The Recipes of Iconic Authors: Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Roald Dahl, the Marquis de Sade & More


It comes as no sur­prise that Roald Dahl, author of Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­to­ry, pos­sessed a sweet tooth. Hav­ing daz­zled young read­ers with visions of Cav­i­ty-Fill­ing Caramels, Ever­last­ing Gob­stop­pers, and snozzber­ry-fla­vored wall­pa­per, Dahl’s can­dy of choice was the more pedes­tri­an Kit-Kat bar. In addi­tion to savor­ing one dai­ly (a lux­u­ry lit­tle Char­lie Buck­et could but dream of, pri­or to win­ning that most gold­en of tick­ets) he invent­ed a frozen con­fec­tion called “Kit-Kat Pud­ding.”

The orig­i­nal recipe is, appro­pri­ate­ly, sim­ple enough for a child to make. Stack as many Kit-Kats as you like into a tow­er, using whipped cream for mor­tar, then shove the entire thing into the freez­er, and leave it there until sol­id.

Book pub­li­cist and self-described lit­er­ary fan­girl Nicole Vil­leneuve does him one bet­ter on Paper and Salt, a food blog devot­ed to the recipes of icon­ic authors. Her re-imag­ined and renamed Frozen Home­made Kit-Kat Cake adds bit­ter­sweet choco­late ganache, replac­ing Dahl’s beloved can­dy bars with high qual­i­ty wafer cook­ies. It remains a pret­ty straight-for­ward prepa­ra­tion, not quite as deca­dent as the Mar­quis de Sade’s Molten Choco­late Espres­so Cake with Pome­gran­ate, but sure­ly more to Dahl’s lik­ing than Jane Austen’s Brown But­ter Bread Pud­ding Tarts would have been. (The author once wrote that he pre­ferred his choco­late straight.)

Vil­leneuve spices her entry with his­tor­i­cal con­text and anec­dotes regard­ing ear­ly 20th-cen­tu­ry can­dy mar­ket­ing, Dahl’s hatred of the Cad­bury Crème Egg, and his dog’s han­ker­ing for Smar­ties. Details such as these make Paper and Salt, which fea­tures plen­ty of savories to go with the sweet, a deli­cious read even for non-cooks.

Mean­while, dessert chefs unwill­ing to source their ingre­di­ents from Rite-Aid’s Hal­loween aisle might try Sylvia Plath’s Lemon Pud­ding Cakes (“Is it taboo to write about bak­ing and Sylvia Plath?” Vil­leneuve won­ders), C.S. Lewis’ Cin­na­mon Bour­bon Rice Pud­ding, Willa Cather’s Spiced Plum Kolache or Wal­lace Stevens’ Coconut Caramel Gra­ham Cook­ies.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ernest Hemingway’s Favorite Ham­burg­er Recipe

Allen Ginsberg’s Per­son­al Recipe for Cold Sum­mer Borscht

How to Make Instant Ramen Com­pli­ments of Japan­ese Ani­ma­tion Direc­tor Hayao Miyza­ki

Ayun Hal­l­i­day  doc­u­ment­ed her own sweet tooth in Dirty Sug­ar Cook­ies: Culi­nary Obser­va­tions, Ques­tion­able Taste. Fol­low her @AyunHallliday

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  • M.R. Stringer says:

    Crikey! — if only one of ’em had record­ed for pos­ter­i­ty some­thing with less calo­ries (or what­ev­er is the name of your pre­ferred Avoid­ance)! If any­one asked me for a recipe I could­n’t pro­vide a sin­gle sweet one: so why did all those writ­ers who’ve left us share the same predilec­tion for desserts, I won­der? Must be some­thing to do with the fact that many peo­ple, as I do, spend hours wan­der­ing amongst recipes on-line,and nobly steer­ing clear of cakes and good­ies …

  • Sasha Cisneros says:


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