Author Kate Quinn asked me to participate in part two of the 16th century potluck with recipes from her recent release THE LION AND THE ROSE, the second novel in her Borgia series, and I couldn’t refuse! Trying new recipes and reading a fabulous book are about my two favorite things in the world. (Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to see the list of additional pot luck blog hoppers and their delectable dishes from the novel.)
Speaking of THE LION AND THE ROSE, a few thoughts:
Kate has done it again in this second novel (check out THE SERPENT AND THE PEARL)–I was gripped from the first page and carried swiftly through the novel by a turbulent current of twisting plot threads, conniving and deeply likable characters, and one dangerous pope (Rodrigo Borgia) who makes no qualms about abusing his power. Renaissance Italy has never appeared richer or more alive. Perhaps my favorite piece is the unexpected romance that arises (I won’t say who in the hopes you will read to find out), and the way it balances the darker points in the novel as Rome becomes more and more entrenched in its blasphemous undertakings. Toss in a few dozen mouthwatering dishes cooked up in Carmelina’s (the escaped nun) kitchen which constantly made me want to eat, and I simply couldn’t put this novel down. An exquisite read, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Bring on the Food!
I made endives stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled in olive oil, though I added a bit of flare to the recipe by adding fresh herbs and chives. For dessert, I tried a blood orange tourte that was divine. I saw an alternative recipe to this in which it’s served with a homemade caramel sauce rather than honey. I may try that next time. My kids were slow to eat it because of the color, but it didn’t take them long to warm up to the flaky crust and sweet honey-fruit topping.
Endives Stuffed w/ Herbed Goat Cheese
4 Oz soft goat cheese
2 Tab heavy cream
1 1/2 Tab finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 Tab finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 Tab finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tab fresh chives, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large head endive, or 2 small heads
1 Tab olive oil
In a medium bowl, cream the goat cheese with the back of a kitchen spoon. Add the cream, rosemary, thyme, parsley, chives, and pepper and mix until smooth and creamy. Add more cream if the cheese is particularly thick. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Bring to room temperature before assembling.
Core the endive and separate into spears. Spoon the filling into 20 endive spears, filling each spear about halfway. Assemble on a plate and sprinkle with the paprika, if using. Cover and refrigerate. Before serving, drizzle with olive oil.
Blood Orange Tourte Drizzled with Honey
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, the stick cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
8 to 10 blood oranges (about 5 ounces each) [I only needed 7]
1 large egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons of water
Honey for serving
1. In a food processor, pulse the 1 cup of flour with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the baking powder and salt. Add the stick of cold butter and pulse several times, just until it is the size of peas. Sprinkle the dough with the ice water and pulse just until moistened crumbs form. Turn the crumbs out onto a work surface, knead once or twice and pat the pastry into a disk. Wrap the pastry in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
2. On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry to an 11-inch round, about 1/4 inch thick. Transfer the pastry to a parchment paper–lined flat cookie sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes, or until chilled.
3. Meanwhile, peel the blood oranges, removing all of the bitter white pith. Thinly slice 2 of the oranges crosswise; remove the pits. Transfer the orange slices to a plate. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes of the remaining oranges, releasing the sections into the sieve. Remove the pits and gently shake out as much juice as possible without mashing the sections; you will need 1 cup of sections. Reserve the orange juice for another use.
4. Arrange the orange sections on the pastry, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar over the oranges. Using a paring knife, thinly slice the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter over the oranges. Fold up the pastry over the oranges, leaving most of the oranges uncovered. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle lightly with 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Arrange the orange slices on top, leaving a 1-inch border of pastry all around. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top. Freeze the tart until solid, at least 4 hours or preferably overnight. (****This is obviously a modern addition used to help keep the crust from getting soggy.)
5. Preheat the oven to 375° and position a rack in the center. Place a baking sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the tart directly from the freezer for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling and the pastry is deeply browned. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack and let the tart cool for 30 minutes. Carefully slide the parchment paper onto the rack and let the tart cool completely. Drizzle with honey and serve.
***I used the photo from smittenkitten.com because it was a lot prettier than mine.
Pot Luck Hoppers
Kate Quinn: tourte of walnuts and pecorino cheese
Island Vittles: Potato chips and candied walnuts
Inn At The Crossroad: Roman-style tenderloin with bacon and bay leaf
Long Past Remembered: fish pie flavored with oranges, nutmeg and dates