Friday, October 21, 2016

‘Unnymoles – a pastry from Redwall Abbey

“Doan’t knoaw wot ee ‘unnymole is? Lukk an’ oi’ll show ee, you’m pay ‘tenshun naow!”

The molebabe rolled out a small patch of pastry, spread it thick with honey and placed on it a strawberry and a raspberry. Wrapping the pastry carefully over the fruit, he coated the lot with a mixture of honey and damson juice. It looked nothing like a honeyed mole, but the molebabes thought it did. Gurrbowl licked his digging claws proudly and added his ‘’unnymole’ to several others on a tray, ready the go into the oven. He wrinkled his nose proudly at skipper.

“Hurr, that’n be ‘ow t’make ‘unnymoles, zurr!”

– Pearls of Lutra, by Brian Jacques

Unnymoles are Redwall pastries stuffed with berries and slathered with honey
When I was about nine or ten, I raced my way through the Redwall books, devouring each one I could get my paws on. When I didn’t have a new one to read, I re-read my favorite tales of Redwall – perhaps none more than Pearls of Lutra. I loved the riddles and puzzles the abbeyfolk had to solve to save the day – it was a little bit like The Da Vinci Code starring rodents. So, for inspiration for a Redwall August recipe, I went first to Pearls of Lutra.

Honeymoles, or “‘Unnymoles,” as chef Gurrbowl calls them, seemed like a particularly fun dish to recreate since the entire process is described clearly in the books. I also loved the idea of crafting something that could conceivably look like a mole if you tried really hard to think like a molebabe.


Makes 9 ‘unnymoles
  • 3 damson plums (I used black plums, since I couldn’t find damsons)
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used a zinfandel)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 clove
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 5 tbsp honey, divided
  • 9 large strawberries
  • 9 raspberries
  • 1 sheet puff pastry dough (~1/2 lb)
Damsons are a sort of plum, with a dark exterior and a dry taste. I couldn't find any damsons,
so I made my sauce with black plums and red wine.


1. Dice the plums, and combine in a small sauce pan with 2 tbsp honey, the red wine and the spices. Simmer on low heat until the plums fall apart and the mixture thickens, around 20 minutes.
Plum, honey and red wine sauce simmering on the stove
Optional instructions: stand over the pot inhaling this amazing aroma

2. Meanwhile, clean the berries. Slice the leaves off the strawberries.
Slice strawberries for Unnymoles
Fortunately, strawberries come with more than nine per pack, leaving many berries available for snacking
3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 400F.

4. Roll out your puff pastry dough into a large rectangle according to recipe or package instructions. Using a knife, cut into thirds. Then, cut each third with two equally spaced slanted lines pointing towards each other to give three trapezoids per third. This shape makes it a little easier to fold into moles, since the mole butts (strawberries) are rather larger than the mole heads (raspberries).

4. Spread each trapezoid with about 1 tsp honey.

5. Place one raspberry in the narrow part of the trapezoid, about half an inch from the edge, pointed towards the edge. Nestle the tip of a strawberry into the crevice of the raspberry. It should start to look vaguely mole-like, if you have a very active imagination.
Stawberries and raspberries form the head and butt of the moles.
That definitely looks like a mole. 
6. Fold the dough over the berries, stretching slightly if necessary. Pinch the dough to seal. Pat the nose into a cute little point, and flatten the folds around the mole bottom. Flip the pastry upside-down, and place onto the cookie sheet.

7. (See Concluding Thoughts below for how I would modify this step) Spoon one tablespoon of plum sauce over each mole, coating evenly.
Wrap the pastry around the berries and slather with honey-plum sauce
Paws optional.
8. Pop the pastries into the oven, and bake until the dough has puffed and browned, about 23 minutes.

9. Cool for 15 minutes, or until you can’t bear to wait any longer.

10. Hurr, that’n be ‘ow t’make ‘unnymoles, zurr!

Concluding Thoughts

'Unnymoles are delicious with tea.
Moles are certainly skilled bakers. The ratio of fruit to pastry in this recipe is perfect. The fruits are tender, but not mushy. Each bite is tangy, not too sweet nor too sour.

However, I think I might suggest one modification to the moles of Redwall Abbey. The sauce moistens the pastry dough, reducing how much the dough puffs and crisps and preventing browning. Instead of pouring the sauce onto the pastry dough before baking, as Gurrbowl suggests, next time I make these, I will bake the pastries and then top with the honey plum sauce. (Moving Step 7 to after Step 9)

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