Marie Cooks Skyrim: Lavender Dumplings

Honestly, lavender dumplings were one of the food items in Skyrim I thought I might not get around to doing. Lavender has a pretty powerful floral taste, after all, and the idea of a pastry with a lavender filling seemed like a bit too much. The in-game ingredients include moon sugar, flour, snowberries, and lavender… which got me thinking. Could there be a way to make a cranberry-lavender filling that tasted good? It didn’t take me long at all to find a recipe for lemon-lavender cranberry chutney and a couple other recipes for hand-pies that called to use leftover Thanksgiving cranberry sauce. I was happy with how well these hand pies turned out, although Joe thought they were a bit too tart. Next time, I might add a little dollop of dessert cheese such as white stilton, chevre, or ricotta to each pie to balance the flavor a little. As is, if you’re looking for tangy treat, these pies hit the spot!

Lavender-Cranberry Sauce
1/2 lb fresh cranberries
1/4 c dark cherry juice or pomegranate juice
3oz fresh raspberries
zest of 1/2 lemon (or 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon peel)
1/2 tsp lavender flowers
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup

Put all ingredients in a medium pot. Stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, about 20 minutes, or until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is the consistency you like. It will thicken up more when it cools. This is the perfect amount to use up in the dumplings, but you could make more and use it up on sandwiches or alongside Thanksgiving dinner!

Flaky Pie Crust (for a double-crusted pie)
8 oz all purpose flour
1/2 oz sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
8 oz unsalted butter
4 oz cold tap water

1) Whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium bowl. Cut butter into cubes no smaller than 1/2-inch, and toss with flour mixture to break up the pieces. With your fingertips, smash each cube flat. Stir in water, then knead dough against the sides of the bowl until it comes together in a shaggy ball. Refrigerate briefly before rolling and folding 2) On a generously floured work surface, roll dough into a roughly 10- by 15-inch rectangle. Fold the 10-inch sides to the center, then close the newly formed packet like a book. Fold in half once more, bringing the short sides together to create a thick block. Divide in half with a sharp knife or bench scraper. Refrigerate briefly before proceeding.

Cranberry Hand Pies
1 cranberry sauce recipe
1 dough recipe
egg wash: one egg whisked with a splash of water
raw sugar (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 385 F.
2) Using as much flour as needed, roll one piece of dough into approximately a 14 inch circle. Use a glass or cookie cutter, cut 4-inch circles from the dough. I had enough dough total for about 14 circles.
3) Dollop a heaping table spoon of cranberry sauce onto half of the dough circles. Top each cranberry circle with another circle of dough and crimp the edges. Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with raw sugar if desired, then slice 2 criss-cross vents in the top.
4) Place the hand pies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20-30 minutes, until crust is golden-brown.

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