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Kingdom of the Cursed Berry and Ricotta Custard Tart

Do you like witches and magic? How about a good old occult murder mystery? A devilishly sinful prince of Hell with a thing for fine clothes and cannoli? 

If the answer is yes, then you definitely ought to check out Keri Maniscalco’s Kingdom of the Wicked series, author of the Stalking Jack the Ripper series, which I have not yet read but it’s on the ever-growing list! 

Anyway, Emilia and her twin sister are witches living simply on the isle of Sicily and working in their family restaurant, until Vittoria is brutally murdered. Emilia, fueled by revenge and the need to catch her sister’s killer, turns to the dark arts, intending to summon a demon for help.

Instead, she accidentally summons the Prince of Wrath. Needless to say, Wrath is less than impressed with this turn of events. In fact, he gets rather pissy about it. But Emila and Wrath are then forced to work together when other young witches start dying.

Obvious shenanigans ensue! 

Witches and Princes and Plots twists, oh my!

Okay, so now that we’ve covered the basics of book one (and trust me, that barely scratches the surface, a lot happens) Kingdom of the Cursed picked up right where we left off at the end of Kingdom of the Wicked and promptly proceeded to toss every single theory I had during the first book out the window. 

Actually, that’s a lie. I was right about one thing. I was absolutely, one hundred percent correct on Wrath’s true name!

I feel so validated!

But other than that, bye-bye well-thought-out theories!

This book honestly had me guessing and theorising right up until the final chapters. My predictions were being debunked almost as fast as I was coming up with them! Which honestly is refreshing — it’s not often I can’t predict at least part of the story or plot twist.

Except Wrath’s name. (Yes, I am holding tight to that small victory, so sue me!)

So well played, Ms. Maniscalco. Well played.

It definitely had me hooked from the beginning. 

Now, I knew going in that this book was switching from KoW’s YA status and upgrading to NA, but I’ll admit, I was not expecting it to get as steamy as it did so quickly! 

Talk about dialing it up!

Not that I’m mad. I’m definitely not mad! 

The romance certainly kicked up a notch in this one and it was so freaking good! Wrath and Emilia were definitely on a slow burn enemies-to-lovers trajectory in KoW, but it got a lot spicier during Kingdom of the Cursed

Again, not even a little mad. 

And the last few chapters, oh holy hell, stuff got real very fast and the freaking plot twist? I would never have guessed in a million years! 

Despite being a little frustrated with a certain closed door situation (if you know, you know) and it obviously being the second book of a trilogy, so yeah, cliff hanger, it was a pretty awesome read. 

BUT!

Keri Maniscalco’s Kingdom of the Cursed made me hungry. 

And no, not for just for a dark and broody Hell prince of my own. 

Though I wouldn’t be sad if Prince Wrath dropped by. I mean, selling your soul to a Prince of Hell is supposed to be bad right?

Right?

No, this series makes me hungry because of all the delicious food descriptions! 

Emilia was born and raised in Sicily. Her family owns a restaurant, Sea and Vine, and the (alleged, maybe) future Princess of Pride loves to cook!

Honestly, the first book, Kingdom of the Wicked, had me drooling over all the yummy dishes, and Kingdom of the Cursed was no different, though there were fewer opportunities for Emilia’s cooking, what with trying to solve a murder in Hell. Girl was kinda busy sleuthing.

But eventually, Emilia needed a break from all the investigating, and ultimately found herself in Hell’s kitchen, or you know, the kitchen in the House of Wrath, which is located in Hell, so I stand by my previous joke. 

Anyway, yes, Emilia, is in this awesome kitchen and there’s berries and ricotta so she starts making this really yummy berry custard tart thing and then I was hungry and now I’m making a ricotta and berry custard tart!

Berry and Ricotta Custard Tart

Ingredients

1kg Frozen berries

750g Ricotta

4 Large eggs

Generous amount of vanilla paste 

(Honestly, vanilla is to baking as garlic is to cooking, but if you need a number, 2 Tbsp ought to do it)

2 cups of sugar

2-3 sheets of shortcrust pastry 

(You can make your own pastry if preferred, but store bought works just as well.

Method

  • Put berries and sugar into a pot. Cook on medium to low heat until berries resemble jam. Set aside
  • Grease and line a spring form cake tin. Then press in the pastry, making sure there are no gaps. Line the pastry with another sheet of baking paper and pour in either rice or dry pasta. This is for blind baking.
  • Bake in oven on 170°c (335°f) for 15 mins. Take out and remove baking paper and rice. Pierce the base with a fork, then cook for another 15-20 minutes until the base is golden and fully cooked. 
  • Next, put ricotta, eggs and vanilla into a bowl. Whisk until everything is combined, then pour into the cooked tart shell.
  • Bake on 170°c for 25 minutes. Then pour the berry mixture over the top of the ricotta custard and cook for a further 15-20 minutes. 
  • The mixture will be wobbly, but not runny, once it’s done. Don’t worry, once it sets it will be fine. 
  • Let cool for several hours or overnight in fridge. Once it’s cold, you can cut and serve!

ENJOY!!!

Kingdom of the Wicked

(Kingdom of the Wicked #1)

by Kerri Maniscalco 

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems… 

Kingdom of the Cursed

(Kingdom of the Wicked #2)

by Kerri Maniscalco 

After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.

She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria… even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.

The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world… or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?

Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves…

One sister.

Two sinful princes.

Infinite deception with a side of revenge… Welcome to Hell.

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