Happy Easter, Harry!
by McGonaGirl, Dumbledwarf
Menu: Giant's Hot Cross Buns | Rich Seafood Chowder | Tonic Sprout Salad with Classic Vinaigrette | Syrup Baked Easter Oranges | Herbal Health Punch
Easter is a shorter term break than Christmas at Hogwart's, but some students opt to go home for the long weekend if they wish. Arrangements are made, and many parents actually come up to Hogsmeade to spend time with their children at the local inns.
Of course, Harry Potter stays at Hogwart's for all but the summer holidays. He didn't have permission to leave the school, but he considered it a treat enough to not be with the Dursleys, and didn't give it a second thought about with whom he'd share Easter. He cheerfully waved goodbye to his friends during his first spring break, then didn't think of them for the next few days.
Even on Easter morning, he slept happily through his normal wake-up time, and woke up only because his body was sore from all that time in bed! He was also hungry and feeling empty -- he'd spent so much time resting that his stomach growled loudly and long, so he wandered down to the Great Hall to see what he could scrounge. He had been subsisting on the snacks his friends had left him when they cleaned up before leaving for home, but they were long gone. Though it was early afternoon and between meal times, perhaps there were some leftovers he could have?
To his surprise, the Great Hall was empty. Had everyone left? Was he all alone? His mood dampened, he felt really hungry for the first time all weekend. Where could he go for food and companionship? He realized that part of his hunger was because he missed his friends; he was ready for them to come back to Hogwart's.
He went where he always did when he was at loose ends -- he took a walk to the school gamekeeper's hut. The big man was not home, but Harry let himself in, hoping he'd be welcome there. Hagrid had obviously just stepped out -- the smell of baking filled the room, and the pleasant smell of bubbling syrup added to the experience. Harry's mouth was watering, and he contemplated taking a bit of the rich soup boiling alongside the open syrup pot, when Hagrid and Fang walked in.
Surprised to see the young man, Hagrid let out, "Happy Easter, Harry! Come to join me for a bit of tucker, eh? Gets a mite bit lonely on holidays sometimes, so I greatly appreciate the company!"
Giant's Hot Cross Buns
Before Harry could explain to Hagrid that it was him who was hungry and lonely, the giant pulled out a tray of enormous, fragrant hot cross buns -- the traditional bread-cake of Easter. Redolent with currants, spices and fresh from the oven, they didn't even bother to ice the tops with the traditional white crosses before ripping into the steaming bread. Instead, they tore up the buns and smeared the icing over the pieces, as if it was butter. If you can't wait to pipe on the crosses, you can make the icing thinner and simply pour it over the buns, glazing them to a shiny, sticky sheen.
Butter a large baking pan or two lasagne pans (11" x 13").
Punch down the dough, then divide it into 24 pieces, then roll each into a ball. Place on the buttered pans with some room between them, then cover and let rise till doubled again, about 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 375°F/170°C. Carefully brush the rolls with eggwash, then score a cross into the tops -- the unglazed dough will come up upon baking. Bake for about 20 minutes, till golden brown and puffy. Remove to racks to cool. You're advised to let them cool a bit and to eat them warm rather than hot. When warm, pipe the icing over the scored crosses. If you can't wait, go ahead and let the icing melt all over the buns. Makes 2 dozen.
Rich Seafood Chowder
Though Hogwart's was not close to the sea, Hagrid traveled quite a bit to collect plants and things for the professors, and enjoyed talking to others about local animals and beasts. He always carried jars of homemade jam or pickles to trade for things, but was not above gambling to win things he really wanted. That's how he got Norbert's egg, and Aragog -- he won them at cards. On a recent trip, he had not fared so well, beast-wise, but he had won a food basket in a pub raffle. It had many cans and packets of seafood, donated by grocers, rather than by fishermen. Waste not, want not, so he dumped it all in a cauldron and made this thick, rich soup/stew. Harry ate four bowls of it, matching Hagrid at least in number of servings, if not in absolute quantity.
Tonic Sprout Salad with Classic Vinaigrette
Hagrid had been out in the gardens pinching a few of Professor Sprouts young, tender early spring greens. He only took a few stems from each set of plants to hide his crime. He felt guilty though, and always volunteered to weed or help with pest control in the greenhouse. In truth, Professor Sprout didn't mind; she knew about his pilfering, and always planted much more than she needed, planning for it! Out of respect for her, Hagrid called this "Sprout Salad," as a sort of dedication to her. (Maybe he even fancied her a bit?)
Hagrid's father had told him that as soon as the seedlings sprouted in spring, he had to eat a big bowlful of them, to counteract "winter ills." It was a very effective seasonal tonic. So he told Harry to eat up, too -- and it would stop the gas he was suffering, having eaten too many crisps and junk food over the holiday. Harry was quite surprised that the spicy and bitter greens mixture was actually quite refreshing, and he felt virtuous and cleansed for having eaten it. (It might also have been the excitement of being able to tell Ron and Hermione about his discovery that Hagrid and Professor Sprout liked each other!)
Syrup Baked Easter Oranges
A pair of Saxon witches swung by on their motorbike and sidecar, to talk to some professors at Hogwart's after they had visited the Holy Lands in the Middle East. They had brought some fruits back for Professor Sprout, telling her that they were deliberately bitter, grown to commemorate some of the dark happenings that had occurred recently as well as in the distant past. To thank Hagrid for helping de-slug the school cabbages, she gave him some of the oranges, and told him to "bake them like apples." He discussed this comment with Harry who suggested using some of the syrup Hagrid had been boiling down on the stove. Hagrid had been helping Professor Sprout with experiments using American sugar maple trees, and so had some of the sap; they used the woodsy, sweet sauce and came up with this concoction, to bake on the grill over Hagrid's fireplace. They were good! These work on any orange, bitter or sweet. Just adjust the syrup to your liking.
Peel the oranges with a knife, cutting into the juicy part and discarding the outer membrane and pith. Slice the oranges crosswise into ½ to ¾ inch thick slices (parallel to the "equator" of the orange). Reassemble the orange into the foil packet, and pour a bit of syrup and orange-flavored liqueur between the slices and over the top; use more if you'd like. Top with the other half of the butter, then seal the foil packet so the juices can't escape.
Grill these for about 10 minutes, till hot and puffed with steam. Remove carefully, and serve with a knife and fork.
Herbal Health Punch
Poppy Pomfrey looked after the health of the professors as well as the students, and would often make restoratives over the holiday breaks so that the teachers would be ready for the onslaught of students again. She and Professor Snape often collaborated on these, being that their interests overlapped, and she would send tankards and flagons of it to all the staff. Hagrid's share showed up halfway through his meal with Harry, and he was kind enough to share this tasty, herbal potion with him. Despite it's medicinal intentions, it's very tasty, and the rosemary flavor is so unusual. If you prefer, replace it with mint.
Harry thought how lucky he really was. Despite his upbringing, he had manage to stumble on a group of people who loved him for what he was, not for where he came from. He sniffed the aroma the draught, feeling the medieval-ness of the brew, the long history; paired with everything about Hogwart's, he knew this would be his home forever. He thanked Hagrid from deep within his heart, and toasted him. He didn't know why he was here, or what his future held, but it didn't matter. This Easter, he felt reborn and renewed!
If you don't have any of the other fruit, you can feel free to leave it out. This punch is not bad without it. But if you do have it, add it to the strained liquid in the punch bowl, then add the rest of the water, the seltzer and the lime or grapefruit juice. Stir to combine everything, and serve with ice if desired. Makes 20 to 40 servings.
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