Don’t I know that this post is long overdue! Back in October my husband and I hosted a wizard-themed Halloween Party welcoming mages and magical creatures from all fictional worlds. We also served up a spread of culinary delights inspired by the Founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry using tea blends from Tea & Absinthe. You’ve seen my posts for Rowena Ravenclaw’s Cranachan, Salazar Slytherin’s Peppermint Pork Pies, and Helga Hufflepuff’s Bara Brith Cauldron Cakes. This week we’re going west to Godric’s Hollow with Godric Gryffindor’s Beef and Apple Pasties.
Click here to jump to the recipe for Godric Gryffindor’s Beef and Apple Pasties!
Tea & Absinthe‘s Gryffindor tea blend is the epitome of regal power and glory. This bold brew packs a disarming energy punch with a mix black, green, and green mate tea, and guarana seeds to wake you up in time after an all-night study crash session before your O.W.L.’s.
The predominant flavor upon sipping is fruity, tangy redcurrant. The fruit is then smoothed and rounded into candy by the almond-like blackthorn leaves and buttery, honey-scented sunflower petals. Also mixed with grassy nettle leaves, this combination emanates the aroma of stadium sweets and the fresh cut lawn of a Quidditch pitch before the final season match.
Bold Gryffindor, from Wild Moor
Godric Gryffindor was born in a moor in the English West Country that would later be called “Godric’s Hollow.” The entire region, including the counties of Devon, Cornwall, Dorset, and Somerset is the home to a heavy concentration of wizarding families. This is due to its remote nature in contrast to muggle-concentrated cities after the ratification of the International Statute of Secrecy in 1689. The village of Godric’s Hollow, likely in either Devon or Cornwall, holds a particularly strong influence in wizarding history as not only the home of Harry Potter but also as “the celebrated village where Voldemort was first defeated.”
Now keep in mind that most of the above happened after the death of Godric Gryffindor in the 11th century. To understand the values of House Gryffindor, though, you have to know a little bit more about its founder’s land and culture of origin.
Brave at Heart
Gryffindor House values the traits of courage, “daring, nerve, and chivalry.” It’s likely that chivalry was later added to the script as it did not formally develop until after Godric’s death. Gryffindor was more likely a product of the heroic code shared among the Anglo-Saxons and other Germanic tribes at the time. The name “Godric” itself is even Anglo-Saxon in origin. West Country had become predominantly so around the time of the wizard’s birth.
The Germanic Hero Code emphasizes loyalty, honor, generosity, hospitality, glory, boasting of one’s feats, and comitatus (the giving of gold and/or land in exchange for loyalty). The culture also held a fatalistic view of predetermined destiny with obscurity as a fate worse than death. You could almost see where the schism between Gryffindor and Slytherin as both are extreme sides of the same coin. The lion’s fatal flaw stems from reckless arrogance in the name of the code. The snake brings ruin when he fails to follow the parts of the said code that do not suit him or advance his own glory.
I could go further down this garden-gnome hole of historical and folkloric similarities in Rowling’s works for hours. I’m not going to, though, not yet, anyway. I would like to draw a parallel, however, between Godric and Beowulf. When Beowulf fights the Grendel, he throws down his weapons because “has no idea the arts of war, / or shield or swordplay”. A victory in his society has no satisfaction unless it is fair. Godric Gryffindor, while both a master of magic and martial combat, would only use a sword when dueling with muggles per his sense of honor and his choice to challenge himself.
Godric’s Hollow Gourmet
So where does food play into all of this? Like all of the other dishes, I created inspired by Hogwarts’ Founders I wanted to use regional ingredients from their place of origin. The pasty is a culinary staple of Cornwall and the West Country. Devon is particularly known for its beef and dairy industry, especially for its clotted cream and blue cheese. West England is also home to “scrumpy” a traditionally rough, dry apple cider.
I decided to combine all these elements into a miniature pasty. I first browned ground beef and caramelized onion and granny smith apple in its drippings with a generous pour of Tea & Absinthe’s Gryffindor blend tea. I then mixed the whole lot with blue cheese crumbles and baked it inside a tea-infused hot-water crust.
Serve these pies hot from the oven to get the full taste of these intense flavors. You can even freeze them before baking if you need more time to prepare for your Yule Feast or Viewing party.
By the way, just like on the other posts, I’ve included a printable PDF of the little serving flags pictured on this post.
Download the Gryffindor serving flags here.
Flavor Favors the Bold
Godric Gryffindor's Beef & Apple Pasties
Makes 24 mini pasties
Equipment: Oven, stovetop, baking sheets, small saucepan, water kettle, large skillet with a lid, mixing bowl, 8″ square baking pan or pyrex dish, large heat-resistant bowl, parchment paper, rolling pin, 3-inch round biscuit cutter, pastry brush.
- 1 large Vidalia or yellow onion, small diced
- 1 large granny smith apple, cored and small diced
- 3/4 lb ground beef
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup strongly brewed Griffyndor tea
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 cup lard, shredded
- 1 egg, beaten
- kosher salt
Make the Filling
- Brown and break the ground beef into crumbles in the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat. Scrape the meat into a mixing bowl. Drain off half of the fat in a disposable container to discard, or into a sealable container to for use later.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low. Melt the butter in the skillet with the remaining fat. Add the apple and onion and cook covered, 15-18 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until they start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Deglaze the pan with a 1/2 cup of tea. Stir in the sugar, and season with kosher salt. Continue cooking while scraping the browned bits from the pan for another 3-5 minutes or until the liquid is fully absorbed.
- Scrape the onions and apple into the mixing bowl and combine with the beef and a pinch or two of kosher salt. Chill the filling in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the pies.
Make the Crust
- Preheat the oven to 325° F.
- Whisk flour and table salt together in a large, heat-resistant bowl.
- Pour the remaining tea, the milk, and the lard into the saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop. Turn on the tea kettle with more water to boil.
- Stir the contents of the saucepan. When the mixture just comes to a boil, immediately pour it into the flour mixture. Blend with a spatula or wooden spoon until a dough forms. Add extra hot water from the kettle if the dough is too dry, add extra flour if too wet, until it’s workable enough to roll.
Make the Pies
- Pour a little of the boiling water into the baking dish and place the dough bowl into it to keep it warm.
- Divide the dough into six portions. Take out a portion and cover the bowl. Roll the portion out on a lightly floured surface and cut circles with the 3″ biscuit cutter. Gently roll each circle a little larger.
- Drop a tablespoon of pie filling onto half of each circle. Fold the pastry over the filling and press the edges together to seal. Cut a corner of the border and roll the edge. Place each finished pie on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and glaze with beaten egg.
- Repeat steps 2-3 until you run out of dough. Bake the pies 30-45 minutes or until golden.
- Let the pies cool at least five minutes before handling. Serve them while they are still warm.