Lanternfish Press

Rare & Strange

A Hobbit's Thanksgiving

Amanda Thomas

If you're anything like me, you've totally tried to convince your family (or your in laws) to serve a hobbit themed Thanksgiving. No? I guess it's just me then.

I've never managed to convince my family to give up the traditional turkey dinner. But here are some sneaky ways to bring hobbit cuisine to the table this year.

Seed Cake

Seed cakes date all the way back to the middle ages. Traditionally flavored with caraway seeds, they are also quite tasty with other flavorings like orange and lavender. Below is my recipe which is based heavily on this one.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Combine in a mixing bowl and set aside:

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons ground almonds (or cashews)

Cream until smooth and light colored:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar or maple sugar

Add one at a time, mixing after each addition:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest

Add alternately, the dry ingredients and 

  • 1/3 cup milk

Gently fold in:

  • 3 Tablespoons caraway seeds

Pour the batter into a 9x5 loaf pan which has been buttered and lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with a little sugar if desired.

Bake for 60 minutes, or until lightly brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan.

Rabbit Stew with Po-tay-toes

A delicious stew that Sam Gamgee would be proud of. It is based on this lovely recipe. I've added some herbs, potatoes and carrots to the mix. As an aside, Hunter • Angler • Gardener • Cook is a fantastic resource for anyone who hunts or just enjoys cooking game.

Salt and set aside for 10 minutes:

  • 2 cottontail rabbits or 1 domestic rabbit, cut in small pieces

Brown the rabbit in batches over medium-high heat with

  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Cook until just beginning to brown

  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

Sprinkle with

  • 2 Tablespoons flour

and cook until browned.

Return the rabbit to the pan and add:

  • 2 cups chicken stock


  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 medium potato, cubed
  • 2 carrots, sliced

Cook gently until the rabbit is falling off the bone, 90 minutes to 3 hours. Remove the bones, bay leaves and rosemary. Add:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons capers
  • 1/4 cup white wine

Do not allow the soup to simmer once the sour cream has been added!

Garnish with:

  • minced parsley
  • fresh cracked pepper.

Free Form Apple Tart

This recipe is originally from The Kitchn blog. I love it because it's so easy to make. No complicated puff pastry, no fancy tart pans. And it's generous enough for a big gathering, especially when served with vanilla ice cream.

A confession, I am known to use store bought puff pastry for this. Making puff pastry in the midst of Thanksgiving is a bit much for me. I'm not huge fan of the pastry from the original recipe. I prefer this one. But seriously, if you're making your own pasty, just about any recipe will do.

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

Roll the pasty dough to a rough 9x15 rectangle and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Fold over the edges of the dough to form a lip all the way around. Prick the crust all over and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

Core and quarter before slicing into 1/8" wedges:

  • 2-3 apples (~1 pound) Choose and apple that is decent for baking such as melrose, winesap, cortland, jonagold, gala, or braeburn.

Toss the apple slices with:

  • 2-4 Tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Arrange the apple slices neatly in overlapping rows running the length of the crust. Dot the top with:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small cubes

Bake for 45-50 minutes. Halfway through baking, rotate and sprinkle with:

  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Prepare the glaze while the tart is baking.

In a small sauce pan, bring to a boil:

  • 1/4 cup (seedless) fruit preserves (Apricot and raspberry both work well. Blueberry is delicious but makes everything an alarming shade of green)
  • 1 Tablespoon orange liqueur or water

Remove the tart from the oven when the crust is browned and the apples have colored a bit. Brush with the glaze and serve immediately.