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Crunchy Fig and Bleu Cheese Tarts

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As any experienced chef would know, bleu cheese brings out the sweet taste of figs like no
other ingredient. Thus, Mrs. Patmore would bake these delicious hors d’oeuvres that are
simultaneously sweet and tart. Eaters beware, however: Nothing is as tart as the Crawley
sense of humor!

Yields 4–6 Servings

For Pastry
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

For Walnut Crunch


2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon heavy cream
¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped

For Figs
⅔ cup sugar
1 tablespoon lukewarm water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
12 fresh figs, halved lengthwise and stems removed
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup sweet port
6 ounces Stilton bleu cheese, crumbled, room temperature
Honey to taste

32   The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook


Crunchy Fig and Bleu Cheese Tarts
(continued)

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1. Preheat oven to 350°F. let to melt. Remove from heat and add port.
2. Roll out puff pastry sheet on a clean, lightly- Let figs marinate in port mixture for 5–10
floured surface. Place puff pastry sheet in minutes before removing figs to a plate
a well-greased baking pan and then place to cool. Once again bring syrup to a boil,
another sheet pan on top of puff pastry to whisking until smooth. Cool completely.
prevent it from rising too much. 6. Using a 2- to 3-inch pastry cutter, cut out
3. Bake puff pastry in preheated oven (with rounds of semi-baked puff pastry. Divide
sheet pan still on top) for 5–8 minutes or walnut mixture among rounds, then top
until beginning to turn golden. Remove and with fig halves, cut-side up.
set aside. 7. Bake tartlets in preheated oven (still at
4. To make walnut crunch: In a medium-sized 350°F) for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
skillet, stir honey, sugar, butter, cinnamon, Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
and salt over medium heat until butter melts. 8. Artfully arrange cheese on top of tartlets,
Cook mixture until it boils and reaches a followed by the sweet port syrup. Drizzle
deep golden brown, about 3–5 minutes. Stir with honey and serve.
in cream, followed by walnuts. Cook for an
additional 2 minutes, then pour out over a
sheet of heavy foil. Let cool completely, then Suggested Pairings
chop walnut crunch into small pieces. If you choose to serve this dish as a dessert rather
5. To prepare figs: Mix sugar, water, and salt than as an appetizer, try pairing these pastries
in a heavy skillet over medium heat until with a delicious yet full-bodied dessert wine such
sugar is evenly moist, adding more water as a Riesling, Moscato, or Chianti. Be careful, how-
if needed. Cook mixture until sugar turns ever, Moscato can be an especially sweet wine,
golden, stirring occasionally, about 5 min- and depending on the brand can easily overpower,
utes. Place figs cut-side down in sugar mix- rather than complement, the bleu cheese.
ture. Cook figs until they begin to release
juice. Immediately add butter, swirling skil-

Chapter 1: Hors d’Oeuvres Variés   33 


Creamy Butternut Squash Soup
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Even Downton Abbey has its cold, damp evenings, and with such a large house one is sure
to catch the shivers now and then. This thick and creamy soup is sure to warm up the most
frigid of guests! Perhaps Daisy, after witnessing the dead body of Pamuk, would see if there
were any leftovers of this soup available to warm her chilled spirits.

Yields 4 Servings 1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic,
onions, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, and squash. Cook
2 tablespoons unsalted
for 8–10 minutes or until lightly browned. Pour in enough
butter
chicken stock to fully cover the vegetables. Bring mixture to a
1 clove garlic, minced
boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover pot and let simmer for 45
2 medium onions, chopped
minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Stir in curry pow-
2 medium carrots,
der and nutmeg.
chopped
2. Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth. Stir in
1 celery stick, chopped
sour cream, then salt and pepper to taste.
2 medium sweet potatoes,
cubed
1 medium butternut
T imes G one B y
squash, peeled, seeded,
Downton Abbey was actually quite lucky to have Mrs. Patmore and
and cubed
her helper Daisy on staff. Thanks to the Industrial Revolution and
1 (32-ounce) container
World War I, new factory job openings lured many staff members
chicken stock
away from their jobs at country estates. This in turn led to a rise in
1 teaspoon curry powder
household management books, as many hostesses found themselves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
with inadequate staff.
½ cup sour cream
Kosher salt and freshly
ground black pepper to
taste

42   The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook


Crawley Family Chicken Breasts with
Caper Cream Sauce
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This dish combines the Edwardian love for capers/salty appetizers in a fancy entrée. As this
is a relatively inexpensive yet still elegant dish to offer, this would be a staple for dinners at
Downton Abbey when no guests are present.

Yields 4 Servings 1. Thoroughly season chicken breasts with lemon pepper, sea
salt, black pepper, dill, and garlic powder. Then marinate
4 boneless, skinless
chicken breasts for at least 2 hours in lemon juice.
chicken breasts
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add gar-
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
lic and sugar, and sauté for 5 minutes. Then place breasts
1 teaspoon sea salt
in skillet and increase heat to medium-high. Turn chicken
½ teaspoon freshly ground
frequently until brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to
black pepper
medium and cook breasts for 5–7 minutes or until breasts
2 teaspoons fresh dill
are cooked through. Remove chicken, cover with foil, and
1½ teaspoons garlic
keep warm.
powder
3. Increase heat to high, and whisk in wine and heavy cream.
½ cup fresh lemon juice
Whisk until mixture is reduced to a saucelike consistency,
4 tablespoons unsalted
about 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in capers.
butter
Pour sauce over chicken breasts and serve.
1 clove garlic, diced
½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons dry white
wine
Suggested Pairings
For a different—yet nonetheless caper-filled—sauce, Mrs. Patmore
½ cup heavy cream
could serve these chicken breasts with a Cajun remoulade sauce. This
2 tablespoons capers,
remoulade sauce includes mayonnaise, anchovies, capers, mustard,
drained and rinsed
herbs, and pickles.

70   The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook


Mixed Berry Scones
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A take on the Sweet Cream Scones (see recipe in this chapter), this dish would be a favorite
of Countess Cora’s to offer to her younger guests with their tea. While visitors such as the
Dowager Countess might prefer less flavorful options, these scones would give a needed vari-
ety—not to mention flavor—to a meal that most of Cora’s guests would have experienced on
a daily basis.

Makes 10–12 Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour


½ cup white sugar
¼ cup turbinado sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ¼- to ½-inch pieces
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup fresh blackberries
½ cup fresh raspberries
½ cup hulled and quartered fresh strawberries
1¼ cups buttermilk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup heavy cream ( for brushing)
½ cup sugar ( for sprinkling)

160   The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook


Yorkshire Pudding
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Yorkshire Pudding was an excellent and affordable way to “fill up” on a meager budget.
Often, Yorkshire Pudding was served before a less-than-filling meal as a way to stave off hun-
ger. While not enjoyed by the upper crust, Yorkshire Pudding—along with a side of jam or
cream—is the kind of snack Mr. Mason would serve to Daisy during her after-Christmas visit.

Yields 6–8 Servings 1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the
dry mixture, then pour in the milk, whisking thoroughly. Beat
1½ cups all-purpose flour
in eggs one at a time.
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2. Pour dry mixture into a blender, then add water. Blend until
¾ cup whole milk, room
the mixture is light and frothy. Chill in the refrigerator for at
temperature
least 3 hours, covered.
3 eggs, room temperature
3. Let batter warm up to room temperature before using. While
½ cup water
batter warms up, preheat oven to 400°F.
½ cup unsalted butter, cut
4. Place butter in a 9×12-inch baking pan in oven and cook
into pieces
until sizzling, at least 5 minutes. Pour the batter over the
melted butter and bake for 30 minutes or until the sides have
risen and are golden brown. Cut into 6–8 portions and serve
immediately.

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The history behind this dish is long and storied. When wheat became
a viable option for cooking cakes and other batter-related dishes,
cooks up in Northern England, fans of the “waste not, want not” phi-
losophy, developed a way to use the fat drippings from roasting meat
to make a batter pudding. The Yorkshire Puddings served at Downton
Abbey were flatter than they are today, though the Royal Society of
Chemistry issued a proclamation that a Yorkshire Pudding was not a
true Yorkshire Pudding if it was less than 4 inches tall. While the fol-
lowing recipe does not use beef drippings, beef drippings can easily be
substituted for the butter.

190   The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook