Sunday, April 14, 2013

Comment to Win Wearable Literary Art and Welcome the Artist: Pattie Tierney, Fan of Mystery and Food Blogging

The Dame Agatha Christie wearable literary art pin,
handcrafted by Pattie Tierney.
(For more info, click here.)
Please welcome our guest blogger Pattie Tierney, who is sharing a tasty recipe for Eccles Cake along with an answer to my curious question: How did you start designing and selling your wonderful "Wearable Literary Art," much of which is dedicated to mystery writers? 
~ Cleo Coyle

Mystery has been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember. I cut my teeth on Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew, was introduced to Basil Rathbone as Holmes, becoming an instant fan, and, thanks to late night movies and my nocturnal ways, wanted to be Nora Charles when I was in grade school, complete with wardrobe and dry martinis.

Since then my love for mysteries has grown, and permeates all aspects of my life. From the poison garden that I attempted to grow in high school (my parents became alarmed, and the garden was plowed over and my dad planted potatoes) to working its way into a Master's project when I designed a semester long course on detective fiction (I called it "The Literature of Detection"), complete with syllabus, field trips to cemeteries, the firing range, crime lab, and culminating with an end-of-semester party with tea and cookies cut in the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes (Yes, I do have that cookie cutter.). I suppose I could have served these Crime Scene Brownies as well. 

Pattie's Crime Scene Brownies from her
"Olla-Podrida" food blog. For the recipe, click here.

Nancy Drew: Girl Detective
Mystery Art Pin -
click here
for more info.

In the days before the Internet I was summoned by the local PBS station (who somehow got wind of my love for mysteries) to be Jeremy Brett's (a.k.a. Sherlock Holmes) "guardian" while he spent three days in St. Louis during his 1991 tour of the U.S. Dare I say that it was one of the highlights of my mystery loving life?

This led to my becoming an active volunteer where I was assigned the task of compiling and editing recipes for a mystery cookbook to be used as a rewards premium for new PBS subscribers.

As I got older, my desire to display my passion began a quest to find mystery jewelry to reflect my interest. Much to my dismay there was none to be found. Determined to rectify this unfortunate situation, one weekend, 40% off coupon in hand, I journeyed to Michael's and bought a book on jewelry making, along with assorted beads and findings, raided my husband's supply of pliers and made my first bracelet. I called it "Murder and Mayhem" and it was a tribute to Agatha Christie.

The Coffeehouse Mystery
wearable art pin, for more info

click here.
One of the first items in my online shop, Pattie Tierney Mystery Jewelry, that I began in February 2006, by year's end the bracelet appeared in Bust Magazine as one of the “must have" gifts for Christmas. As exhilarating as guessing the culprit before the end of the book, I was off and running. I remain at it with a vengeance, always envisioning new designs, and delighting in doing custom work, such as the Coffeehouse Mystery Pins that I've made for fans of Cleo Coyle and other authors.

My heart belongs to Doyle and Christie, but authors of culinary mysteries run a close second. 

Discovering this genre began with The Cooking School Murders (the end pages had recipes on them!) by Virginia Rich opening up a whole new world for me. How easy it was to relate to someone who could not only solve crimes, but whip up a hearty meal or tasty dessert at the same time.

Hercule Poirot mystery quote pin,
for more info, click here.
I'm not sure if my love of the genre had anything to do with it or not, but a number of years ago I started a food blog. My initial goal was to teach my daughters-in-law how to cook, but instead succeeded in teaching my sons, and, in the doing, found an entirely new way of expression.

I have used the opportunity to test and report on recipes from mystery books, share the adventures of my mystery collectibles, try to imagine what Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot would have for tea, and cook up some mysterious concoctions of my own.

The recipe I am going to share with you today is for Eccles Cake, a British dessert pastry that I'm sure Poirot and Captain Hastings enjoyed while discussing a case.

Eccles Cakes

An Eccles cake, named for the borough of Greater Manchester in England, is a small, round cake filled with raisins, currants, and candied orange peel wrapped in a delicate puff pastry and topped with sugar. 
You don't have to go to London to try one, as they can easily be made at home. I couldn't find orange peel, so made that as well, using what I needed for the cakes, and dipping the rest in chocolate (and boy was that good!). The filling can be made the day ahead, and the cakes can be rather quickly assembled and baked up just in time for afternoon tea. This recipe is one I've been using for years. It's from Bon Appetit's November 2002 issue, and is, thus far, the best one I've found for both taste and authenticity.


3/4 cup dried currants
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)
2 teaspoons sugar

Mix first 8 ingredients in medium bowl until well blended. Filling can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before continuing.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out four 6-inch-diameter rounds. Place filling on half of each round, dividing equally. Brush edges of rounds with beaten egg. Fold pastry over filling, creating semicircle and enclosing filling completely. Press edges firmly to seal. Transfer to heavy large baking sheet. Brush with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake pastries until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to rack and cool pastries 5 minutes. Using metal spatula, carefully remove pastries from baking sheet. Cool. 


Being a fan of mystery and the wonderful people who create them is more than just a hobby or interest, it seeps into your being and becomes a part of who you are as much as environment and hereditary. Sure I look at most people with undisguised suspicion, why not? I'm a mystery lover!

~ Pattie

One of the many charming charm bracelets in Pattie's shop.
This one, which she calls "I love a Mystery," features
miniature reproductions of mystery classics: The Thin Man
by Dashiell Hammett; The Case of the Terrified Typist
(Perry Mason) by Erle Stanley Gardner; The Maltese Falcon by
Dashiell Hammett; and The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

For more info, click here.


Our drawing is now over.Congrats to Ana Kurland who won
$20.00 in Mystery Money
to use 
any way she likes in Pattie's online store. 
To visit her store, PTierney Designs, click here.