For Your Consideration: Gingerbread Toaster Pastries with Bourbon Pear Filling

by Irvin on February 27, 2012 · 43 comments

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FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

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COLD OPEN/TEASER

The San Francisco kitchen is surprisingly large and tidy for the amount of equipment stuffed into it. The large windows fill the room with warm gray light, typical of San Francisco. The oven is turned to 350˚F and the smells of wintery spices like ginger, cloves and allspice waft pleasantly through the one bedroom apartment. Irvin is busy at the counter, rolling dark brown dough on his new silicon pastry mat. His previous plastic one had accidentally melted when it somehow came to rest on the toaster oven when he had used it to make some frozen French fries. You can see the half melted pastry mat in the recycle bin behind him.

The timer goes off, and Irvin goes to the oven, opens it up and pulls out the first tray of the Gingerbread Toaster Oven Pastries with Bourbon Pear Filling. He looks down and frowns. Then Irvin looks over to the cookbook propped open on his table next to the stovetop. The fresh baked pastries look nothing like the picture in the cookbook.

FADE OUT

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ONE YEAR AGO. INSIDE A TASTING PAVILION TENT AT THE PEBBLE BEACH FOOD & WINE EVENT. THERE ARE LOTS OF PEOPLE MILLING AROUND.

A wide-eyed Irvin (played by John Cho) is standing around with Sabrina (played by Zooey Deschanel) and as his head turns to looks around, he spots someone. In HAZY slow motion, you see Irvin whip his heard around and grab Sabrina by the arm.

IRVIN
Oh my God! You won’t believe who’s here!

SABRINA
Who?

Irvin freezes, like a deer caught in the spotlight.

SABRINA
Irvin? Hello. Irvin. Who?

Sabrina waves her hand in front of Irvin’s face.

IRVIN
What? Oh Sorry. A totally hot guy just walked by. No, Sherry Yard! I LOVE her!

Sabrina gives Irvin a blank stare.

IRVIN
You know, Sherry Yard? Only my pastry idol? The one who wrote the book Secrets of Baking that basically changed the way I bake and think about baking? The one who I would totally stalk, except I’m way too lazy to stalk someone because that’s too much work. She’s the Executive Pastry Chef of the Wolfgang Puck restaurant group. She’s responsible for the Grammy’s and Emmy’s and Academy Awards dessert courses. And clearly I know way too much about her because I’m rambling.

Sabrina continues to give Irvin a blank stare and pauses for Irvin to catch his breath.

SABRINA
Ok. Wanna go up and talk to her?

IRVIN
What? And have me go all fan boy on her? Gush and scare her off?

Irvin freezes. Just stares. A beat of silence.

IRVIN
Ok.

IRVIN hustles and quickly works his way through the crowd, knocking over a few slightly drunken people of indeterminable age (the plastic surgery they’ve had makes it hard to tell if they are in their 30s or 50s). Sabrina has a hard time keeping up. Irvin approaches Pastry Chef Sherry Yard (played by Melissa McCarthy) quickly while she has her back turned at her booth. She turns and is startled when she sees Irvin standing dangerously close to her and her cookies.

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SHERRY
Oh. Hello.

Irvin pauses for a beat. He looks almost calm and reserve. Then…

IRVIN
Oh. Um. Hi. I’m Irvin. I just wanted to say that you are totally my pastry idol and I absolutely love you and your book Secrets of Baking changed my life and the way that I bake and I now have a food blog and you are fantastic and I’m sorry I’m going into fanboy mode, but I just love you.

Sherry looks taken aback. She physically steps back from Irvin, with a look of indeterminate emotion on her face. Is it fear? Is it confusion? A slow pause then…

SHERRY
Thank you!

There’s a huge grin on Sherry’s face.

SHERRY
I’m so glad you loved my book! Come here. Let’s take a picture together.

Irvin hands the camera to Sabrina and poses with Sherry.

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FADE TO BLACK

NINE MONTHS AGO. INSIDE A DIFFERENT TENT FOR A FOOD EVENT, THE MEALS ON WHEELS STAR CHEFS & VINTNERS GALA. IRVIN IS WITH AJ (PLAYED BY JAKE GYLLENHAAL WITH A BEARD AND GLASSES) THIS TIME IN TUXEDOS.

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IRVIN
Oh crap.

Close up of Irvin. You can see a slight bead of sweat forming on his brow. He has a look of panic in his eyes and all of sudden the camera switches to Irvin POV for a moment and everything looks hyper saturated, slightly blurry around the edges and shaky. It’s as if he’s having a minor panic attack.

AJ
What?

A pause.

IRVIN
Um. Pastry Chef Sherry Yard is here. There’s a slight chance that I might have frightened her last time I saw her. I kind of went into fanboy mode and gushed that she changed my life.

AJ
Sherry who? And Really? You never go into fanboy mode. Even when you met Jane Lynch you were super cool.

Quick cut flashback to Irvin paying papparazi of Jane Lynch (played by herself) with his camera and trying to play it cool, all the while taking photos of her in a overly deliberate nonchalant manner. He is definitely not playing it super cool, despite what he thinks.

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IRVIN
Oh yeah. I WAS super cool when I met Jane Lynch. I dunno. I just kind of snapped when I saw Sherry Yard. I don’t know what happened. Maybe I was dazzled by the fact that she does the Grammy’s and Oscar party desserts or something. Well hopefully she won’t remember me.

AJ
I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.

IRVIN
It was bad.

Blurry fast forward through the night. Irvin and AJ eating a lot of fantastic food and drinking way too many glasses of wine from the different stations. The scene slows down for a moment when Irvin and AJ sit down to their three-course meal, zooming into close ups of the rare tuna, rabbit and hanger steak that is slowly going into their mouths. Then it speeds up again through the brightly colored desserts and live DJ set. It finally settles down to normal speed as we see that Irvin and AJ are one of the last people to leave.

IRVIN
Look. There’s Sherry Yard! I’m going to play it cool and go talk to her. Stop me if I gush.

AJ
Ha!

IRVIN
Shut up.

Irvin approaches Sherry and she turns around and is startled again.

IRVIN
Hi! I don’t know if you remember me, but we chatted at the Food & Wine Festival down at Pebble Beach. I promise I’m not stalking you.

Sherry looks at Irvin and initially is puzzled. Then a dawning look of recognition shows on her face.

SHERRY
Yes! Hi! I totally remember you. How are you?

IRVIN
I’m doing well. This is my partner AJ.

SHERRY
Hi! Nice to meet you. I’m glad Irvin has a partner, I was a little scared that he was stalking me.

IRVIN pauses dead in his tracks.

SHERRY
Kidding! Totally kidding. It’s so nice to meet you. Did you enjoy yourself?

AJ
Of course, it’s been a great evening!

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SHERRY
Now, have you guys been to the restaurant?

AJ looks at Irvin. There’s an exchange of looks, as AJ hasn’t a clue what restaurant Sherry Yard works at. With a split second pause, Irvin slides in…

IRVIN
No. No, we actually haven’t been yet!

SHERRY
Oh well you MUST! Let me know when you come down to LA and we’ll totally treat you like kings there!

Irvin is starry eyed.

IRVIN
Of course! We’d love to! Actually we will be heading down there in a month because AJ does the AIDS Lifecycle from San Francisco to LA

Sherry gets all excited and turns to AJ.

SHERRY
You do? That is so amazing! My friend Tom does that ride! Oh do you know him? I totally have a picture of him. Hold on. Let me find it on my phone.

Sherry whips out here iPhone and starts scrolling around, all the while mumbling under her breathe…

SHERRY
I know it’s on here somewhere. I just got a text from him. Where is it?

After a few minutes, Sherry gives up and turns to us.

SHERRY
Hmmm… I can’t find it, but you can’t miss him. White guy, tall, brown hair, fit, super attractive. Gay….

Sherry’s voice trails off, as she realizes that she is probably describing 70% of the riders on the AIDS lifecycle. She then starts to giggle.

AJ
Well, I’m not sure, but it’s possible I have met him.

Sherry waves her arms completely dismissing the thought.

SHERRY
You two have to come to the restaurant when you’re in LA. Here, I’ll give you my cell phone, just text me when you are coming down and I’ll set you up. I’ll totally treat you guys like kings! The AIDS lifecycle. So cool!

Irvin is a shell shocked when Sherry starts to spout out digits and quickly whips out his phone and punched in her phone number. He looks at disbelief at his phone that he has his pastry idol’s phone number in his cell.

SHERRY
Well, it was so great to meet you both!

AJ AND IRVIN IN UNISON
You too!

Sherry walks off, and as she does, AJ and Irvin bump into Yigit Pura (played by Alexander Skarsgård), winner of the first season of Top Chef Just Desserts holding flower arrangements as the event breaks down around him. He recognizes Irvin from meeting him and AJ earlier at the event.

YIGIT
Oh hey guys! You guys want some flowers?

IRVIN
Oh um. Thanks. No, we’re ok.

YIGIT
Really? You guys are rejecting flowers from me?

IRVIN
Um… Sorry?

Yigit turns around hurt and immediately finds two other attractive gay men to give flowers to. They graciously accept them.

AJ and IRVIN exit the tent

FADE TO BLACK

PRESENT DAY. IRVIN IS IN HIS KITCHEN, STUDYING HIS VERSION OF THE GINGERBREAD TOASTER PASTRIES WITH BOURBON PEAR FILLING THAT WE SAW IN THE COLD OPEN. HE LOOKS DISMAYED. AJ WANDERS IN.

AJ
Whatcha doin’?

IRVIN
Well, the Oscars are this weekend and because Sherry Yard does the desserts for the award ceremony dinner and I was browsing her cookbook today I got inspired by one of her recipes for a post-Oscar blog post on Eat the Love. But sadly, it went sideways when I did my gingerbread dough. I think I got the wrong ratios when I rejiggered Sherry’s recipe. I need more flour, less baking soda and should bake it on parchment paper for longer, instead of the silpat. Also totally different sugar on top.

Irvin frowns.

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AJ
I’m sorry. Were you still talking? I started to zone out after “the Oscars”…

IRVIN
Whatever.

AJ
Well you know I have absolutely no interest in popular culture.

AJ keeps on eyeing the sad looking pastries

AJ
Can I have one? They smell really good even if you aren’t happy with them.

IRVIN
Sure. They probably taste ok, they just don’t look that great is all.

AJ is too busy taking a bite to reply, and then when he does, he talks with his mouth full.

AJ
Rurmhph rumphhhfur swrooryr.

IRVIN
Huh? I’m sorry I don’t speak crazy talk.

AJ swallows with a big gulp. Close up of AJ’s throat as his does a big gulp swallow. Then…

AJ
Whatever. They taste great.

IRVIN
Back to drawing board though. I gotta make them Oscar award worth. Sherry Yard worthy.

Quick cut to Irvin writing on his yellow pad of paper, reworking the formula for the recipe. In fast-forward you see Irvin dumping flours into a mixing bowl on a kitchen scale and mixing them in hyperfast speed with a balloon whisk, then creaming the butter and makes the dough, then refrigerates it, makes the filling, pulls out the dough, preheats the oven, rolls it and makes the pastries. He sticks the first round into the oven and then slumps into his kitchen chair.

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AJ
How goes it?

IRVIN
Not bad. Pretty decent actually. I think I nailed it this time. We’ll see.

AJ
It really smells gingerbread fantastic in here right now. Totally gingerbreadtastic.

IRVIN
Thanks.

Close up of the timer, as the dial clicks to ZERO and a piercingly loud sounds emits from it. AJ jumps up startled.

IRVIN
That’s it. Moment of truth. Opening of the envelope. Let’s see if these pastries wins the gold statue. I wanna make Sherry Yard proud. Even if she never did get back to me when I texted her while we were in LA last year to see if we could go to her restaurant and get treated like kings.

AJ
Honey, you have to let that go.

IRVIN
Whatever.

Close up of the oven door being pulled open. The pastries look beautiful. They are sugar coated to perfection. Irvin beams.

IRVIN
Now those. Those are Sherry Yard worthy.

Camera focuses on the pastries sitting on the wire cooling rack. Camera pulls back and you see AJ going in for a pastry, while Irvin slaps his hand and tells him to let them cool a bit longer. AJ ignores him and grabs one and takes a bit bite. Then he starts waving into his mouth that it was hot and starts speaking in mouth full talk.

AJ
Orrgumm Shhuuuu Horrrttt.

IRVIN
Remember? Don’t speak crazy…

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FADE TO BLACK
END OF SHOW
CREDITS ROLL

The 2012 Pebble Beach Food and Wine will be happening on April 12th to 15th at Pebble Beach, California. You can visit their website for more information.

The 2012 Meals on Wheel’s Annual Star Chef & Vintners Gala is on April 22 in San Francisco. You can visit their website for more information.

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. February 27, 2012 at 6:28 am

Your Hollywood movie doppelgangers are SPOT ON, dude. You have a gift!

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:46 am

Thanks Casey! I was quite pleased that all the Hollywood actors were available for my indie film with such a limited budget. Though I did approach Keanu Reeves to play me and he agreed, but then had to pull out because of scheduling conflicts.

Reply

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. February 28, 2012 at 5:34 am

Well, Keanu DOES get sad from time to time. We don’t want you to be played as a mopey guy!

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Irvin February 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

True that. However, the studios wanted me to cast Adam Brody, but I had to take a hard stand and tell them as much as I loved The O.C., I really couldn’t cast a white person as me. We settled on Keanu, as at least he’s half Hawaiian/Chinese but then he bailed and John Cho was available. It all worked out in the end!

Reply

jaime February 27, 2012 at 6:38 am

This is such a fun layout, I love the movie theme!

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Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:46 am

Yay thanks! I had a fun time doing it.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 27, 2012 at 8:35 am

Bourbon Pear Filling– that alone I’d just want to never leave the kitchen and that bowl very far from my site!

Great, fun, post and fab recipe!

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:47 am

I’m telling you, that bourbon pear filling is fantastic. It’s super easy to make and I could (and actually did) just spoon it up and eat it directly.

Reply

Garrett February 27, 2012 at 8:57 am

One of the most creative and entertaining posts I’ve read in a very long time. Well done, Irvin. Also, props to not feeling constrained to the holidays with gingerbread. I love making it all year round, too, and it’s nice to see someone else doing the same.

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:48 am

Thanks Garrett! That’s high praise coming from you, mister writing teacher.

And yes, I love warm and spicy gingerbread any time of the year! It’s too bad it gets relegated to the holidays.

Reply

Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator February 27, 2012 at 9:12 am

Fabulous post! Felt like I was there. :)

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:49 am

Yay! Then my post was a success as that was my exact purpose. Thank you.

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The Suzzzz February 27, 2012 at 10:38 am

Brilliant! You have a real talent. I follow a lot of food blogs but yours is one of only 5 that I actually look forward to with anticaption every single week.

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:51 am

Thank you so much! Your comment made my day. There are so many great food blogs out there, and it’s heartwarming to know that I’m one of the select few that you look forward to.

Reply

Dina Avila February 27, 2012 at 12:18 pm

You are simply fabulous, funny and incredibly adorable. I LOVE this post!

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Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:52 am

Thank you Dina! I love that you love this post!

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AJ February 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Great post. I love it! Just like the toaster pastries that my Organic Chemistry students devoured! Thank you for leaving out my wardrobe malfunction.

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Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:52 am

Of course! Though I reserve the right to bring it up another time. ;)

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Steph February 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

now I wanna know the wardrobe malfunction story!

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Next time I see you in person, ask me about it!

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Steph February 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I’ll try to remember! And, when is this “next time”?!

Megan - Newly Wife February 27, 2012 at 4:27 pm

LOVED this! That is all! :)

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 2:53 am

Thank you. That is all! ;)

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thelittleloaf February 28, 2012 at 5:08 am

Haha I loved reading this post! And it’s introduced me to an incredible new pastry chef too…awesome :-)

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Irvin February 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I adore Sherry Yard. Even if she did ignore all my texts to her.

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Steph February 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

**applause**

I would watch anything with Melissa McCarthy *and* Jane Lynch in it. Great casting!

(also, love the baking montage scene. Montages in general. You need a makeover montage in this movie, I think!)

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Right? I love them both.

And there WAS a makeover montage in the original script. Well more of a getting dressed/what does one where/trying on different outfits montage for the Pebble Beach act. But sadly it got left on the cutting room floor during editing. Look for it in the deleted scenes extras on the DVD though.

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Steph February 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm

will the DVD extras also include a gag reel?

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elizabeyta February 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

I loved this! When I saw the title of the post, I was very interested. After reading, even more so. Now to make it gluten free……. :)

Reply

Irvin February 28, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I think gluten free would be pretty easy! Just sub the flours and add a binder like some ground chia seed/flax seed. The filling is naturally gluten free. So glad you liked it!

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Jonathan February 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm

I LOVE this. Absolutely, head-over-heels. Just when I think no one will understand the things & thoughts that make me laugh, the Universe is always quick to remind me that I’m not alone. Looking forward to this in theatres…

Thank you, Irvin!

Reply

Irvin March 3, 2012 at 12:20 am

Thanks Jonathan! It pleases me that you and I have the same sense of humor!

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Christina @ The Hungry Australian March 2, 2012 at 1:16 am

HILARIOUS! I cracked up again and again reading this post, Irvin.

Have you ever read any screenwriting books? You’ve certainly got all the language down pat.

Love it!

Reply

Irvin March 3, 2012 at 12:22 am

Ha! Thanks Christina. Nope, never read any screenwriting books. Never really been an interest of mine. In fact, I’m terrible at writing dialogue. It’s one of the things I used to always struggle with when I wrote fiction.

That said, I did download and look at a few scripts to get a sense of the formatting of how they do it. It was a fun exercise in writing for me.

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anneliesz March 2, 2012 at 11:11 am

I laughed. I cried. I got concerned you were stalking Sherry Yard too. (J/K) Very creative format and story-telling Irvin. We devoured our Gingerbread Toaster Pastry… Yum!

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Irvin March 3, 2012 at 12:23 am

As I said before, t0tally too lazy to actually stalk someone, so Sherry Yard is totally safe!

Glad you liked the gingerbread toaster pastry. The one I gave to you was the first attempt. These are much better. ;)

Reply

Dawn March 2, 2012 at 11:26 am

Thanks for this recipe – It looks great & I’m going to make it for guests tomorrow night. Quick question – I don’t like bourbon, but am a love slave to amaretto. Do you think the amaretto/gingerbread combination will work? Thanks for sharing through your spiffy blog!

Reply

Irvin March 3, 2012 at 12:24 am

Hmmm. I imagine that amaretto would go pretty well with gingerbread. You can try it. Another option would be dark rum if you have that and like it.

But I can see amaretto working. Let me know how it turns out if you make it!

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David March 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

If I may say so:
1. Commercial toaster pastries are a guilty road trip pleasure. So I look forward to making these.
2. AJ has it all over Jake.
XO
D

Reply

Aesc March 4, 2012 at 9:00 am

I read all your posts, but this one is my favourite ever.

Also, I’ve never seen anything like gingerbread toaster pastries before and they are on the list of things to make when I’m back in a country that has molasses for, um, less than €10.

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Phuoc'n Delicious March 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm

I love it! What an entertaining post Irvin! How cool is it that you got to meet your pastry idol, I know if I was in the same boat I’d be gushing as well. These look and sound kick-ass, Autumn is coming up for us in Sydney so I can imagine these would be a great hit. Thanks for sharing these

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Aly March 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

You are adorable. THIS is adorable!!!

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greenstrivings November 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm

I’ve got these in the oven now. I seem to be the first commenter to actually try making these, so I thought I’d leave some notes.

The gingerbread is delicious. The dough is very, very soft and sticky, even with being in the freezer. I ended up dividing it into thirds so that I could deal with smaller squares. When I tidied up the edges, I put the scraps back in the freezer and re-rolled them again. I rolled the dough out onto powdered sugar, not flour, to avoid over-flouring the dough. And I used all whole-wheat flour for the dough, plus the cornstarch. It seems like that would have made it firmer than your recipe. Next time I’d leave out the egg yolk. My oven’s a bit slow and I baked these at @25 minutes.

I used amaretto in the filling and added about half a cup of fresh cranberries to offset the sweetness. If I made these again, I’d only put in about a tablespoon of sugar into the filling; it’s very sweet to my taste. The amaretto goes well with the pears and the gingerbread, though.

Reply

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