Making A Banshee Scream Using Only A Cupcake

The Cupcake That Made A Banshee Scream

A special St. Pats cupcake may be normal but The Screaming Banshee cupcake is paranormal!. Every year around this time we take out our Saint Patrick’s cupcakes specials and parade them around. No floats, bagpipes, or Grand Exalted Marshal of the shamrocks. No Mayors, marching bands, or baton twirlers. But what we do is bring our most popular celebratory cupcake of the year, The Screaming Banshee out from the woodwork. Daring anyone within taste bud range to rain on it’s parade it will march front and center on Sunday. The jig is up so keep your shamrocks, Kiss Me I’m Irish buttons, and the wearin’ o’the green. That’s not how I envision being Irish. When I imagine Ireland it conjures up other images. Leprechauns, pots of gold, rainbows, and those not so friendly ghosts, the screaming banshees. Screaming banshee cupcake? Seriously why? The Screaming Banshee in Irish legend is a spirit of a woman who moans woefully as someone is about to die. That doesn’t sound like a nice premise for a sweet little cupcake, but after all this special treat is…….TO DIE FOR!!
Here at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes however we think it’s worth living for. What kind of a cupcake could possibly have enough chops to honor this female spirit that makes shrill sounding utterances to coax the reapers of the underworld? What on gods green Eire can make banshee a special wondrous snack? My goal is to make it magically delicious. I asked myself what flavors for a cupcake rise to the level of Irish mythology? To start, I made the batter. Devils food cake of course, except I made mine using Guinness Stout. A dark stout for a dark spirit. The important thing to remember when making a Guinness chocolate cake is to overbuy the evil liquid. That way as the banshee cakes are cooking I can finish the remaining Guinness. Now for the filling, something strong and Irish. After consuming the leftover dark brew I’m left feeling slightly incomplete. What I need is a shot or four of some Irish whisky. MMMM, whiskey.
Whiskey is Gaelic for “water of Life”, or “lively water”. It’s a distilled beverage made from grains and is alcohol legend in history. The wild west was weaned on whisky in saloons, and its what the bootleggers loved to boot. Yahoo, mountain dew, the official beverage of the Blue Ridge Mountains. (and Appalachians too) . Across Europe whisky was distilled and consumed from back in the 3rd century. It spread quickly across to the UK and spread gigantic smiles on the faces of the Irish and Scottish lucky enough to have barrels on hand. There in that little corner of the world is where they brought whisky to new heights. It brought consumers to new heights as well and is likely why the Irish are so well known for having a penchant for imbibing. The Scotts even have a special whisky category with the creative name of Scotch Whisky. So whisky custard it is!
To make the whisky custard more evenly palatable is a tad tricky. I don’t want my cupcake to burn going down but I want to highlight the wonderful oak flavor and have just enough to not make you smile in a drunken stupor but to accentuate the smile brought about from eating. There is some controversy over whether cooking eliminates or lessens alcohol content so the first decision I made was not to cook the whisky at all. That removes all doubt, you will taste and feel the whiskey. I chose to add it raw to the custard. I make my vanilla custard a smidge thicker than usual and temper the whisky with some molasses. The molasses gives the whisky a smooth an sweet flavor and softens the strong oaks notes in the booze. And as the custard cools I slowly stir in the tasty hooch making sure to lick my fingers when completed. Now the Banshee is just about ready to make you scream.
The topping of the cupcake is of great importance. It not only is the first image one gets of the mini cake but it serves to give the cupcake sense of Nirvanic completion, a cosmic recognition, and it bridges the tower of flavors created underneath it. The topping gives the cupcake it’s propers and lends to it’s overall credibility. A nice rosette of whipped cream using a pinch of whisky in place of vanilla, then a coating of green sprinkles leaves no doubt as to its Irish origin. You may not find a leprechaun hiding a pot of gold here at Jarets Stuffed Cupcakes, but one bite from a screaming Banshee and you will feel like the richest person in town. Just remember that The Screaming Banshee cupcakes is safe and fun and meant to enhance your eating experience, not overpower it. Never abuse cupcakes, moderation is the key…………………….Peace

When The Saint Comes Marching In

Don’t Pee On My Parade and Tell Me Its Rain
There’s a parade coming to my town Saturday and I don’t want to be the one to rain on anyones parade, but someone has to do it. So as they elected the Grand Marshall of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, I have elected my self the Grand Marshall of questioning what all the shenanigans are about. More importantly just who is this Patrick dude, why is he a saint, and why are we celebrating him anyway?
The Feast of Saint Patrick. Celebrated in many parts of the world, The UK, Canada, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and of course here in my county, America. Even more localized the parade in my town of Nutley New Jersey will be this Saturday, because that’s the only day the bagpipers had open. Apparently here in America there is a shortage of men in skirts squeezing a bag with various pipe sticking out of it that makes haunting sounding music. New York City has the monopoly on pipers due to the huge going-ons in the city. It’s an official celebration here in New York every year beginning with the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They love their parades in Manhattan, and more than that they love the party and revelry that is mistaken as a free pass to exercise extreme inebriation and tomfoolery. “Step out of the road my dear lady there’s a parade coming through.” Every Irish pub is filled to the rafters with either Irish or temporary Irish folk singing Irish tunes. Maybe I should say slurring Irish tunes, many in manbraces swaying to the country sounding tunes of Ireland. People come in buses, trains, and cars from all around the area to get drunk and share overplayed jokes like “More like Erin go Braless,“ or “Kiss me I’m drunk.” After the parade the city is packed with people who celebrate the day by excessive drinking which somehow translates into being Irish. The bars serve green beer which as I’ve heard it told, turns ones urine a pastel lime green. But allow me to back up a little and investigate why March 17th became such a decadent celebration here.
Patrick is the patron saint, or heavens advocate, for the Republic of Ireland. He lived from AD 385-461 and passed away on March 17th. That explains some of the heavy drinking and carousing and basic mayhem surrounding this day as it’s a ginourmous multi-country funeral repast. If you’ve ever been to an Irish funeral you know what I mean. When a friend or family member passes away we throw a party and instead of sitting around crying we have copious amounts of raisin‘ the glass. I guess it a kind of last hurrah and we get drunk, sing songs, stuff our gullets with food, and remember all the great times we had with the deceased. Clearly Patrick is more than just a passing acquaintance because the party returns year after year. What makes him so special?
Not much is known about this mysterious saint, but from what I was able to find out he was born a Deacons son in an area once known as the Romano-British culture and not in Ireland at all. This has led to all kinds of confusion, the Romans claiming he is Italian, and the United Kingdom assuring he was a Brit. Whatever! He was kidnapped by some Irish raiders and held prisoner. While in prison God talked to him and told him to escape and go back to his home which he did. There he became a bishop. As a Bishop he went back to Ireland, moving diagonally as Bishops do, and was told by God this time to help convert the Irish into Catholicism. In a vision he was asked to be the “Voice of the Irish”.
So it was that Patrick headed into Ireland and began what today would be called “Bishop Patrick’s Catholic Revival,” He set about baptizing, ordaining, and basically teaching the doctrines of Christianity to the Irish people. One particular lesson was the teaching of the Holy Trinity and its rumored he reached down and plucked a three leaf clover as a visual aid. So impressed were his students they embraced the shamrock as a national symbol and it remains synonymous with Ireland to this very day. The wearing of shamrocks on their clothes and patches strengthened the resolve of that symbol and long after Patrick was gone in 1798 Irish soldiers took it a step further and wore all green uniforms. That gave us the famous “wearing of the green” ritual. Patrick had become the icon of Ireland. One of the more dramatic claims of Patty was how he banned the snakes from Ireland. Truthfully, snakes would find it difficult to migrate there so its true there are no indigenous snakes, so methinks it was a metaphor for evil assholes. Anyway, according to Eugene O’Neil, St. Patrick tossed all the snakes of Ireland into the Atlantic Ocean where they swam across to New York an became cops… What? It could happen!
Here in America along with the drinking and parade we also celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner. This I find amusing because there is not a huge following of this meal in Ireland. It’s about as Irish as apple pie. You will however find it very often in a New England Boiled Dinner. I believe it is jut a small touch of confusion. Ireland is largely a farming and herding country. That means hours and hours in the fields working hard. The women folk worked even harder, taking care of all the chores around the house as well as some of the farming or herding tasks. They were responsible to have food on the table at the end of the day and like many hard working women completed it by making a slow cooked stew or boiled meal. Dinner was created in a one pot vessel on a stove. One pot meal. A casserole. The meat in first, later the potatoes, then the carrots, and so on. Like Goulash, Tagine, Duchie, Bourguignon, Cachupa, and tons of cultural stew dishes were born this way. Corning, or curing was popularized during the industrial revolution but even before that meats had to be preserved somehow on the long boat trips across the Atlantic to America. So early colonist in America likely ate a lot of cured and pickled foods. A more traditional Irish dinner would include seafood like prawns and salmon around the area of Dublin Bay, or lamb with potatoes and sausage in the farmlands. I imagine Patrick himself would get a kick out of watching us celebrate being Irish by drinking green beer and eating corned beef and cabbage. I’m relatively certain he would more likely have some advice for us along the lines of kiss my Irish ass but we party the way we party.
Or maybe he would prefer the wise Irish advice I got from my Mum and Dad. My dear old Dad always told me to celebrates it with an Irish seven course meal. A six pack of Guinness and a baked potato. My Mum told me the Irish are exceptionally good at one of two things, loving or fighting. At six foot four you might think I would be a good fighter, but alas I am not. But lover? Many would be green with envy but that’s a horse of a different color!…………………PEACE

The Next Great Cupcake

Kiss Me, I’m a Cupcake
It was once said that a cupcake poets work is never done. Okay so it was me that said it, but its not without some inkling of truth. No sooner has the satisfied sweet treats of Valentines specials been fully consumed when the question comes. “What’s up for St. Patrick’s day chef?” After a few hyper-ventilating breaths, a fair amount of Pinot Noir, and a meditative clearing of the creative chasm in my head I am ready. A very successful array of valentine treats have been digested by my cupcake foodies and now I look towards what will be coming up in the next few weeks here.
I know, I know, its not until March 17th, but around here in Jersey the parade celebrations start early. Apparently its hard to engage a good bagpipe band around St. Patty’s day because everyone needs one in their town parade. Due to the scarcity of good pipers the demand is high and it has become necessary to hire the bands on alternative Saturdays in different towns. I call bullshit! Sounds to me its all about having a four weekend celebration of partying in various towns in the area. Regardless, I take on my normal challenge of coming up with something special for the extended celebration as serious as the consumers of corned beef and green beer take theirs. So today I begin working on my 2013 St. Patrick Day Cupcake.
To begin with I will remind you of our regular specials which have become standard fare due to popularity. We presently have four cupcakes that will be making cameo appearances over the next few weeks. “The Screaming Banshee, a chocolate Guinness cupcake with whisky custard and whipped cream topping (my fave), “The Danny Boy” , an Irish cream vanilla cupcake with Irish cream custardf an whipped cream, “The Shamrock and Roll,” chocolate cupcake with clover honey whiskey custard and cream cheese icing. And “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” vanilla cupcake with oatmeal cookie bottom orange mousse an vanilla icing. Those are the four horseman of St. Patrick’s treats. But as a cupcake engineer its my responsibility to have something more 2013-ish.
Creating the proper cupcake isn’t done in one sitting. It begins with a concept and continues as a work in progress. First the working title. This year I want to pay homage to the great Irish population of Boston. Loud and Proud the Bostonian Irish community have a strong voice in pop culture, and our cupcakes are largely inspired by pop culture, especially the music. So the name. House of Pain is a terrible name for a cupcake as is Dropkick Murphy’s. The dropkicks do however have one song that I absolutely love! Ergo, my working title is “Shipping Off To Boston”. The finished product hasn’t been determined yet but to reflect this wonderful communities culture the cupcake will be filled with Indian Pudding, a staple at Boston’s most famous restaurants. Of course this too can change, but for now it sounds really promising to me. It sounds so damn good it makes me wanna…..Jump Around, jump up, jump up, and get down! Stay tuned….PEACE