The Trolley Witch! And pumpkin pasties.

This blog post contains mild spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide.

For those of us who have read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the trolley witch is both a familiar character and a new one.  We have seen her before and even heard her speak, but she’s never had a story before.  That’s exactly what Cursed Child addresses, presenting her as an archetype with motivation but without a name:  too old, too great, and too Other for a name.  Crone!  As old as time, of the same tribe as Augusta Longbottom, Griselda Marchbanks, Auntie Muriel, and — as we see from her Hecate-like ability to dispatch three cat Patronuses simultaneously — Minerva McGonagall.  With those spiky clawed hands, the trolley witch is a harpy as well — a bit like veela, but happily without the sexist implications.  More like Irma Pince, a minor deity with dominion over a specific magical site.

We learn in Cursed Child that the trolley witch was appointed by Ottaline Gambol, who was, according to Pottermore and Hogwarts:  A Complete and Unreliable Guide, a Minister for Magic.  A later Minister for Magic, Evangeline Orpington, completed the institution of the Hogwarts Express by building a concealed wizarding platform at King’s Cross Station.  This makes the Hogwarts Express the result of magical collaboration of a triumvirate of powerful witches.  Presumably, Ministers Orpington and Gambol have passed on — although the trolley witch frets about letting down Ottaline Gambol, so who knows?  But the trolley witch is going strong, enforcing crone authority upon successive generations of magical schoolchildren.

She says she’s made over six million pumpkin pasties with her own hands.  Over 190 years on the job, that comes to fewer than 100 pasties per day, an easily managed number even by Muggle production methods.  With magic, it should be no problem at all.

Pumpkin Pasties

Bake pumpkin pie filling in pie plates without crustaccording to label instructions.

Make 2 or 3 batches of pie crust (1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup unsalted butter kept very cold, pinch of salt, enough ice water to form ball of dough).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Roll out dough, cut into 3″ rounds, place teaspoonful of pumpkin pie filling into center, fold over into half-moons, crimp edges, pierce with fork.  Bake until browned.

(Yes, this is a very inexact recipe that makes all sorts of assumptions about prior experience on part of the baker.  It won’t come out even; there’ll be too much filling.  But by the time you’ve rolled out two or three crusts’ worth of pie dough and made it all into pumpkin pasties, you’ll be happy enough to decide that the leftover filling can just be eaten with a spoon, perhaps with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.)

 

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