The Celluloid Pantry: Teatime Treachery and Kind Hearts and Coronets (UK, 1949)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

“Revenge is a dish which people of taste prefer to eat cold.”

Confined to his cell on the eve of his execution, Louis D’Ascoyne Mazzini, Tenth Duke of Chalfont (Dennis Price), pens his memoirs. With equal measures of serenity and poise, he charts his rise to dukedom, serving up murder and mayhem with all the ceremony and reserve of afternoon tea.

A dry, amiable black comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets (UK, 1949) satirizes the manners and morals of Edwardian England. Eighth in line to the dukedom, the impoverished Louis is unlikely to inherit the title through natural means. So, with a bitter sense of vengeance (his late mother was disowned by her aristocratic family after she eloped with an Italian opera singer), Louis sets about pruning the family tree.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Rock Cakes
makes 12 small cakes

1/4 cu. (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour (or 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour sifted with 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup currants or raisins
1 egg
1 Tbsp. milk

Preheat oven to 400° F and grease two baking sheets.

Rub or cut the butter and shortening into the flour and salt, until a crumb-like texture is achieved. Stir in the sugar and currants with a knife. Beat the egg with the milk, and add it, blending with a fork until the mixture is stiff.

Drop small spoonfuls onto the baking sheets, and bake 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with Gunpowder tea.