death of marat

La Mort de Marat, Jacques-Louis David
La Mort de Marat, Jacques-Louis David

One of my favorite asides in Robin McKinley’s Sunshine is the description of a fluffy little Gothic dessert dish called Death of Marat.

A Gothic sensibility in the bakery is not necessarily a good thing. I’d made this light fluffy looking number in a white oval dish with white high sides and presented the first one with a flourish to a group of regulars who had volunteered to be experimented on. Aimil was the one with the knife, and she stuck it in and the raspberry-and-black-currant filling had exploded down the side and over the edge of the dish onto the counter. It was, I admit, a trifle dramatic. “Gods, Sunshine, what is this, the Death of Marat?” she said. Aimil reads too much. Everybody at Charlie’s that night wanted a taste, and the Death of Marat, the first of Sunshine’s soon-to-be-notorious, implausibly-named epic creations, was born, although I think most of our clientele thought Marat was some kind of master vampire. (pp. 173)

God, I love the name. It would be fantastic if someone with baking experience came up with a working recipe for this, or for that matter all the other sweets from Sunshine’s bakery.

Marat, by the way, was most definitely NOT a master vampire. Jean-Paul Marat, originally a physician and scientist, became a well known journalist and politician during the French Revolution. He was murdered in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday on July 13, 1793.


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