The world of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire might not seem like the place to go for fine dining — unless you’ve got a hankering for some raw horse heart, that is. But you might be surprised — delicious treats abound in Alan Kistler’s The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook, all inspired by food found in the epic fantasy series, from deadly cocktails to castle feasts to girlish delicacies. And yes, the book includes a recipe for “Khaleesi’s Heart” — cooked, thank goodness, but spicy (and strange) enough to make eating it a feat even so. We’ve pulled five recipes from the cookbook to inspire the feast you’re doubtless preparing for tonight’s Game of Thrones Season 2 premiere. After all, if you’re trying to woo a fellow nerd, there’s nothing better than some authentic lemon cakes to sweeten the evening — and hey, if they still refuse you, you can always just slip them a little poison.
Arya’s Lemon Cakes
Despite her youth, Arya is one of the most strong-willed and determined characters when we first meet her. But as her sister Sansa is aware, the youngest Stark girl does have one weakness: lemon cakes. Just a mention of them can distract the free-spirited Arya from her impulse to defy orders and conventions—if only for a few moments. To Arya, the cakes represent happy times at home, something worth selling street-caught pigeons for when times are tough. (A Game of Thrones, Chapter 15 — Sansa)
Makes 10–12 small cakes
1 1/2 cups warm milk
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
1/4 teaspoon lemon verbena oil or lemon extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dried lemon verbena, crushed
1. In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar, and yeast. Set aside for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
2. Mix in egg, lemon verbena oil, 1 tablespoon of the butter, salt, flour, and dried lemon verbena. Beat together 5 minutes until a smooth dough is formed.
3. Cover with plastic wrap and rise in a warm spot for about 11/2 hours (until doubled in volume).
4. Heat griddle over high heat. Test by sprinkling on a little water. If griddle sizzles and water evaporates, it’s ready.
5. Lower heat to medium-low. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter on the griddle. Place muffin rings on griddle and fill halfway with batter. Cover loosely with foil and cook until cakes are browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
6. Using spatula or tongs, flip over each small cake and ring. Cover and cook another 5 minutes. Serve warm.
A Word of Wisdom: Muffin or crumpet rings will keep your cakes thicker and compact. If you don’t have any handy, you can cut open both ends of short, metal food cans—like those used to pack tuna. Remove the labels and wash them very thoroughly. When you’re ready to make lemon cakes, flour the inside well then use them instead of muffin rings.
Recipe and image courtesy The Unofficial Game of Thrones Cookbook: From Direwolf Ale to Auroch Stew – More Than 150 Recipes from Westeros and Beyond (F+W Media, April 2012) by Alan Kistler