Baking from Books: Honeymoles

Outcast of Redwall

When I was in elementary school and utterly enchanted by Brian Jacques’s Redwall books, I asked my mum if we could have a meal where all the food came from Redwall.

“We’ll need recipes,” she pointed out.

“They’re right in the books!” I said, and showed her.

What was in the books was a description of the characters making food, often with ingredients such as “meadowcream” that don’t quite exist in our world. To me, this was a recipe. To Mum, it wasn’t. (With the logic of hindsight, I can admit that she was right: often-incomplete or interrupted descriptions of making food are not recipes.) But together (she being a clever cook and a loving mum, and I being a determined Redwaller) we made dinner and dessert that came from my favourite Abbey. I don’t remember what the main course was, nor do I remember what book it came from, but as Yash’s instigation, this week I recreated the dessert, made by Dibbuns (young children) sneaking into the kitchen among the bustling adults. I remembered this “recipe” as coming from The Outcast of Redwall, but was unable to find it in a frantic re-skim. Therefore this post is missing the exact quote (alas!); however, I do recall the process.

The Dibbuns took pastry scraps (the cooks were making pies) and in each pastry placed a strawberry and a raspberry, which they drizzled with honey. Then they folded the pastries, drizzled them with honey again, and slid them into the oven beside the pies. The Dibbuns dubbed (couldn’t resist the alliteration) these creations “honeymoles.” The narrator comments that “[the honeymoles] looked nothing like a honeyed mole, but the Dibbuns” thought they did and were delighted with their invention. (Quoting from memory there, please forgive any errors, or better yet, tell me which book this passage comes from and I’ll update this.)

To elementary-school-aged me, the recipe was obvious. (I didn’t know how to make a pie crust, but that was entirely irrelevant.)

My version of honeymoles:

  • Make a pie crust (enough for a single or double shell, depends on how many honeymoles you want) and roll. How thick or thin you roll the pastry depends on how thick or thin you like it. Remember not to overwork the pastry or it will be tough instead of tender and flaky.
  • Cut out circles of pastry, using a flour-dusted drinking glass or cookie cutter. You will want this big enough to fold around the fruit; if the circles aren’t exact it isn’t a problem though. The Dibbuns used scraps, after all.
  • Inside each circle place one strawberry and one raspberry. (Frozen works fine.) Drizzle with honey. Alternately, and since I can’t remember what order this occurred in the book, you could drizzle the circle with honey before you add the fruit. (For those of you who prefer savory over sweet, omitting the honey at this stage is fine too; Yash liked honeymoles with less honey and I liked them with more – it’s all down to personal preference. Me, I bet those Dibbuns piled on the honey. Another note: if the frozen strawberries are humongous, go ahead and cut them in half. Sometimes this is necessary. Also, realistically, the Dibbuns would definitely have eaten the biggest strawberries before they decided to make anything with them; I seem to recall a strawberry-eating contest at some point in the same book.)
  • Fold the pastry over the berries and pinch to keep it together.
  • Place fold-up or fold-down on a baking tray. (Again, your call, depending on whether you like your pastries with smooth tops or lovely unfolding ones. I couldn’t decide this week, so I made both, and both looked good. The fold-up ones tended to open as they baked, ending up like mini-quiches or like flowers. I took advantage of this by adding a dollop of whipping cream onto the open face. Yum!)
  • Drizzle with honey (Don’t do this step long before they go into the oven or the honey will run off).
  • Bake at whatever temperature you like (I couldn’t find a consensus on pastry-baking, so I went with 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the honeymoles were a lovely golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool but not for long because everything is best eaten hot 🙂

The fruit and honey will leave a bit of a mess on your baking tray but if it isn’t burnt, peel it off and eat it too. Enjoy your honeymoles!

Dec 10 2013 - honeymoles

[Edit: honeymoles actually come from The Pearls of Lutra, pages 270-271. Thanks to Samantha for finding this! Here is the passage that so inspired me:

Foremole blinked quizzically at [the young moles] over the top of a special deeper’n ever pie he was creating. ‘Hurr, wot do ee wanten all um pastry furr, Gadgee?’

The molebabe Gadgee poked his snout out form under a floppy layer of pastry he was carrying. ‘Furr maken ‘unneymoles, zurr!’

Skipper joined the little moles as they kneaded dough on a countertop, busy as bees and covered in flour. ‘Ahoy, mates, wot’s an ‘unneymole?’ he asked.

Gurrbowl crossed his digging claws on his stomach, tut tutting at the otter’s ignorance. ‘Chut chut, zurr! You’m doan’t knoaw wot ee ‘unneymole is? Lukk an’ oi’ll show ee, you’m pay ‘tenshun naow!’

The molebabe rolled out a small patch of pastry, spread it thick with honey and placed on it a strawberry and a raspberry. Wrapping the pastry carefully over the fruit he coated the lot with a mixture of honey and damson juice. It looked nothing like a honeyed mole, but the molebabes thought it did. Gurrbowl licked his digging claws proudly and added his ”unneymole’ to several others on a tray, ready to go in the oven. He wrinkled his nose proudly at Skipper.

‘Hurr, that’n be ‘ow t’make ‘unneymoles, zurr!’

Now, to figure out what exactly goes into a deeper’n ever pie…]