“There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class. As such, I don’t expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion making. However, for those select few who possess the pre-disposition, I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses; I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death.” ~ Severus Snape
My last Harry Potter post…I’m sad again! First I finish rereading the books for about the millionth time…sad (yes, it still makes me sad.) Then I see the last movie…sad. And now my effort to prolong the magic is over too. Sorry to put such a damper on here, I just love Harry Potter! (Disclaimer: I’ve sort of broken my own rules in regards to this post. The mousses, gelatin and bon bons [technically truffles] did not require baking. But, seeing as this is honoring Harry Potter and probably a one-time occurrence, I decided it was ok this time. They are still desserts, right?!)
Let me begin by saying that the idea for the potions should be credited to my friend, Lindsay. Before our lengthy discussion of the last movie, she helped me brainstorm some ideas for my last post. Originally I planned to make treacle tart, Harry’s favorite dessert. But when I looked up some recipes, it sounded like, well…certainly not my favorite dessert. As I try to make desserts that I’ll actually eat, I passed on the treacle tart. Sorry, Harry. Lindsay eventually came up with the potions idea, and as I’d never seen anything like that done before, I decided to give it a go. Oh and the exploding bon bons I found on a blog and thought they were ingenious. I thought they would complement the potions for a nice Harry Potter celebration, a Leaving Feast, if you will.
After lots more brainstorming through the whole of last week, I came up with five potions, consisting of four different mousses, each a different flavor, and a gelatin. I won’t go into each particular difficulty, but I will just say that I’ll probably never make so many different things in one night ever again, at least by myself. I had some Harry Potter movies on in the background - how appropriate, right? - and the Goblet of Fire and almost all of the Order of the Phoenix played while I was in the kitchen trying to finish this madness. Two movies! It took forever. I think the hard work paid off though. Enjoy!
Polyjuice Potion - allows one to take on the appearance of another person.
Polyjuice potion, which Hermoine succeeded in making in their second year, is a thick, dark, mud-like potion that requires something of the person whose appearance one is assuming, like strands of hair, before bubbling and frothing into another color reminiscent of said person. Harry’s turned a bright gold color when six of his friends took on his appearance in the Deathly Hallows.
I used dark chocolate mousse for the potion and broken pretzel pieces coated in chocolate to represent hair. (Pull-apart black licorice would also work well.)
Veritaserum (or truth serum) - a clear, colorless, odorless potion that forces the drinker to tell the truth.
Harry is threatened by Snape with truth serum and almost tricked into drinking some by Dolores Umbridge. It is strictly controlled by the Ministry of Magic. There is an antidote to Veritaserum, which Professor Slughorn carried with him in the Half-Blood Prince when he was afraid of Harry using truth serum to procure the Horcrux memory from him.
I started with a flavorless gelatin and added white grape juice to keep it looking as clear as possible. I thought a splash of ginger ale would create a fun, bubbly effervescence though!
Amortentia - the most powerful love potion in the world, which causes intense infatuation or obsession in the drinker.
This potion smells different to everyone, according to what attracts each person. Hermoine smells freshly cut grass, new parchment and, embarrassed, doesn’t mention the last thing she smells in the book. (In the movie, she says spearmint toothpaste, which is the toothpaste Ron uses, of course.) Amortentia reminds Harry simultaneously of treacle tart, the handle of a broomstick and “something flowery he thought he might have smelled at the Burrow,” which he later learns is the smell of Ginny Weasley’s hair.
I used white chocolate mousse because the potion has a mother-of-pearl sheen to it, and the cotton candy represents the steam that rises from it in characteristic spirals.
Felix Felicis (or liquid luck or lucky potion) - causes the drinker to become lucky and succeed in everything he or she attempts while under its influence.
Professor Horace Slughorn introduces this potion as a prize in his first potions lesson in the Half-Blood Prince. The Prince, in fact, helps Harry to win. Taken in excess it causes giddiness, recklessness and dangerous overconfidence. It is banned in sporting competitions, examinations and elections. Later Harry uses it to succeed in getting the important Horcrux memory from Slughorn himself.
I made a butterscotch sauce, which is quite like making caramel, mixed in some whipped cream (so it makes a very light mousse) and then added a few drops of yellow food coloring. You know, just melting some butterscotch chips would have been much easier. The only reason I didn’t do this was to save four dollars when I wouldn’t even need the whole bag. I’ll spare you the gory details, but, for the love of sanity, just buy the butterscotch chips! Four dollars is better than the 50 dollars you’ll spend at the salon after you’ve pulled your hair out! Making the sauce was actually the easy part. Adding the whipped cream and food coloring was the problem. It curdled into some weird substance before I decided to use less whipped cream and to thin it out by stirring instead of traditional folding and then add food coloring.
And because I’m obsessed with accuracy, I made the potion the color of molten gold, as it’s described in the book. The movie, for some unfathomable reason, makes the potion clear like Veritaserum. Madness!
Pepper Up Potion - cures the common cold and helps the drinker to warm up quickly when cold.
Madam Pomfrey administers Pepper Up potion in the Goblet of Fire to those who came out of the freezing lake after the second task of the Triwizard Tournament. She also had to give out a lot of this potion to ailing students when colds were rampant during Harry, Hermoine and Ron’s second year. As a side effect, it causes steam to come out of the drinker’s ears.
This is a white chocolate mousse, with some peppermint extract and red food coloring added, and a “Mexican” chocolate stick for garnish. To quickly make your own Mexican chocolate, add some cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to melted chocolate. Then pipe it onto wax paper and let it harden in the freezer. (A word to the wise: use baking chocolate or a chocolate bar and not chocolate chips when making mousse. Chocolate chips contain parafin and adding liquid causes it to harden back up. Disastrous for making mousse in other words.)
Exploding Bon Bons - one of the many types of candy sold at Honeydukes in Hogsmeade. In the movie Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Professor Umbridge forbade these bon bons from exploding in school by order of Educational Decree Number Sixty Seven.
So these are pretty easy to make, just messy. It’s just melted and chilled baking chocolate rolled into balls, rolled in Pop Rocks, dipped in melted chocolate chips, and sprinkled with more Pop Rocks. This is an ingenious way of making Exploding Bon Bons!
(Butterscotch Sauce from Smitten Kitchen)
(White chocolate and butterscotch mousse adapted from Cauldron Cake mousse)