Pierogene Levy

All up in Schitt's Creek Week, Main, Party Food, Snack, Street Food, Tapas, Vegetarian

Given I am close with the entire cast of Schitt’s Creek, it was extremely difficult to decide who to bestow the honour of kicking off my celebration honouring their return to the screen. But like my girl Hizza Clinton before me, I am known for making hard choices when I need to, so picked up the phone to call the delightful Eugene Levy first.

I mean, it is only fitting that I kicked off the party with Eugene as he is the person I have known the longest. Eug and I first met whilst a part of Second City, Toronto and by a part of, I was his stand in when blocking performances given our eerily similar appearances.

While we drifted apart when I was deported from Canada – and therefore unable to appear on SCTV – we reconnected again in the ‘90s through my dear friend Tars. I was part of her entourage on the set of American Pie to get closer to Chris Klein – it was the ‘90s – but I was so thrilled to see Eug again that I abandoned my lust for Chris, and instead focused on making up for the lost years of our friendship.

Despite being extremely busy with other publicity commitments, he was so excited to come down under and mark season four in culinary form with his dearest friend.

“Ben, you really need to come visit when we’re filming next season. I could see Alexis having a long-lost twin and you have the perfect nature to pull off the role!”

“Eug, my love, I don’t know. I’m super busy at the moment, but it truly makes a lot of sense.”

Now I can’t tell you how that conversation ended for upcoming contractual reasons – hell, I shouldn’t have even mentioned how it began – I can tell you that my v. Canadian Pierogene Levy were the perfect snack to toast season four … and beyond.

 

 

Like Eugene, these babies are the perfect comforting slash celebratory snack. Warm and fluffy, and packed full of carb-y, cheesy goodness, you need to get these in your belly ASAP.

Warm apple pie my arse (… which is another embarrassing story of mine for another time).

Enjoy!

 

 

Pierogene Levy
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
1.5kg potato
6 shallots, roughly cut
200g ricotta cheese
100g cheddar cheese, grated
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to taste
40 gow gee wrappers

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C.

Peel and cut the potatoes quarters and place in a saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil and cook until just tender, about five-ten minutes depending on their size. Drain the potatoes, transfer to a lined baking tray with the shallots and cook for a couple of minutes, or until all the moisture is gone. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool for about fifteen minutes.

When the aggressive heat from the potatoes has gone, mash them until their mostly smooth. Add the ricotta, cheddar, eggs and a good whack of salt and pepper, and mix until thoroughly combined.

To make the pierogis, place the gow gee wrappers on a clean, dry bench and place a generous teaspoon of filling in the centre. Brush the edges with water and press the edges together, pleating as you go … to make them look as flash as a rat with gold teeth. Because, obvi.

When they’re all done, bring a large pot with about 1-inch of water to the boil and steam the pierogis for about ten minutes, give or take, or until they’re cooked through.

Devour, greedily, with sour cream or some hot sauce.

 

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Cecil B. DeMille-Feuille

Baking, Dessert, Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Snack, Sweets

After such a rushed week celebrating my first ever Golden Globe Gold and running the odds and/or reconnecting with Rach, Az, Nay, Ids and Nat, I knew I needed a Globes legend to finish off the party. And there is no one more legendary than Cecil B. DeMille.

I mean, he has a dang award named after him – he owns the Golden Globes!

I first met Cec while working in the silent movies together and we became the fastest of friends, let me tell you old sport. Given people didn’t have to hear my horrific voice, it was the most successful my career has ever been though alas, under the pseudonym Monroe Salisbury … before I faked my death in the ‘30s.

While I didn’t enjoy much success after the talkies kicked in – leading to my stint in the sanitarium before faking my death – Cec and I remained the best of friends and me, his most frequent silent collaborator. Ironically – or maybe not, again, Alanis ruined the word for me – I was the one to inspire The Greatest Show on Earth which I decided had itself inspired The Greatest Showman.

I jumped in the delorean once again and decided to run the odds solo to wrap up my Globes coverage. Rounding out my predictions, I can’t go past Coco snagging Best Animated Feature though Loving Vincent may sneak in as the HFPA are wont to feel superior to the other industry bodies. Alexandre Desplat will take out Best Score for The Shape of Water, with it also snagging Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.

Despite the emotion that surrounds visiting with a dear friend in the past, it was such a treat to reconnect and help him celebrate winning the first ever Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 1952 Globes. And I mean, how can you be sad when there are Cecil B. DeMille-Feuille around.

 

 

Light, flaky pastry and the creamy delicate custard perfectly support the tart raspberries, leaving you with the perfect dessert to honour the start of awards season.

Enjoy!

 

 

Cecil B. DeMille-Feuille
Serves: 8.

Ingredients
1 tbsp custard powder
1 cup milk
1 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 ½ sheets puff pastry, thawed
⅔ cup thickened cream
250g fresh berries, I went with blueberries and raspberries because I’m wild
2 tbsp raspberry coulis

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.

Combine the custard powder and a quarter of the milk in a saucepan until well combined. Whisk in the sugar, vanilla and remaining milk and cook over medium heat for about five minutes, or until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl, cover with a piece of cling directly touching the surface and chill for a couple of hours for an hour or so.

While the custard is gettin’ chill, place the pastry on a lined a baking sheet and top with a second piece of baking paper and a second baking tray, and bake for 20 minutes. Flip the trays over and bake for a further five minutes, or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

When you’re almost ready to start assembling, whisk the cream until stiff peaks form and fold it through the custard mixture.

Cut the pastry in half using a serrated knife and place one piece on a platter. Spread with half the custard cream and half the berries. Top with another sheet of pastry, the remaining berries and cream and top with the last piece of pastry. Drizzle with the coulis and devour immediately.

 

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Naomi Fonerdue Gyllenhaal

Condiment, Dip, Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Party Food, Side, Snack

After hanging out with two of my newer friends – hey Rach and Az! – to kick off my Golden Globe Gold celebrations, I decided it was high-time I reconnected with one of my oldest friends and ex-mother-in-law, Golden Globe winner Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal.

Yes, I was secretly married to Jake Gyllenhaal for a decade before splitting amicably. Extremely out of character for me I know, but the Foner Gyllenhaals are old friends and I didn’t want to lose them.

Anyway, I first met Naomi through my dear friend and Jake’s godmother Jamie Lee Curtis – she gave my away at the aforementioned wedding to Jake – and our bond was instant. We would talk at length about our lives, loves and in my case scandals, with one of the latter where I blew up a lab inspired her Globe winning screenplay for Running On Empty.

It has been a couple of years since I caught up with Nay, on account of Jake and my divorce, so it was wonderful to reconnect and chill as friends again … before running the odds. With that, Nay and I both agreed that Greta Gerwig is a lock for Best Screenplay after her egregious snubbing for Best Director. Given I don’t have enough suitably nominated friends, I also got her to give me a hand with the Best OG Song and Best Foreign Film. As such, she was tipping that song from Jakey’s friend Michelle’s musical (The Greatest Showman, FYI) – fuck, do I ever need to catch-up with Michelle … – will take out Song, though I find it hard to go past Remember Me from Coco. We both agreed that First They Killed My Father would win Foreign Film for no other reason than this is the Golden Globes and as such, Angelina Jolie is enough to get it over the line.

It was a gruelling couple of hours debating the merits – Michelle is such a sweetheart, she should win! – of each nominee, so it was lucky I had a hella huge and hella hearty Naomi Fonerdue Gyllenhaal to keep us going.

 

 

This fondue is by no means healthy – though I guess no fondue really is – but damn if it’s not delicious. The cheesy tomato sauce is the perfect punch of pizza perfection – add in the dippers made from the best toppings and you’re in heaven. Though maybe that is just because you could die from the excess of cheesy cheesy goodness.

In any event, enjoy!

 

 

Naomi Fonerdue Gyllenhaal
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, diced
¼ cup dry cinzano
700ml passata
3 cups grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar
1 cup grated parmesan
small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
small handful fresh oregano, roughly chopped
sliced salami, olives, sliced mushrooms, sliced capsicum, Karlic Lagerbread and anything else you could use for dippin’

Method
Heat a lug of oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sweat the garlic and onion for a couple of minutes. Add the cinzano and cook off a couple of seconds before reducing heat to low and stirring through the passata. Once piping hot, stir through the cheeses and cook until melted. Add the basil and oregano with a good whack of salt and pepper and cook for a further minute.

Pour into a serving dish and devour, piping hot, with your dippers.

 

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All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up

Golden Globe Gold, Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Despite the fact I’ve prided myself on celebrating only the most prestigious award ceremonies – hello EGOT-ville – it was becoming a matter of cutting off my nose to spite my face, as it meant I am missing out on attending slash honouring the booziest and therefore the best awards show, the Golden Globes.

In 2018 however, that will change. #newyearnewme, you know?

So grab you fourth best awards show gown and buckle in for the rowdiest show that even gives The CW a chance at victory!

Join us tomorrow as we kick off Golden Globe Gold: Goldhood …

Image source: Unknown.

 

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Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Cake, Dessert, Snack, Sweets

After what feels like a marathon finish to an epic year – kicking off with the supreme Diana Ross, experiencing the highest of highs honouring the 10th anniversary of Because I Said So, and the lowest of lows witnessing queen Sandra Diaz-Twine’s torch being snuffed for the first time, learning that Nicaragua can be pronounced Knee-Coo-Arrr-Ohhh-Goo-A, seeing the glorious buns of Locky Gilbert on the killer second/fourth season of Australian Survivor, the glorious crowning of Sasha Velour, catching Milk post-All Stars 3 filming and a breathtaking end to the oddly titled Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers – we’ve finally hit day 12 of the 12 Days of Festivus.

You know, after catching up with Jase, Heids, Barn, Liz, Wayne, Mike, Pat, John, J-Lou, Stel and Jez.

It should come as absolutely zero surprise what with the process of elimination and the fact the show is named after him, that we’re rounding out our Fete de Festivus with a date with my dear friend slash protege, Jerry Seinfeld. What – you didn’t know I taught him everything he knows?

He first caught my eye during his appearances on Benson and I took him under my wing, guiding his career from Johnny Carson, to Letterman and eventually introduced him to Larry David. The rest, as they say, is history.

Given how busy Seiny has been with his Netflix deal, we haven’t seen much of each other lately so it was such a treat to pop on our puffy shirts and ring in Christmas – by way of Festivus, of course – with a big fat Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake.

 

 

Tart and sweet, creamy, rich and packed full of spice, this cheesecake is festive perfection. And super simple, which is perfect if you want to focus on your drinking. And who doesn’t?

Enjoy!

Oh, and from our crazy family to yours, Merry Christmas! We’re taking a short break and will be back in the new year … or maybe a bit before. Dun dun DUUUUNNNN!

 

 

Cherry Seinfeld Cheesecake
Serves: 12.

Ingredients
1 cup frozen pitted cherries
¼ cup muscovado sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
200g butternut snap biscuits, crushed
100g butter, melted
500g cream cheese
½ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup thickened cream
3 tsp gelatine powder, dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water

Method
Place the cherries, muscovado sugar, cinnamon and mixed spice in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for about fifteen minutes, or until it beautifully scented and reduced. Transfer to a heatproof bowl and place in the fridge to cool.

Combine the biscuit crumbs and melted butter, and press into the base of a 20cm springform pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Beat the cream cheese in an electric mixer until smooth. Reduce speed to low and add in the sugar, cream and gelatine until smooth and combined.

Fold through the chilled cherries, and pour the mixture into the chilling pan and return to the fridge for a few hours to set.

Remove from the fridge half an hour before serving and devour.

 

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Brandy Jason Alexander

12 days of Festivus for the rest of us, Drink

While Seinfeld, as the name clearly suggests, is all about my friend Jerry Seinfeld, the great, wondrous holiday that is Festivus is all about the Costanzas. While yes, Frank was the creator of the blessed holiday – how many ways will I describe the holiday in the next 12 days? – I feel it is most appropriate to kick this celebration of with the delightful holiday Jason Alexander.

Jase is one of my oldest friends after meeting in ‘81 on the set of the hit TV movie Senior Trip. Annelie and I were part of Mickey Rooney’s entourage at the time but were both so moved by Jase’s performance in the bit-part – no small parts, just small actors etc. – that we vowed to make him an absolute star.

I think we can all agree that despite our questionable pasts, rehab and priz stints and aggressive feuds, the way we moulded Jason’s career truly is our opus.

Given how busy I’ve been since starting this anthropological study, I’ve barely had time to catch-up with my celebrity friends unless they’re keen to document it. And while Jason was always down for the career boost I offer, I wanted our date to be truly special.

And there is nothing more special than Festivus.

As soon as Jase arrived we were laughing like he’d snapped my fingers in a jewellery box – which coincidentally was inspired by us mucking around when he gave me some thank you jewels for the one-two punch of Seinfeld and Pretty Woman – catching-up on what he’s been up to lately and making a toast to our friendship slash the season, in the form of my Brandy Jason Alexander.

 

 

Now I know the great Ron Burgundy says milk is a bad choice in the heat and Brisbane is balls hot, but add some festive spice and a nip of brandy and you really can’t go past it. Trust me.

And that’s not a threat … but it’s also not not a threat.

Enjoy!

 

 

Brandy Jason Alexander
Serves: 1.

Ingredients
30ml brandy
30ml crème de cacao
30ml heavy cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon

Method
Shake the liquid in a cocktail shaker with ice, and pour into a chilled glass.

Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon.

Down.

 

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Caramelised Connieon Stevens Dip

Dip, Party Food, Side, Snack

My time back in, time, got me thinking about all of my old Hollywood friends. That in turn reminded me of the rapidly approaching double anniversary of doom of Deb and Carrie, reminding me that I really need to put in more of an effort with my dear friend Connie Stevens.

While my relationship with Joely was so adversarial – in a friendly way though – enough to inspire the hit film Drop Dead Gorgeous, my bond with Con has been nothing with diamonds. Though sans rosé, that is reserved for the VanderpumpTodds.

Anywho, I first met Con in ‘69 – giggity – while touring with the Bob Hope USO tour to Guam and Southeast Asia. While my sexually aggressive boylesque wasn’t as well received as it would be today, Con took me under her wing and we became the best of friends.

Despite the fact it was my affair with Eddie that ruined her marriage.

Thankfully Con is hella forgiving, and currently hella available, so forgave me and continued our dear friendship … meaning she was super keen to reconnect post-thanksgiving slash pre-Christmas.

While we had a huge falling out in the late noughties – since she refused to cast me in her directorial debut – our mutual losses of the last year melted away the ice between us. Enough to reconcile this holiday season. And boy am I thankful for that.

We laughed, we cried, we lamented why we let such petty things get in the way of our friendship – particularly when me wrecking her home didn’t ruin it – over a big fat bowl of my Caramelised Connieon Stevens Dip.

 

 

While it may not be the best for my gastroenterological system, caramelised onion is damned near perfection. Sweet, tart and earthy, this dip is the perfect accompaniment for a mournful, or triumphant day. Aka it is versatile, which is what everyone wants in a date.

Enjoy!

 

 

Caramelised Connieon Stevens Dip
Serves: 6.

Ingredients
olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Sriracha
½ tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp sage leaves, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups sour cream
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

Method
Heat  a good lug of oil in a frying pan over low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 15 minutes. Stir through the sugar, Worcestershire, Sriracha, paprika, sage and a good whack of salt and pepper, and cook for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

When cool, combine everything in a bowl together and chill for an hour or so before devouring.

 

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Pico de Vincent Gallo

Condiment, Dip, Sauce, Side

The pain of losing Locky from Australian Survivor combined with a date with one of my more controversial friends got me feeling all misty for my wild, artsy and extremely controversial youth. With that, I picked up the phone and begged Vincent Gallo to end his self-imposed exile and reconnect.

Obviously, he said yes and hopped on the next plane for Brisbane.

While we haven’t seen much of each other in the last few years – Chris Rock and I had a huge fight on the set of 2 Days in Paris and Vin refused to leave with me – we’ve be the closest of friends for the past couple of decades after meeting on the set of Buffalo ‘66.

I was working as Angelica Houston’s stand-in, Mickey Rourke’s dialect coach and Christina Ricci’s personal assistant at the time, but found more than enough time to make things work with Vin. The affair was torrid and passionate, and shockingly somehow survived our break-up to become the best of friends.

Given our past, he reached out to me in the early noughties and asked me to complete the infamous scene in The Brown Bunny due to my insane abilitiessimilarities with Chloë Sevigny. I mean, talk about doppelgangers!

It was such a treat to get him out of his exile and to reconnect whilst discussing a crossover sequel to The Brown Bunny and Buffalo ‘66. I mean, sure, he had no interest in doing my project, but at least we got to yack it up like we did in the good old days with some Pico de Vincent Gallo.

 

 

Now I know that most people wouldn’t consider pico de gallo a meal but Vin and I are not like most people, so gladly down it at any and all opportunities. I mean, fresh, zingy and packing a punch – how can you go wrong?

Enjoy!

 

 

Pico de Vincent Gallo
Serves: 8-12.

Ingredients
6 ripe tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, diced
4 shallots, sliced
1 red chilli, sliced
small handful coriander leaves, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 limes, juiced
olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Combine the tomatoes, onion, shallots, chilli, coriander and garlic in a large bowl.

Toss through the lime juice, a lug of olive oil and season to taste.

Devour … or you know, serve with a taco or something.

 

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Tony Gold: Hamilgold

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Tony Gold, Tony Gold: Hamilgold

How does a bastard, whore-fan, son of a bitch and a lover of men, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Tweed on the GC, embellishing no squalor, grow up to be a hero and a star?

Not getting out of bed for less than ten-dollar Founding Father without a actor father got a lot farther by workin’ a lot harder, by scheme’n a lot smarter, by not letting anyone be a self-finisher, by fourteen, they placed him in the lead of a school musical.

And every day while extras were being slaughtered and carted, away across the waves, he struggled and kept his star up. Inside, he was longing for something better to be a part of, the brother was ready to beg, steal, borrow or barter his way to Hollywood or the great white way.

That’s right people, we are finally celebrating the final piece of the EGOT puzzle – welcome to Tony Gold: Hamilgold.

Image source: Unknown.

 

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David Croissant

Baking, Breakfast, Main, Side, Snack

As disappointing as it was to have series star – and my now current feud partner – Jason Bateman steal the announcement of Arrested Development season 5, seeing my boy Dave quickly cheered me up and helped me focus on positive things.

(Though obvi, revenge is still a possibility if I’m not cast as a missing Bluth).

I’ve known Dave for years, having met in the writers room of The Ben Stiller Show where I took him under my wing and made him my protege. Then I got fired, which resulted in me becoming ineligible for the writing Emmy that David went on to win with the rest of our co-workers in 1993. Obviously I held a grudge against all of them, but I particularly felt hurt by Dave and spent the next few years trying to bring him down.

Thankfully for my conscience, it didn’t work … and it also made Anna Faris’ job to reunite us on the set of Scary Movie 2, that little bit easier. Fun fact: helping us mend our mostly-one-sided feud inspired her to create her hit podcast Unqualified, but I digress.

With our friendship restored, I put his name forward for the small part of Tobias on that little show Arrested Development and the rest, as they say, is history.

Given that we haven’t seen each other since I caused a scene at the premiere of Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked – Jesse McCartney knows what he did – we had plenty to catch-up on.

I knew that we’d stay up all night chatting, so had pre-prepared a batch of David Croissants to help perk us up the next morning.

 

 

I have long loved croissants but the idea of making them had always terrified me. That is until I saw the hilarious – despite the insufferable children – It’s Complicated and fell in love with the scene of Mez and Steve making them.

While I in no way made the process look as glamourous as a Nora Ephron movie, these babies taste as buttery and delicious as you need. And can help you move past having your big announcement moment stolen by a dear friend.

Enjoy!

 

 

David Croissant
Serves: 6-12, hunger/greed dependent.

Ingredients
1 ½ cups milk, 41°C
¼ cup muscovado sugar
14g dry yeast
4 ½ cups plain flour
1 tbsp kosher salt
340g cold unsalted butter

Method
Ok, let’s start with the obvious part – this is a long-ass recipe and you need to start preparing it the day before. Maybe get a coffee and read through before you start it, ok?

Anywho … combine the warm milk, muscovado sugar and yeast in a large bowl of a stand mixer and allow to stand until foamy. This should take between five and ten minutes. Once foamy than a foam party – if they are/ever were a thing – add the flour and salt, and mix on low with a dough hook for about ten minutes, or until smooth, soft and only a little bit sticky. Like sticky in a good way, you know?

Shape into a 4cm thick rectangle, wrap in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for an hour or so.

Now this is where it gets time consuming and fiddly …

Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and beat mercilessly with a rolling pin until cold yet malleable, before shaping into a 20 x 12cm rectangle. Wrap in some wet kitchen towel and chill while you work on the dough. For the first time.

On that note, unwrap the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface until it forms a 25 x 40cm rectangle. Place the dough with the shortest end to you and place the butter across the centre. Fold the bottom third of dough up to cover the butter and the top third down over the done.

Brush off the excess flour before pressing horizontally dents along the short width of the  dough. Roll out the dough until it forms a 25 x 40cm rectangle without allowing any butter to escape.

Brush off excess flour, repeat the folding-into-thirds process to form a 20 x 12cm rectangle. Wrap in cling and chill for a further hour.

Repeat the dent, roll, tri-fold process a further three times, so it totals 4 folds. Confused? This is why I told you to grab a coffee and read it out – it is not as confusing in practice. After the final fold, wrap the dough and chill overnight for at least 8 hours.

To prepare the actual croissants – did you forget we were making those – cut the dough in half (chilling the other half until later). Roll out the non-chilling dough on a lightly floured surface until it forms a 30 x 40cm rectangle and brush off the excess flour. Arrange the shortest side of the dough to you, cut in half horizontally and chill another half. Cut the remaining half into thirds, vertically before cutting each rectangle diagonally into triangles.

Starting with the shortest side (aka the base) of the triangle – opposite the tip – and stretch the dough to double the length. Place the triangle on the bench and roll up from the base towards the tip – it should roll over itself three times. Place the shaped croissant on a lined baking sheet, tip side down and curve the ends inwards to form the crescent shape.

Repeat that process with the remaining triangles, then repeat the previous process with the other rolled rectangle, then repeat the process with the other half of chilling go. By the end, you’ll feel less confused … promise. Ish.

Lightly cover the shaped croissants with cling wrap and leave to rest for two to three hours or until puffy.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Uncover the croissants, generously spritz the oven more than a fading southern belle in the summer. Put the croissants in the oven, spritz the oven again and close the door. Reduce the temperature to 180°C and bake for ten minutes. Switch the trays – I probs should have mentioned you will have filled two trays with croissants – and spin 180°C before baking a further ten minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the oven and devour immediately with jam, or with ham and cheese and baked a further five minutes.

 

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