Whimsical puff pastry cauldrons, ready to be filled with your potion of choice! This recipe provides a simple custard, but just about any filling, savory or sweet, is an excellent choice.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Calories (in custard): 80 per serving
Another entry in the foods of Harry Potter! While most fan creations I’ve seen for Harry Potter foods feel pretty spot-on, there are two for which I still haven’t found a recipe that is both delicious and “authentic*”: butterbeer and cauldron cakes.
*Because I’m obviously the authority on such things :P. What I mean: recipes that use methods and/or ingredients that plausibly feel as though they would be in the wizarding world
While I’m still on a quest for the perfect butterbeer (mostly because I don’t have a clear idea what it tastes like, though I’m excited to give this one a shot), cauldron cakes seem an achievable goal. Most fan recipes I’ve seen have been some variation of chocolate cupcakes turned over with the centers cut out and filled with icing. While these are certainly delicious, they don’t match what I always envisioned a cauldron cake to be; that is, a Danish-like pastry, with various fillings.
My adventures in cauldron making (and there were many, most of them misadventures…) led me to develop this recipe. While these aren’t exactly true to the lore surrounding cauldron cakes (according to Rowling, they’re stackable and were first made in Pakistan; these don’t stack well with certain fillings, and are definitely not Pakistani in inspiration), these are a balance between a pastry that’s not too sweet and comes in a fun cauldron shape.
Because this recipe makes some whimsical cauldrons! Part of the charm is how much character each cauldron has. I tried a few different methods for getting a recognizable cauldron shape, but today’s is the one that won out.
And because you bake them unfilled (the puff pastry starts out too shallow, then rises too much to hold the right amount of filling for the final baked good), you have a lot of room for creativity with the filling. It would be really cool to have a cauldron cake assembly area at a party; you could lay out a bunch of fillings (savory and sweet!) with the baked cauldrons and people could fill them as they wished.
The nutrition on this one is tough to cover; it all depends on what kind of puff pastry you use, how many scraps you have leftover, the fillings you use, etc., so I’ve only included the nutrition for the custard. Speaking of the custard, the amount given won’t fill 12 cauldrons, because I assumed that you might want to use different fillings! If you do want to fill them all with custard, simply double the custard recipe.
If using frozen puff pastry, place it out to thaw now.
Make the custard
Place 240 ml (1 cup) milk, 2 large egg yolks, 50 g (1/4 cup) sugar, 1 Tablespoon corn starch and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a small saucepan.
Whisk vigorously to mix together
Place the saucepan over medium-low heat.
Stirring constantly (make sure to scrape the bottom as you do), cook mixture until it thickens and boils, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and stir to mix it in.
Scrape into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming.
Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the cauldrons
Check that your oven rack is set to the middle position and set oven to 400 F | 200 C | Gas Mark 6 to preheat.
On a floured work surface, roll out thawed puff pastry dough
Using the biscuit cutter, cut 18 dough disks.
Using the cutter that is slightly smaller than the biscuit cutter, cut out the centers of 12 of the disks, setting aside the centers.
Assemble the cauldrons:
Have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a nonstick silicone baking mat ready.
Dip or brush one side of the disks that don’t have their centers cut out (should be 6) in the egg wash and place them egg-wash side up on the baking sheet, spacing them evenly.
Dip both sides of the remaining puff pastry dough disks in the egg wash, stacking 2 on each of the base disks.
Make sure there isn’t excessive egg wash on any of the pieces.
To make the little handles on the cauldrons:
Pinch little bits of the leftover dough and roll them into balls. Dunk them in the egg wash and place 2 on each of the rims of the assembled cauldrons.
Don’t bother filling the cauldrons.
Bake the cauldrons for 15 minutes, or until they are puffed up and golden brown.
Remove to wire cooling rack and allow to cool on baking sheet.