TL;DR We start with the audience for inspiration and in this case, the audience is my fictional SO Hermione Granger. After stalking her, I create a dish especially for her.

Recipe: We created a dish that looks exactly like a normal pumpkin pie, but using savory flavors fit for a main course.

West Coast

Another method of creating a dish is starting with your audience. Ask yourself, who are you creating this dish for? In opening a restaurant, this is a very important to ask. The audience is what will determine your commercial viability.

For this post, East Coast decided that our audience would be a “Significant Other”. Due to my relationship status, I’ve chosen a fictional significant other: Hermione Granger.


For my research, I re-watched all 8 Harry Potter films. (JK.) (JK as in just kidding, not J.K. Rowling.) My sense of humor aside, I began by constructing a profile for Hermione:

Experimenting with Polyjuice Potion


Ice Cream


Fine with breaking the rules, sometimes


Cereal, not a big eater




Not dragon balls…



Hermione and Harry behind Hagrids pumpkin patch

Using that information I then developed “audience preference dimensions” to determine where to start my dish and where I could possibly take it. The “base” helps set the stage while the “margins” help me determine to what extent I can transform or evolve the dish.

  • Base
    • Tastes
    • Ingredients
  • Margins
    • Familiarity
    • Distortion
    • Spice

Putting this into action:

  • Base
    • Tastes – sweet, creamy, not too strong flavored, grain-y
    • Ingredients – festive, cinnamon, no meat, butter, beer, ice cream, sugar, cheerios, milk, caramel, milk, grain
  • Margins
    • Familiarity – given that she has eaten animated chocolate frogs and faced basilisks, I think she is comfortable with new things and surprises. On the other hand, she seems to dislike “dragon balls” so I think when it comes to my dish I am safe using unique presentations but have to be careful using unique ingredients; small serving
    • Distortion – fine with calculated risks, willing to experiment
    • Spice – play it safe

In terms of research, that’s a good starting place. Let’s try putting this together.


What am I planning on creating? Given her profile two things easily stand-out: a drink or a desert. I got one covered:

Throwback Moment

My butterbeer recipe from some experimentation a few years ago:

Muggle Butterbeer  aka Virgin Butterbeer- For Two

  • Base
    • Cream soda ~ 2 cups
    • 2 tbs butter + 1 tbs brown sugar + 1 nips caramel drop — melt and mix with soda
  • Cream
    • Heavy Cream + 2-3 drops pure vanilla + 1 tbs Smuckers Butterscotch –whip it, real good
    • Dust some cinnamon

Butterbeer – For Two 

    • Base
      • Cream soda ~ 1 cup
      • Beer (light Belgian wheat) ~ 1 cup
      • 2 tbs butter + 1 tbs brown sugar + 1 nips caramel drop — melt and mix with above
    • Cream
      • Heavy Cream + 2-3 drops pure vanilla + 1 tbs Butter-schnapps — whip it
      • Dust some cinnamon

Hagrid’s Butterbeer – For One

  • Base
    • Cream soda ~ 1 cup
    • 1 shot (40ml) of Dark Rum
    • 1/2 tbs butter + 1 tbs brown sugar + 1 nips caramel drop — melt and mix with above
  • Cream
    • Heavy Cream + 2-3 drops pure vanilla + 1 tbs Butter-schnapps — whip it
    • Dust some cinnamon

But she’s my bae. I don’t want to spend time creating something she can just apparate and get herself for Hogsmeade. I also want to surprise her because she’s fairly hard to please. Instead of creating a dessert, what if try to take some the festive dessert aspects along with the love for butterbeer and reincorporate the ingredients into a main dish. Exploring some of the ingredients we ran into above:

Beer – beer is most commonly drunk but can also be used to marinate or cook meats as well as used in batters/dough to add different dimensions. Won’t go the meat direction as she is potentially a vegetarian

Festive – I think pumpkin, turkey, eggnog, cinnamon, whipped cream, pies. Pumpkin is also an ingredient Hermione will be familiar with given the patch near Hagrid’s hut

Butter – can be used in lot’s of ways, but given that she is a fan of butterbeer, I will showcase the butter rather than just cooking into something

Sweetness – sweetness, although commonly associated with desserts, plays a large role in main dishes. For more, read this. I can use sweetness to round out the savory aspects of the dish.

Cheerios – I feel like doing something fun with this. Maybe a topping.

Recipe Draft: Pumpkin Pie for Dinner 

It will look like a pumpkin pie, but will be savory and fit for an entree rather than a desert. Similar to savory meat pies. Here’s what I am thinking:

pumpkin pie

Flavor Profile  – as we continue to refine our recipe development process, creating a flavor profile will now be an step in our development process.

  • Taste: Sweetness, Saltiness, Smokey/Roasted
  • Mouthfeel: contrast between crisp crust and soft filling, overall warm temperature but cool whip will contrast,  a bit of spice, and freshness from parsley
  • Aroma: Pumpkin and grain smell will be the strongest
  • X-Factor: Feels simple, familiar, and ties to festive events, but flavor surprise due to savory flavor in a dessert package


I am drawing the techniques for this dish from French Cuisine.

Crust – Lit’s hit up some Julie Child – Pate Brisee

  • Ingredients
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp sugar
    • 6 ounces butter cut into 1/2 inch bits
    • 4 tb chilled shortening
    • 1/2 cup wheat beer (substitute for water)
  • Place flour, salt, sugar, butter, and vegetable shortening in a mixing bowl, mix until fat is broken down but not completely homogenized
  • Put a bit of water. mix. repeat
  • The fraisage – on a flat surface, using the heal of your hand rapidly press the dough down and away. repeat.


  • Cube/peel the pumpkin, roast in oven until tender with salt and cloves. ~45 min. Should be brown.
  • Mash pumpkin, add touch of cream, and cheese (something smokey)
  • Add spices/herbs (pepper, salt, rosemary, thyme, etc. ), saffron would be a good touch, and onions
  • Mix until homogenized, taste and add as needed
  • (East coast feel free to add/subtract here–it’s really up to preference for the taste)


  • Flavored butter – Beurre Maitre d’Hotel
    • Cream it by constant agitation either electric or mashing with the back of a spoon
    • Add flavoring by first drop by drop adding lemon juice, then beating in herbs as desired (this name implies parsley butter but mixed herbs is fine, fresh is best). Finish by seasoning with salt and pepper
    • Maybe add the saffron here instead and it would impart the color to the butter as well
    • Refrigerate
  • Fried Cheerios – Cheerios a la Fried
    • Mash them but not into homogenized crumbs, different sizes are good
    • Melt butter and toss in Cheerios
    • Add pepper and cayenne
    • Cook until dry and crispy
  • Parsley (the way mint is usually atop fancy pastries)

After assembling the crust and stuffing, we are gonna bake this at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Or until it looks good.

Open questions: does it need more of a sauce sauce? should the filling be uniform pumpkin or mixed? Any other complementary flavors?


East Coast

It probably was no coincidence that when I took this Buzzfeed quiz today on “Which Celebrity Should Be Your BFF Based on Your Zodiac Sign”, that I got this as a result:

You got: Emma Watson

Gemini: You’re intelligent, lively, and chatty! Although you can be tense and somewhat superficial at times, the bold Aries is your perfect BFF. As fire and air signs, you’re a force of nature.

I’m really excited to go on a girl date with my main chick Em. She’ll bring the beer and I’ll bring the dinner. Let’s get started.



Filling –

1 Kabocha – As it is not yet pumpkin season, I substituted Kabocha (a small and sweet Japanese squash). The smaller size also makes it more manageable.

1 Large Potato

1 White Onion

1/4  Cup Parmesan Cheese

2 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Cloves

2 Tsp Thyme

Crust – 

2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 Pie Tin

1 Stick Butter (8 Tbsp)

1 Tsp Baking Powder

I Tsp Salt

8 Tbsp Cold Water

2 Tsp Granulated Sugar

Topping –

1/4 Cup Regular Cheerios

2 Dashes Cayenne Pepper

1 Sprig Parsley


Preheat oven to 350°F .

De-seed the Kabocha. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and cloves. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes or until a fork easily pokes through.


In the mean time, start preparing the crust.

  • In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar
  • In a separate bowl, melt the stick of butter and whisk in the 8 Tbsp cold water
  • 20150525_101421
  • Combine the bowls, and whisk (more like mash) together with a fork.
  • The dough should take on the texture of wet sand (yum?)
  • 20150525_103143
  • Place 1/3rd of the mixture into the pie tin, and use the heel of your hand to mash the dough into the bottom of the pie crust.Bottom of pie crust
  • Use more dough to build the sides.
  • Crust is complete! Reserve 1/4 – 1/3rd of the mixture for the top of the pie.20150525_104833
  • Set aside for now as we work on the filling.

By now, the kabocha should have finished roasting.


Tip out the cloves, take a spoon and scoop out the kabocha flesh.

Dice the potato into small pieces and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.


Dice the onions and fry in a tablespoon of butter. Add in 2 Tbsp of fresh thyme.

Mix the kabocha, potato, and onions and fill the pie shell.



Remember the extra crust we had set aside? Crumble that over the top of the pie.

And pop it into the over at 400°F for 40 minutes.

Once the crust takes on a nice golden brown color, remove it from the oven.

Mmmm smells rich and toasty!


While the pie cools. I heated up a tsp of butter in a pot. Added in 2 dashes of cayenne pepper. I added in 1/4 cup of regular Cheerios and fried until the butter was fully absorbed. Then I sprinkled the Cheerios on top of the pie.

Check out the finished pie!

And here is the finished plate. Since the pie itself was already rich and hearty. I added slices of ripe tomato on the vine with a sprig of parsley as a palate cleanser.



East Coast – I have to admit, I had my doubts about a savory pie. I also doubted my ability to make pie crust from scratch. But overall, the pie far, far exceeded my expectations.

  • I was never big on vegetarian dishes, but I didn’t even miss the meat with this dish. It was rich, hearty, smokey, and overall super delicious. If I were to add meat, a diced pancetta would be superb.
  • West Coast’s flavor profile was on point.
  • The fried Cheerios were a great addition. It added a spicy “zing” that led to a surprise every few bites. The cheerios lose their crunchiness fast though.

West Coast

  • “Palate cleanser” east coast is trying to be fancy and failing
  • Meat could in fact easily be added and pancetta sounds yum
  • Not sure if east coast forgot or chose not to add the butter whipped topping but I could see that a sauce could go well with this, you can go from anything such as a bacon-y garlic-y butter to something more sweet like the cranberry sauce you eat during Thanksgiving meals
  • Happy flavor came out good, our main image is looking very nice