Jane Crackpieski

Baking, Dessert, Hashbrown: The End, Pie, Sweets

Like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt itself, we’ve reached the end of the road of our farewell celebration – Hashbrown: The End – and I am starting to get a bit misty, which is inappropriate when you’re meant to be honouring a hilarious show. But after catching up with Carol, Dylan, Ellie and Tituss I was too emotional, so I reached out to my dear friend and icon Jane Krakowski to see if she was free to drop by.

And she obviously was, since you’re ready this.

As you know I met future EGOT Jane in the 80s while co-starring in Starlight Express until my before I was callously cut. Thankfully it was Jane’s undying love and support that saw we through the tragic loss of my role of a lifetime.

Given Jane is a damn comedy icon, I try to see her as much as possible however it has tragically been well over two years since we last got together. As soon as she walked through customs I ran into her arms and started sobbing – some say it was because I missed her so, but we both knew that it was because at the close of today Jacqueline Voorhees will go the way of Jenna Maroney. And that is hard for me to deal with.

Unless Teens does reboot 30 Rock, I guess.

Somehow I managed to pull myself together long enough to drive home, go to the fridge and pull out the ultimate comfort food in the form of a Jane Crackpieski.

 

 

I feel like I am on a bit of a Milk Bar kick at the moment, but you know, when it’s right, it’s right. Any everything they do is right, even when it is a mistake. If you don’t know the story, Christina Tosi made the pie for staff dinner and while it was undercooked and she felt it was a dud, they couldn’t stop eating it and an sweet, addictive icon was born – the Crack Pie®.

And if that doesn’t offer you hope in a post-Kimmy Schmidt world, I don’t know what does.

Enjoy!

 

 

Jane Crackpieski
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
Oat Cookie
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g muscovado sugar
40g raw caster sugar
1 egg yolk
½ cup flour
120g rolled oats
⅛ tsp baking powder
pinch of baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt

Assembly and filling
180g muscovado sugar, plus 1 tbsp for the base
1 tsp kosher salt, plus ¼ tsp for the base
280g butter, melted – 55g for the base, the rest for the filling
300g raw caster sugar
20g milk powder
24g corn powder
¾ cup double cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
8 egg yolks, separated with military precision
icing sugar, for dusting

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Kick things off by working on the oat cookie. Cream the butter and sugars using the paddle attachment on a stand-mixer on medium-high for 3 minutes or so, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add the egg, before increasing speed and beat for a further couple of minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients and using the paddle, mix by hand until moist enough to return to the mixer to beat on low until just combined.

Dollop the mixture onto a lined baking sheet and flatten into a 1cm thick splat. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until caramelised, puffed and firmly set. Allow to cool completely.

When you’re ready to get to work on the final product, preheat the oven to 180°C.

Place the cookie in a food processor with a tablespoon of muscovado sugar and ¼ tsp of salt, and blitz until it is the consistency of wet sand. Add 55g of melted butter and blitz until it comes together as a ball. Transfer the ball into a pie dish and firmly pack to cover the edges in an even thickness.

To make the filling, combine the remaining sugars, with the milk powder, corn powder, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until evenly blended. Still going, add the remaining butter and mix for 3 minutes or until all the ingredients are moist. Add the double cream and vanilla and continuing mixing for 3 minutes, or until completely combined. Scrape down the side and add the egg yolks, mixing on low speed until it is glossy and combined.

Pour the filling into the pie dish and transfer to the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown but still jiggly.

Open the oven door and reduce the oven temperature to 160°C and close the door once it has cooled to that temperature. Cook for a further ten minutes, or until firming around the edge but jiggly in the centre.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before covering in cling and transferring to the freezer to set. Remove to defrost a couple of hours before you’re ready to serve.

When you’re ready for your mind to be blown, dust with icing sugar, grab a spoon and devour. Greedily. Thankful that we exist at the same time that Milk Bar does.

 

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Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake

Baking, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After the debacle of catching up with my frenemy, the worst winner of Drag Race and – my honest opinion only – all around garbage person Tyra Sanchez, it was so nice to spend time with my kind friend Engelbert Humperdinck.

Kind, warm, funny, charming and best of all, kind and open with his fans … friend.

Unlike Tyra.

Anyway, I first met the Dinck and his – well, you know – back in the ‘60s when he was still getting his career off the ground. My dear friend Tom Jones’ manager was his former roommate and one night while we were out partying, we decided his name was holding him back. Ten minutes later Engelbert was born and Arnold was no more.

With that, I earned his complete and unequivocal trust, shaping his career ever since. Well until yesterday, when he tragically declined my offer to coach him to another Eurovision berth. Which no doubt would have been more successful.

While I was upset he didn’t trust me, I respect his wishes like a friend – unlike say, Tyra would – and we instead focused on reconnecting and havin’ a laff. Though that is kind of the go to reaction to splitting an Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake between two best friends.

 

 

Moist, sweet and perfectly spiced, hummingbird cake is like a carrot cake on crack. In all the right ways. Add in some cream cheese icing and my shorts are creamed, culinarily speaking obvi.

Enjoy!

 

 

Engelbert Hummingbirdinck Cake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
pinch of nutmeg
1 cup, muscovado sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
2 ripe bananas, mashed
450g crushed pineapple (in juice), drained with juice reserved
2 eggs, lightly whisked
¾ cup sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups icing sugar mixture

Method
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease 2 x 25cm cake tins.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and soda, and spices in a large bowl. Fold through the muscovado sugar, coconut and walnuts. In another bowl, combine the banana, pineapple, eggs, oil and ⅓ of the pineapple juice. While stirring pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and continue to fold until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the lined tins, transfer to the oven and bake for 40 minutes, checking after half an hour. You want it golden brown on the outside and an inserted skewer to just come out clean. Allow to cool for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling, beat the cream cheese and icing sugar until it is light, fluffy and just combined. Don’t overbeat as the icing will become too soft.

To assemble, smear a third of the icing on top of one of the cakes. Top with the second cake, and smear the rest of the icing on top and around the edges. Press the remaining walnuts into the icing and transfer to the fridge to set for an hour or so, removing ten minutes before serving … and devouring.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Finnel Wolfhard Cakes

Dessert, Snack, Stranger Feasts, Sweets

It is All Hallows’ Eve eve and as such, I knew we needed to catch-up with the Stranger Things heavy hitter – after Eleven and Joyce, obvi – Finn Wolfhard. Aka Mike. Obviously, no shade to Shan, Mil, Gat, Cal and Noah. It’s just that the Wheelers really drove the entire plot, you know?

While I also didn’t meet Finn until he auditioned for the show, I knew that while his doppelgänger Noah would be best to play the vulnerability of Will, Finn was born to play the strong, dedicated – and this season, brooding – Mike.

Seeing his raw talent in the audition, I gave him free acting lessons on set and vowed to make him a star. Next thing you know, he landed a role in the hit movie It. I may have made some poor decisions that tanked my Hollywood career – not even taking into account the time I told Harvey Weinstein no – but I sure am a talented acting coach and career advisor.

It – no pun intended as it (again, no pun intended) is a basic word that I can barely get through a sentence without using – was such a treat to reconnect, toast to his success and plot where to next for his career. As you know, that is some hunger inducing business, so we were both thrilled when I got to whipping up some Finnel Wolfhard Cakes.

 

 

While they may not looking anything special, funnel cakes sure as, well, fun. Plus, they look like a spider-web that It would weave for that period he is a spider. Which I’m not actually sure happens in the movie, given the entire concept terrifies me.

Anyway, enjoy!

 

 

Finnel Wolfhard Cakes
Serves: 6-8.

Ingredients
2 cups milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp muscovado sugar
¼ cup butter, melted

Method
Whisk the milk, egg, vanilla together in a large bowl, and the flour, salt, baking soda, and sugar in another. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and gradually add the wet ingredients until a smooth batter forms. Fold through the melted butter and allow to rest for five minutes.

When you’re ready to go, heat 1 inch deep vegetable oil in a large pot until nice and hot. Transfer the batter to a funnel and dribble in a stream into the hot oil. Fry for a couple of minutes, or until lightly golden. Flip and cook for a further minute. Repeat the process until the batter is done.

Serve immediately, dusted generously in icing sugar.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Whoopi Goldberg Pies

Baking, Dessert, Emmy Gold, Emmy Gold: Game of Golds, Snack, Sweets

Oy vey – it’s the end of the road. You ready to let go?

Given that we kicked off this year’s Emmy Gold with such an icon, in the form of Reets – followed by Jack, Chevs, Luce and Ty – I knew we could only wrap-up Game of Golds with another EGOT winner. And there is no EGOT winner more iconic than my dear, dear, DEAR friend Whoopi Goldberg.

I first met Whoops in the ‘80s while she was filming The Color Purple. While I was mentoring my girl Oprah at the time, I saw Whoopi as a bright talent and endeavoured to make her a star. She wasn’t convinced Ghost was a good idea, but thankfully I was able to talk her around and well … Oscar came knocking. So, well, you’re welcome Whoops.

But in all seriousness, she has been extremely grateful for the career success I bequeathed her and is eagerly awaiting my screenplay for Sister Act III: Saving Lauryn Hill. In the meantime, she was thrilled to drop by and run the odds for the final time this Emmy season.

For the final time, I’m going to run the odds. So starting with the obvious, Outstanding Limited Series is going to Big Little Lies and Drag Race is taking Reality Competition. I’m praying Black Mirror will take out Outstanding Movie, though Wizard of Lies wouldn’t shock me and Coat of Many Colours would give me life. Saturday Night Live will win Variety for Kate McKinnon’s Hillary, Variety Talk is anyone’s game though I root for Colbert, Atlanta will win Comedy and The Handmaid’s Tale will win Drama.

Or This Is Us. Or Stranger Things. We really couldn’t decide.

Busy work, calls for a bit of a sugar rush, so thankfully Whoops was hella keen for some of her favourite treats – my Whoopi Goldberg Pies!

 

 

The earthiness of the rich chocolate, with the sticky muscovado and the sweet marshmallow filling, work together to fill your heart with joy and stomach with goody, goody, Goody Procter goodness.

Enjoy!

 

 

Whoopi Goldberg Pies
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
2 cups plain flour
½ cup valrhona cocoa powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
115g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup muscovado sugar
1 egg
200g white marshmallows
30g butter
60g white chocolate, chopped

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl until combined, in another bowl slowly whisking in the buttermilk and vanilla. Then in a third bowl, beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for five or so minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat to until combined.

Reduce speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk-vanilla alternating between the two, in threes.

Spoon ¼ cup mounds of batter on a lined baking sheets and baking for ten-fifteen minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

While the pies are chillin’, place the marshmallows and butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously, until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir until combined. Allow to cool completely.

When you’re good to go, spread half the biscuits with icing and sandwich with a bare half. Then, devour – oh happy day!

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Bret LaBao Buns

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X

Previously on Survivor, we opened the finale with Jay’s killer blindside. Or maybe it wasn’t, I’m still not sure if we were meant to know that the idol was fake and I can’t be bothered rewatching yet.

Not wanting to dwell on the last tribal too much, we arrived at the next immunity involving swimming, traversing a ball through some obstacles, hard poles – yay – and a puzzle, which terrified David on account of his questionable swimming ability.

Ken got out to an early lead thanks to his exquisite ball play, his wet torso glistening beautifully in the sun.  As he lay me down on the sand and leant gently beside me and ki … sorry, tangent.

Sadly Ken wasn’t kissing me, now was he as good with those hard poles – he’ll learn, I have faith – with Bret overtaking him and snatching the lead. Despite Bret’s lead, the rest of the castaways caught up allowing Ken to snatch individual immunity with one of Jeff’s favourite phrases to say to the millennials, “not a participation trophy.

Can we just pause here to enjoy how pretty Ken looks whenever Jeff gives him immunity?

The tribe arrived back at camp where Adam got Bret to run interference for him while he scoured the island for the hidden immunity idol. With Adam away, David went to Hannah and Ken to reconfirm their final three alliance and the plan to boot Adam.

Sadly for David, Adam was successful in finding the actual hidden immunity idol, at least I think … right now.

With Adam busy celebrating his find, David and Ken pulled Bret aside to get him to join the plan to boot Adam. Bret then went to Adam to let him know David and Ken’s plan, while Adam shared his idol secret with Bret and then shared his news with Hannah who announced that she was in control of the outcome at the next tribal council.

Which generally doesn’t bode well for the person that said that.

Vinegar, sorry Vinaka, arrived at tribal and discussed the hunt for the idols, before Bret – this time – sparred with David about their threat status’, statuses, stati?

Whatever the plural of status, Hannah did control the outcome of the tribal and made the worst possible move – at least from the viewers’ perspective – sending Bret out of the game in fifth place as the ninth juror.

Obviously I know Bret, given my love of beer, Boston, bars, bars in Boston and picking up cops who are trying to arrest me for drunk and disorderly behaviour after drinking too much beer in bars in Boston.

The love affair was brief but we remained friends ever since (and I will cherish splitting Ben & Jerry’s after sleeping together through Peter Pan Live!), meaning I knew there was only one thing I could make to dull his post boot pain – Bret LaBao Buns. Emphasis on buns, that foxy minx.

 

bret-labao-buns-1

 

I love pork buns more than life itself. I also love bao buns and David Chang (and The Bun Mobile as well), but i’ve always been scared to try making them at home myself (until Cumberbitch) … but the Momofuku recipe is easy and put my mind at ease.

So yes, this is not my recipe … but I put enough love into it to make Bret happy.

Enjoy!

 

bret-labao-buns-2

 

Bret LaBao Buns
Makes: 12.

Ingredients
hoisin sauce, to serve
sliced shallot, to serve
sriracha, to serve

Steamed buns
7g dry yeast
⅔ cup water, at room temperature
1 cup bread flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp milk powder
1 tbsp kosher salt
pinch of baking powder
pinch of baking soda
30ml vegetable shortening

Pickled cucumbers
2 thick, juicy lebanese cucumbers, cut into thin disks
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Pork
1.5kg slab skinless pork belly
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar

Method
To start, place the pork belly into a roasting pan. Combine the salt and sugar and rub all over the meat, erotically if you want but that is a bit weird. Cover in cling and allow to rest overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 225°C and discard any juices – or discharges if you will. Once the oven is piping hot, place the pork in the oven, fat side up and cook for an hour, basting with the rendering fat throughout.

While that is getting as hot as Bret, my husband and I were while Walken sang his heart out, combine the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with the dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat, and mix on the lowest speed possible, just above a stir, for 8–10 minutes. Once it has formed a nice, not-too-sticky ball, turn it out into a lightly lubricated bowl, cover with a wet tea towel and leave to prove in a warm, dry place for an hour or so.

Reduce the pork to 110°C and leave to cook for a further hour and a half, by which point it is tender, pillowy and glorious. Once that is done, remove from the oven, transfer to a plate and allow to rest.

Get back to the buns by punching back the dough. Turn it out onto a clean work surface and divide it in half, and half again and then each piece into three. Roll them into balls, cover in cling and allow to rest for half an hour.

While the dough is proving, prep the cucumbers by combining them in a small mixing bowl with the sugar and salt. Toss to coat and leave to rest – feel free to adjust the sugar and salt levels, to taste.

Then cut out 12 generous squares of baking paper and coat a chopstick in some shortening. When the balls are fully engorged, take them in your hand – and left turn – and flatten them into a long oval shape. Place the chopstick in the middle and fold over to make the bao bun, pulling the chopstick out the end to make the flaps nice and moist and place on the baking paper.

Yes – that sentence was deliberate.

Cover with cling and leave the buns to rest for half an hour.

While taking the final chance to prove themselves, cut the pork belly into 1cm thick slices.

When the buns have proven themselves, get a large pot with a steamer on the stove and bring just enough water to the boil. Working a couple at a time, place the buns in the steamer, cover and steam, for ten minutes or until puffed and beautiful.

To build the bun, place one on your plate, slather with hoisin, top with the pickles and a few slices of pork belly. Top with shallots and sriracha, and devour.

 

As you can probably tell, we are very social but the fun isn’t only limited to celebrities! You can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.