Good morning and welcome back to my mini Delicious Horror series! Today I have the wonderful Dan Sexton-Riley to share with us a scrumptious treat that pairs perfectly with Mira Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep. Thank you so much Dan! I want to try this recipe ASAP.
Dan Sexton-Riley lives on Cape Cod with their family and a menagerie of small monsters. Dan fills most days with writing, reading, and baking. Their work can be found at Divination Hollow Reviews and Bewildering Stories. Dan also runs a Patreon dedicated to baking tutorials, where you can find a tutorial for their blueberry scones.
Tell us what horror book you chose to highlight and why it’s a favorite of yours:
I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to pick a book for this. I kept thinking, “you have to pick something someone else isn’t likely to do.” No matter how hard I scoured my shelves, I always came back to this one though, because it’s at the top of my list for just about everything.
Into the Drowning Deep (ItDD) by Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire’s pseudonym) has just about everything I could want in a book. It’s often described as Jaws meets Jurassic Park, and that description is pretty effective. It’s a novel about an expedition to the Mariana Trench to find mermaids, which are to blame for the loss of a prior expedition. This book is about monstrous mermaids. Honestly, it’s hard to come up with a better selling point that that, if you ask me.
What it fails to point out is that this novel surpasses its predecessors. Where Jaws (the novel) comes across as wooden with its relationships, ItDD builds tangible, emotional frameworks between characters. In moments when Jurassic Park (also the novel) gets mired down in pages of explaining science, ItDD injects humour and humanity to give it context.
There’s refreshingly positive queer and neurodiverse representation in this that I won’t spoil, save to say I find it beyond satisfying as someone who belongs to both of those groups. It’s always nice to see yourself represented, and to see characters you identify with be written well.
Beyond that emotional core, it’s smart, but it isn’t condescending. If you imagine Michael Crichton’s delivery of science but without the somewhat mansplaining tone that inevitably shows up in his work, you’re not far off. There’s a lot of science in this, both real and fictional. If you’re not into having a dose of science in your horror, perhaps give this a miss…but it you’re a science nerd this might be your new favorite book too.
By now you might be wondering “but where does the horror come in?” Trust me. When the blood starts to flow, it’s a flood. It makes that elevator scene in “The Shining” look like a babbling brook. Plenty of body horror, and those mermaids? They ain’t pretty.
What did you decide to make to pair with the book, and what from the book inspired your delicious treat?
I struggled to come up with a good food pairing for this book. It’s ocean based…and I’m a vegetarian. So. I went ahead and paired my blueberry scone recipe with it. It looks a lot like bubbles rising from a dark ocean to me, and scones are a great snack that you can eat without putting your book down! They’re relatively quick to make, and don’t require a ton of prior experience to do well.
Can you share the recipe or a link to the recipe?
Blueberry scone recipe:
-Pastry brush (or a clean paintbrush)
-food processor (optional)
-2 cups flour
-1/3 cup white/cane sugar
-1 tbsp baking powder
-½ tsp baking powder
-pinch of salt
-1/2 cup cold butter
-1 cup milk (may require more, this can vary slightly)
-1 cup of blueberries (less if you want a firmer scone)
Preheat oven to 350F
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl
If you’re using a food processor, mix dry ingredients with the butter until you achieve a breadcrumb texture. You can do this by hand too, it’s just a tad more time consuming. If you’re doing it by hand, rub the butter into the flour, ensuring that no lumps of butter are left. This is a base that can be used for just about any scone recipe.
Mix the egg and milk together with a whisk or a fork
Add blueberries to the dry ingredients and stir them in, then add the egg/milk mix gradually, stirring to bind the mix together into a slightly sticky dough. Try to save a little of the egg/milk for later.
Dust the counter with flour, then press out your dough into a roughly 1 inch thick circle. With a large knife, cut it into triangles.
On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, arrange the scones with at least an inch between one another to allow for rising. They won’t get that nice crisp edge so well if they begin to touch.
Brush the leftover egg/milk over the tops, then sprinkle a fine layer of sugar over each scone. This helps the top get a kind of frosted look, kind of like seafoam.
Place on middle rack in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the edge turns golden brown.
Leave to cool for a few minutes on a rack, then enjoy!
*In case you missed the earlier link, make sure to check out Dan’s Patreon link for their awesome tutorial!