! This pudding could definitely use a little texture and I think the slight saltiness of almonds would nicely stand out against the sweetness of all that whipped cream. Of course it goes well with the almond paste flowers, too! To get even crazier, you can make it a bit more of a traditional fool by adding some fruit of your choice. Sprinkle sugar over some fresh fruit pieces and fold them in or make yourself a compote with sugar or honey and maybe some floral liqueur and do the same. I suggest raspberries!
Happy Harry Potter’s Birthday!