With the second Fantastic Beasts‘ film coming out this week, I thought I’d continue my Wizarding Thanksgiving spread with a dish inspired by the first one. As you read from last week’s Ilvermorny Cranberry Pie post, I hosted a Wizard-themed party a few weeks ago. Since some of my guests have gluten sensitivities and vegan diets, I wanted to give them a few more magically delicious options than a veggie tray. That’s why chose to honor Queenie Goldstein’s welcoming spirit in a recipe for an Apple Strudel Chutney that makes a great side on the Thanksgiving table.
Click here to skip to the recipe for Queenie Goldstein’s Apple Strudel Chutney.
Queenie Goldstein, Welcoming Witch
We first see Queenie accepting Newt and Jake into her home with a warm smile, a cup of cocoa, and a platter full of strudel. Indeed, it’s easier to welcome someone into your home when legilimens powers enable you to read their thoughts and intentions like an open book.
However, when one can’t help but hear the sob story of every person who crosses your path, most would grow jaded and flee the world. As she says, “people are easiest to read when they’re hurting.” Queenie Goldstein chooses not only to listen but also to care. In the Wizarding World where literally reading minds is a skill and talent, love and kindness is a choice. And as another famous wizard said, “It is our choices (…) that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
So this Thanksgiving, choose to make yourself a Queenie among magical folk and muggles. And what better way to welcome your loved ones, both old and new, than with a cup of cocoa and a plate full of apple strudel? That sounds like a great choice if you ask me.
Fantastic Feasts and How to Fry Them
Since the first Fantastic Beasts film came out, I know Queenie’s Apple Strudel has done by everybody. But as I mentioned earlier, I had friends with dietary restrictions attending my party. That’s why I chose to nix the pastry to make it gluten-free. This makes it so you can spread this sweet apple goodness on rolls, turkey, whatever you’d like. If your friends or family are not big on cranberry sauce from a can, try this alternative to shake things up a bit this Thanksgiving. I leave it up to you whether to make it vegan or not by using olive oil instead of butter to fry the apples.
Apples have a funny relationship with both mystical and American cultures. We see them giving life and immortality in Norse and Greek mythology. They symbolize love and sensuality in Greek and Biblical lore. They appear in folk rituals and traditions in the British Isles. On Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah, their consumption with honey toasts a “sweet new year.”
In America John “Appleseed” Chatman promoted conservation by planting small nurseries of apple trees wherever he went. Chatman was against grafting, though, so these trees yielded common, or crab, apples that were only suitable for cider. European apple seed varietals found their way through Native American and Colonial trade routes, but the apple industry didn’t boom until the early 20th century after development of irrigation projects in Washington state. It seems fitting that we have muggle modernity to thank for fresh fruit availability in the steel-girded New York City.
A traditional strudel mixes in raisins, vanilla, and pine nuts, but I also chose to add some sage and rosemary. To the Native American Tribes, the pine tree symbolizes creativity, peace, and harmony. Iroquois tribes also burned pine wood to pacify ghosts and banish nightmares. Sage, thought to promote immortality and wisdom in European folklore, also acted as a key ingredient in Native American spiritual purification rituals. Queenie attended Ilvermorny where magic instruction follows a cultural blend of Native American and European traditions, so it makes sense for it to play a role in her kitchen.
I chose rosemary as an ingredient since it represents remembrance, a significant element to Queenie’s character since she had to wipe Jacob’s memory. Vanilla, funnily enough, traditionally stands for love, lust, and mental powers — a callback to Queenie’s legilimens power and empathy. I had to giggle when she arranged apple slices into the shape of roses since rosewater was the primary baking flavor before vanilla became popular in the late 1800’s. It makes you wonder if those apple roses were more than just a garnish when she first learned to cook.
I digress, though. Who’s ready for some strudel-chutney?
“You bake, honey? I love to cook!”
Queenie Goldstein's Apple Strudel Chutney
Equipment: Stovetop, skillet, spatula, and food processor.
- 1/2 cup of pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter
- 4-6 apples, cored, peeled, and diced
- 1/2 cup of seedless raisins
- 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
- 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- kosher salt
- Crush the herbs with your fingers until they soften to the consistency of large breadcrumbs, then set aside.
- Heat your skillet over a medium-high flame on the stovetop. Add the pine nuts when the skillet is hot enough to sizzle a few drops of water on impact. Dry-roast 30 seconds to a minute, periodically shaking the skillet, until lightly browned on all sides. Transfer the nuts to the food processor.
- Place the skillet back on the stove and pour in the olive oil or butter. Lower the heat to medium.
Add the apples and a pinch of kosher salt when the oil starts to smoke (or when the butter starts foaming). Allow them to cook for a minute then stir in the raisins and half of the brown sugar. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with the water and lemon juice, then stir in the herbs and remaining sugar. Cook, occasionally stirring, until the liquid absorbs and the pan is clean after passing a spatula through the mixture.
- Remove the skillet from heat and transfer its contents to the food processor. Add the vanilla and another pinch of kosher salt, then process until smooth.
- Scrape the contents of the food processor into a serving dish with a spatula. Garnish with any extra apple spices, raisins, and pine nuts.