27 January 2011

27 January - Lewis Carroll; Chess Tarts

Born today in 1832, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known to most of the world by his pen name, "Lewis Carroll": mathematician, Oxford don, photographer, inventor, and, of course, author.

"Curiouser and curiouser"

The man himself is touted as an enigma [although I feel that much of it is sensationalism mixed with a generous amount of wishful thinking].  Be that as it may, his fertile imagination and gift for word games produced two books with which I have whiled away many hours of enjoyment: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

You can read more about the author at the Lewis Carroll Society (UK) and the Lewis Carroll Society of North America websites, and find a lot of interesting information about the books, like notes about Tenniel's illustrations, or how to throw your own Wonderland Tea Party, at Lenny's Alice in Wonderland site.

In honor of both books, make a nice pot of tea, and bake CHESS TARTS:
The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
All on a summer's day...
[although her's were probably jam tarts]

Line small fluted tart pans with pie pastry, and refrigerate.
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Grate the rind of 1 lemon, then juice the lemon and reserve.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat 3 eggs vigorously, then add 3/4 cup of sugar and a pinch of salt, and beat until smooth.  Stir in the butter, lemon rind, and juice.

Fill tart shells with the mixture.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Cool completely.
Or you can make a CHESS PIE if you are so inclined:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a pie plate with one crust.  Melt 1/2 cup of butter.

In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 cup of packed brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of flour.

In a smaller bowl, beat 2 eggs lightly; then stir in 2 tablespoons of milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and the melted butter.  Pour into sugar/flour mixture, and mix well.  Stir in 1 cup of pecans or walnuts; pour into pie pan. 

Bake for about 45 minutes.  Let cool before serving.

For dinner... well, it won't be Mock Turtle Soup ("... so rich and green, waiting in a hot tureen...), at least not as Reverend Dodgson would have known it (and Mrs. Goodfellow printed in her Cookery Book).  Nor do I think a Leg of Mutton, as there is always the danger of being introduced to the entree.

"You look a little shy; let me introduce you to that leg of mutton"

Tonight it will be a substantial tea, with bread-and-butter, ham sandwiches (and hay), and the tarts.  And maybe oyster stew.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes - and ships - and sealing wax -
Of cabbages - and kings -
And why the sea is boiling hot -
And whether pigs have wings..."