From Hemingway to Pynchon: The Favorite Recipes of Your Favorite Authors

Not full from Thanksgiving? Tis the season for indulging and sharing feasts with friends and family ones, so why not take some tips from your beloved literary giants and cook up some of their favorite treats? Whether its Carson McCullers cocktails or Ernest Hemingway’s savory trout, the wonderful site Paper and Salt has curated an enormous list of recipes that try and “recreate and reinterpret the dishes that iconic authors discuss in their letters, diaries, essays, and fiction.”

So take a look below, peruse more HERE, get out a pen, and get ready to jot down your your cravings.

Carson McCuller’s Cocktail

1/3 cup dry sherry
2/3 cup citrus tea
Lemon wedges

Brew tea to desired strength and add sherry. Stir and serve with lemon wedge, or pour into a thermos for a drink on the go.

Thomas Pynchon’s Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos 

3 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided
1 pound boned, skinned chicken thighs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup Mexican beer
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 chipotle chile
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise

Soft taco shells
Pickled shallots
Cilantro
Cotija cheese
Lime wedges

1. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook until chicken is lightly golden but not cooked through, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan and add to the bowl of a slow cooker.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until slightly translucent, about 2 minutes. Add cumin, chile powder and garlic, and let cook another 2 minutes.

3. Add chicken broth to the skillet, scraping the browned onion off the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and pour mixture into slow cooker. Add beer, tomato paste, chipotle chile, cinnamon stick and star anise.

4. Cook on high for 3 hours. Uncover, break chicken apart with a fork, then cover and cook 1 hour more.

5. Remove chicken from braising liquid. Add to taco shells and garnish with shallots, cilantro and cheese. Squeeze lime wedge over and enjoy with several beers.

Marcel Prousts’s Croissants With Coffee Glaze

1 package (14 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed in the fridge 2 to 3 hours
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons espresso or strong coffee
3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Unwrap thawed puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out pastry to 1/8-inch thickness.

2. Orient the pastry sheet horizontally, then make 3 vertical cuts, resulting in 4 strips of dough. Cut each strip in half horizontally, making 8 rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half diagonally, making 16 triangles. Roll the wide end of each triangle toward the point. Curl the ends of the cylinder toward each other slightly.

3. Place croissants on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until golden.

4. Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk espresso and powdered sugar together until smooth. Brush over warm croissants and serve immediately, preferably in pajamas.

Marquis de Sade’s Molten Chocolate Espresso Cake with Pomegranate 

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (2.6-ounce) bar dark (71% cocoa) chocolate (such as Valrhona Le Noir Amer), finely chopped
Pomegranate seeds, for garnish (optional)

1.  Grease 10 (4-ounce) ramekins. In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt.

2. Place butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 1 minute. Add granulated and brown sugars, beating until well blended, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, beating until well blended.

3. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture; fold in chocolate. Divide batter evenly among ramekins; arrange ramekins on a jelly-roll pan. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 2 days.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove ramekins from fridge and let stand at room temperature 10 minutes. Uncover and bake for 12 minutes or until cakes are puffy and slightly crusty on top (do not overbake – trust me, they’re done). Let sit for 1 minute, then unmold. Top with pomegranate seeds if using; serve immediately. If you can’t wait to unmold them, just eat them out of the ramekin. It’s not a sin.

Jane Austen’s Brown Butter Bread Pudding Tarts

1 sheet (about 1/2 lb.) thawed frozen puff pastry
4 tablespoons butter
1 rennet tablet (**See note)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup cake crumbs (angel food or pound cake work well)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375°F and grease 6 ramekins (6-ounce size). Roll out 1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12” x 15” rectangle. Make 6 circles, about 5” in diameter, on pastry. Cut out circles, press into ramekins, and prick all over with a fork. Refrigerate.

2. In a small pan, stirring constantly, melt butter over medium heat until it is golden brown. Set aside to cool.

3. Dissolve rennet tablet in 2 tablespoons warm water in a small saucepan. Over low heat, add milk and sugar and stir 5 seconds, just long enough to get the sugar off the bottom of the pan. Using a kitchen thermometer, cook without stirring until mixture reaches 98°F. Remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

4. Remove ramekins from fridge. Stir egg, cake crumbs, nutmeg and cinnamon into milk mixture. Stir in brown butter. Spoon filling into ramekins and bake until pastry is golden, about 25 minutes.

** Rennet is used for cheesemaking and gives this pudding its custardy consistency. You can find it in specialty groceries or most Whole Foods Markets. Check with the cheese counter if you can’t spot it.

Sylvia Plath’s Lemon Pudding Cakes 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for ramekins
1/4 cup flour
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar and fresh berries, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 6 6-ounce ramekins, lightly dust with granulated sugar, and set them in a small roasting pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, the flour and lemon zest. In a larger bowl, whisk together buttermilk, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until combined.

3. In a small bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Gently fold into lemon mixture. Divide batter evenly among ramekins and fill roasting pan with hot water until it reaches halfway up ramekins. Tent with foil.

4. Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil, then bake another 20 minutes or until cakes are golden and firm to the touch. Transfer ramekins to a rack and let cool 15 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edges and invert onto plates. Garnish with powdered sugar and berries. 

Nora Ephron’s Frozen Key Lime Pie 

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 crackers)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
6 large egg yolks (Note: Save egg whites for tart version.)
1 cup freshly squeezed Key lime juice
2 cans (14-ounce each) sweetened condensed milk (Note: Use 1 1/2 cans for tart version.)
1 tablespoon finely grated Key lime zest
1 cup heavy cream (Note: Not needed for tart version.)
1 tablespoon sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter in a medium bowl, and mix until moist. Evenly press mixture into a 9-inch pie plate, and bake until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled.

3. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk yolks and lime juice together until combined. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is foamy and registers 160°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 6 minutes. Remove bowl from heat, and whisk in condensed milk and zest until well combined. Pour into cooled pie shell and smooth top with a rubber spatula. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.

4. Remove pie from freezer 10 minutes before serving. Combine cream and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Spread evenly over pie or dollop on each slice along with a slice of lime, and serve immediately. (Note: For tart version, make meringue: Beat egg whites and sugar 3 to 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie and brown lightly with a brulée torch, or by broiling 30 seconds.) Serves 8 or 1 cheating husband.

Cocktails with E.B. White 

Equal parts lime juice, apricot brandy, honey, and dry vermouth. Stir this all together (you only need a tiny amount of the whole business), then add 4 times the amount of gin. Plenty of ice, stir, and serve.”

White also made a handy note on portions: “For 2 people, you need only 1/2 ounce of each of the four funny ingredients. Then you need 8 ounces of gin, or what a baby would drink from a bottle.” For those of us who aren’t alcoholic infants, that’s 1 tablespoon of each of the first 4 ingredients to 1 cup gin.

**Note: Apricot brandy, being a liqueur, is already quite sweet, so I prefer to cut the honey to 1/2 tablespoon and add an additional squeeze of lime.

John Cheever’s Turkey Monte Cristo Sandwich 

4 slices rustic white bread (3/4 inch thick)
4 ounces smoked turkey breast
4 ounces gruyère cheese
1/2 apple, thinly sliced
1 egg
1/4 cup milk (2% or whole is good here)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Powdered sugar

1. Assemble the sandwiches: On 2 slices of bread, layer turkey, cheese, and apple to cover bread completely. Top with remaining bread. Secure each sandwich with toothpicks. Trim crusts, if you’d like.

2. In a shallow baking dish, lightly beat egg with a whisk. Add milk, and whisk to combine.

3. In a nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon butter; swirl butter around pan until foaming. Coat both sides of the first sandwich in the egg mixture, then lay it in the pan, pressing down gently with a spatula to compact. After 3 minutes, flip sandwich and fry opposite side until golden brown. Remove from pan, and dry on a paper towel.

4. Repeat step 3 with remaining 1 tablespoon butter and second sandwich. Serve both sandwiches with sprinkles of powdered sugar on top.

**NOTES

For ease of frying, I suggest you start with 2 layers of bread for your first attempt and work your way up to 3 (or 4!). And – to appease my mother and get something fresh in here – I substituted apple for the more traditional jam.

Ernest Hemingway’s Bacon-Wrapped Trout with Corn Cakes

2 (10-ounce) whole trout, cleaned and gutted
1/2 cup cornmeal
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
8 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, sliced
6 slices bacon
Fresh parsley, for garnish

1. Preheat broiler and set oven rack 4 to 6 inches from heat. With a paper towel, pat trout dry inside and out. Dredge outside of each fish in cornmeal, then season cavity with salt and pepper. Place 4 sprigs of thyme and 2 lemon slices inside each fish.

2. Wrap 3 bacon slices around the middle of each fish, so that the edges overlap slightly. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, and place fish on pan. Broil until bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. With a spatula, carefully flip fish over and cook another 5 minutes, until flesh is firm.

Jean-Paul Sartre’s Halva with Almonds

2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups tahini, well stirred
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 egg whites
3/4 cup toasted, coarsely chopped almonds (plus extra for sprinkling)

1. Line a loaf pan (9×5 or 8×4) with cooking parchment, allowing extra to hang over the sides.

2. Put honey in a small saucepan. On a low setting, heat honey, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer reads 240°F. Remove from heat.

3. While honey is heating, mix tahini, vanilla, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Put egg whites in a medium bowl; with a handheld electric mixer, beat until soft peaks form. (If you have a standing mixer, you can beat the egg whites in the mixing bowl with the whisk attachment.)

4. Add tahini mixture to egg whites and fold gently to combine. In a small stream, gradually add honey and stir 6 to 8 minutes, until the mixture stiffens slightly. Stir in chopped almonds.

5. Scrape mixture into prepared pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight until firm, 24 to 36 hours. Remove halva from pan and cut into pieces (if it’s still too soft, you can pop it in the freezer for an hour or so to set). Sprinkle bars with chopped almonds and snack away.

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