Okay, to start this off, I should give a big thank you to my university. During my ‘Introduction to Children’s Fiction’, I was introduced to ‘Anne of Green Gables’… and I loved this book. I still do, in fact, and I knew that eventually I was going to get around to create a dish from it. In truth this isn’t the first time I’ve ever made a dish from the book, as the copy I’d originally bought from my local book store (it was Waterstones, guys, no bias—it was just what was available) had a recipe for the Raspberry Tart Anne ate at the end of it. It was whilst making this recipe I discovered that it was essentially a Bakewell tart with peaches and a surprisingly small amount of raspberries.
As I type this I’m still waiting for the new series/season of ‘Anne with an E’ to come out on Netflix. I’m sure it’s out somewhere, the trailer dropped a couple of months back, but at least as I type—it doesn’t seem to be reaching my Netflix at all. I loved the book and, although I’ve seen no other adaptation, I do love this one (with no comparison other than the original book). Although they’ve made many changes, modernised slightly to create better, more fitting roles for these characters than their time period actually allowed, all of the fun personalities and captivating plot-points have remained.
And Anne? She’s freaking amazing. I have used the term ‘providing enough scope for the imagination’ every day over my impatient year waiting for the new series. I knew that when creating a dish, I couldn’t just do the plain Raspberry Tart I’d originally made back at University—no, I had to use my imagination. I had to imagine a more extravagant affair, something Anne could have only dreamed of (and I’ve no doubt, would have).
And so I bring you—my ‘Anne of Green Gables Scope-For-The-Imagination Raspberry Tart’. An apricot mousse, sitting on an almond base, topped with a lusciously smooth raspberry jelly, surrounded by Anne’s preferred ‘puff sleeves’ (choux buns filled with an almond crème diplomat for that fragrant frangipane flavour), and topped with a crown of twigs and leaves befitting of the regality of Princess Cordelia (brandy snaps, made with Breton honey and mint leaves).
It was my first time making many of the elements—a fruit mousse, a blended-dried-apricot filling, a crystal-clear jelly (not quite, but close). The choux buns, admittedly, are something I can do practically in my sleep but in a new, highly unpredictable oven it was touch and go whether they’d turn out as well as I wanted. Even the red caramel used to stick the choux together was an experiment never attempted before.
I hope Anne would be proud of my efforts. I would be proud to serve it to her, if only there weren’t a generation and a reality-fiction border separating us I’m sure we would—moderately, tolerate each other. We’re very alike, is all I mean, and I know that tends to make for a bad friendship. But still, I could hope. I’ve never seen a character so beloved, and such a strong representative of her adoptive home that the writer herself gave all rights to her and her words to that home in reality. Go Anne and go Prince Edward Island. Believe me, the only thing stopping me from visiting is my fear of any form of travel (especially heights, sorry Canada).
So until the day I gain some guts and adopt an Anne-style-bravery I’ll stay content with cooking up my creations and sitting down to watch ‘Anne with An E’. Seriously though, Netflix, it is coming on soon, right?
Bonus points to the fact that I used the remainder of the pudding to create a dessert spread for my new French neighbours. You know you’ve done something right when the locals ask why you don’t try being a baker for a living. Especially when you happen to live in the land of great bakers. Honestly, though it was sweet of them, my confidence levels are at 0 most of the time—so I think I’ve got a long way to go before I can manage that.
Thank you, Anne. Thank you, Lucy Maud Montgomery. Keep being you—and keep using that imagination. It’s a gift, believe me. A curse too—but also a great gift.