Put on your aprons and fire up your cauldrons, because this month’s edition of Witchy Kitchen is going full witch with an enchanting three-course menu, so mote it be.
For our first course, we are drawing inspiration from 2015’s The Witch, which has already become a modern classic. Written and directed by Robert Eggers and featuring a lovely and innocent performance from Anya Taylor-Joy as Thomasin, the film is meticulously authentic to colonial times so a colonial-inspired dish seemed apt. These biscuits are rustic, with apples that feature prominently in the film. Bonus, if you want to get extra witchy they double as altar cakes. Would you like the taste of butter? Would you like to live deliciously? Then whip up the accompanying goat cheese butter to serve.
The Witch Apple Cheddar Biscuits with Goat Cheese Butter
For the biscuits
5 tablespoons butter, divided (freeze and grate 4 tablespoons, reserve 1 for cooking)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 a large Granny Smith apple, grated
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Heat oven to 400º. Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon butter in a cast-iron skillet on medium heat, swirling to coat. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, pepper, cheddar cheese, apple, chives, and butter. Combine milk and egg and add to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined (don’t overmix). In the skillet, drop 8 even sized dollops of the mixture, forming them into rounds and pushing down slightly to biscuit shapes. Cook on the stovetop for 5 minutes, then transfer to the oven for 18-20 minutes to cook until golden.
For the goat cheese butter
4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
4 ounces butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
Whip together and serve with biscuits.
Our main course is inspired by the 1960 gothic horror directed by Mario Bava, Black Sunday. It takes place in Romania, which may very well be the witchiest place on earth. Barbara Steele plays both the doomed witch Princess Asa as well as her descendent Katia, who the witch comes back to drain of her youth and beauty in hopes of immortality. This is a Romanian dish called ciorba de perisoare, a meatball soup that is as sour as revenge. It’s also full of herbs perfect for youth and beauty spells, reciting incantations as you sprinkle them in is encouraged.
Black Sunday Romanian Sour Soup
For the meatballs
8 ounces ground chicken
3/4 teaspoon salt
few grinds black pepper
1/2 an onion, grated
1/4 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Thoroughly combine all ingredients and shape into 1-inch meatballs. Reserve in the fridge until time to cook.
For the soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon paprika
6 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons lovage, chopped (optional if you have trouble finding it)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a large pot heat olive oil on medium heat and cook onion, red pepper, celery, and carrots, stirring often, until onion is very soft and translucent. Stir in tomato paste and paprika and cook, stirring, until tomato paste is starting to caramelize. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Drop in the prepared meatballs, lower heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Add parsley, lovage, and lemon juice and cook 5 minutes more. Serve hot.
The 90s were a wicked time for witch movies, so dessert is inspired by 1998’s Practical Magic. Directed by Giffin Dunne and starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman as witchy sisters, there is a fabulous scene featuring midnight margaritas. The batty aunties conjure up a batch, and a delightful dance-around-the-kitchen party gradually descends into an entranced madness. These flourless chocolate cupcakes (adapted from a recipe from Smitten Kitchen) are kissed with lime and as dark as midnight, and the lovely floaty margarita cream is hypnotic, the perfect end to a bewitching meal.
Practical Magic Midnight Margarita Cupcakes
For the cupcakes
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lime zest
Heat oven to 350º and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and butter. Remove from heat, whisk together, and allow to cool slightly.
Separate eggs into two large bowls. Beat the yolks with 3 tablespoons sugar until pale. Beat in the chocolate mixture, salt and lime zest. In the other bowl, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then gradually add in 3 tablespoons sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. In batches, gently fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture. Divide evenly between the muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are puffed and dry and a tester comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Cool completely (they will deflate in the center).
For the margarita whipped cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lime zest
2 teaspoons tequila
2 teaspoons cointreau
1/2 cup heavy cream
Stir together sugar, lime zest, tequila and cointreau. Add heavy cream and whip to a soft but firm consistency. Dollop onto cupcakes.
Set your table, light your candles, and enjoy a witchy meal.