17 July 2011

like a dream I'm flowing with no stopping, sweeter than a cherry pie with ready whip topping

Telling people you love a particular TV show can be a bit like telling them about a dream you had last night. They think, Great. I'm really pleased that I'm hearing about something fictitious which happened while you were entirely sedentary. With my weekend, I sculpted the concept "love" out of clay*, bought an adorable classic car, went to three different concerts, and took a mini-break to the seaside with my many, many friends. Tim mostly bears the brunt of my dream-recollection, including my fairly irrational indignation when he does something annoying in said dreams, but I do find it hard not to talk plenty to whoever'll listen about TV shows that I love. In case you're wondering, it's all the obvious ones - Mad Men (I want a pencil skirt!) Game of Thrones (I want a dragon!) The Wire (I want Stringer Bell!) But recently Ange, our ex-flatmate but current friend, gave Tim and I something we'd been after for a long time - the TV-est TV show of all: Twin Peaks. A show that gave water coolers a dual reason for existence. A show that has basically one piece of music for its entire score. A show that straddles horror and hilarity. A show with a feature-length pilot episode that was sold off to Europe as a stand-alone movie.


And a show - this is where I'm hoping it'll start to make sense - a show that talks about pie a lot. Also donuts, but the cherry pie is apparently a big damn deal to Kyle McLachlan's character Dale Cooper, and I swear nearly every time he mentions it, he uses some kind of reference to death. As one of my old uni tutors would say, while slapping a copy of In Cold Blood in time to each syllable, it's all in the text. To illustrate the dramatic-ness of how we feel about it, last Saturday night Tim and I had planned to go out and do Saturday night things. We thought we'd casually watch a bit of TV till the point of the evening where it feels acceptably late enough to leave the house. At 1.30am, five episodes into Twin Peaks, we realised we weren't going to be leaving the house that night at all. And I realised the time had come, after Dale Cooper's boundless and influential enthusiasm, for me to make a cherry pie.


Above: If Dale Cooper was here, he'd zoom in on this picture of cherries and see my reflection in them. (+10 points for referencing something from the show while referencing something from the show!)


Lucky for me, I had a jar of morello cherries that my nana had given me as a present a while back sitting in the cupboard. If you're not blessed with such a cool and shrewd nan as I, the jars seem to be fairly easy to get hold of and not very expensive - plus their syrupy habitat means you can turn this out any time of year. While cherry pie is as American as apple pie (or pecan pie, or blueberry pie - what a lucky country!) I somewhat predictably turned to Nigella Lawson and a recipe from her seminal text How To Eat. While you can make pastry completely by hand, and I've done it, it's definitely a squillion times easier with a food processor. Either way, the significant upside is that this recipe doesn't need blind baking - you just roll it out, line the pie plate, fill it up, put a pastry lid on it and bake.


This pie is a joy, both in the making and the eating. Rolling out the pastry and carefully arranging the light-catching cherries. The scent of them jammily cooking away, and of butter and flour coming together as one to form rich, crisp pastry in the oven. The feeling of grabbing it out of the oven with teatowel-shielded hands, setting it down on the bench and vaingloriously roaring "I MADE PIE".

And how. The pastry is biscuity and buttery and miraculously not prone to soggy-ness (unlike the endearing but mysteriously Deputy Sheriff Andy Brennan in Twin Peaks who cries constantly.) The filling is an appealing mix of tart and sugary. And due to the minimal ingredients, the peerless, fragrantly sweet cherry flavour is allowed to shine.


Above: Dale Cooper really liked black coffee. And that's actual coffee in there, which I drank after taking this photo. Not just an empty-cup-as-prop. I keep it real for this blog, even while engaging in flights of baking-fantasy as inspired by an ancient television show.


Dale Cooper: "They've got a cherry pie there that'll kill you!"

*Just when you thought I couldn't get any cooler, I should probably own up that this is a reference to Ashley Wyeth, a character from Baby Sitters Club #12, Claudia and the New Girl. That is all.

Cherry Pie

Recipe from How To Eat, by Nigella Lawson

Pastry:

240g self-raising flour (or, plain plus a heaped teaspoon baking powder)
120g cold diced butter
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons water

Filling:

1 jar - around 700g - of morello cherries in syrup
30g melted butter
90g sugar
1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon of juice from the jar of drained cherries

Set your oven to 200 C/400 F, and put in a baking tray to heat up while this is happening. This helps to properly cook the bottom of the pastry shell.

Put your butter and flour into the freezer for a few minutes, before briefly whizzing in a food processor to the point where there are no large pieces of butter and it looks like damp sand.
Mix the liquid pastry ingredients together and add to the food processor, briefly processing again till it comes together in larger clumps, and if you pinch together some of the crumbs they stick together. Tip out this crumbly mixture, push it together into a large lump, and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Then, divide into two discs, roll out both, and use one to line a fairly shallow 20cm pie plate.

Filling: Drain the cherries of their juices. Mix the butter, sugar, flour and reserved tablespoon of cherry juice to make a pinkish paste and spread this across the inside of the pastry lining the pastry place. Dot the cherries evenly across the pie plate until it's covered, then drape the other disc of pastry across the top, trimming the edges and crimping them if you're good at that (I'm not!)

Make a few small slices in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape, and then place on the hot baking tray in the oven. After 15 minutes, cover loosely with tin foil and reduce the temperature to 180 C. Bake for another 18 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before eating - it'll collapse if you try to slice it too soon.
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Title via: The Beastie Boys, Whatcha Want - very likely my favourite song of theirs after Remote Control, and fortuitously referencing cherry pie. Not that ready whip topping was involved in the making of this, but it wouldn't be out of context if you've got some handy...
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Music lately:

I know she has so many hits that even ten years ago it required a double CD package to release a compilation of them all - but some of Mariah Carey's early album tracks are absolutely glorious in their own right, too. Like And You Don't Remember from her second album Emotions which could've easily been a single alongside the rest of the outrageously good ones from that album.

From Slow Boat Records today I snapped up the 1987 revival cast recording of Anything Goes on vinyl. Patti LuPone was in sublime form (and wears very cool blue and white tap shoes) and gets so many good songs it's hard to know where to start. But of course the title track is as good a place as any.

Falling, aka the Twin Peaks theme. Someone kindly made a montage of of images of waterfalls for you while you listen to it on youtube.
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Next time: Not pie. Probably something from my Ottolenghi cookbook, since I flicked through it this morning and thought "oh, that's right! I want to cook every single recipe in this!" Also: my parents adopted a kitten. There might be photos, accompanied by captions deeply imbued with longing.

14 comments:

  1. Laura, I have a jar of cherries in the cupboard which are just waiting to be used!
    Fate!

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  2. I adore cherry pie. I try to make one a year with fresh cherries - so good! I macerate the fruit in a little sugar and cornflour before I pack them into the pastry, which means you get a lovely gel around them as the pastry cools and it doesn't go soggy.

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  3. Oh, Twin Peaks! I remember I watched the first season years ago and was absolutely fascinated. And not only because it took be a while to reorient my thinking after seeing the importent Trey from SATC in a completely different role ;)

    I've never made pie... can I have a slice of yours instead?

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  4. oooh, cherry pie! yum, it looks really good :)

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  5. love this! love twin peaks. and I also love your wee bit about coffee cups. it gets me so much all the coffee drinking in tv programs, it's so fake! i swear all of them just use empty mugs/takeaway cups. just a little pet hate of mine ..

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  6. i can still hear the twin peaks music even after not thinking about that show for years......... i love the pastry doesn't need to be blind baked, that does my head in sometimes .......

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  7. Game of Thrones themed cooking blog post, please?
    (mmm horse hearts). Silliness aside though, turns out the books contain a lot of food descriptions. though lamprey pie sounds kinda gross and I'm annoyed that Sansa is so obsessed with lemon cakes, because I don't like the idea that I share any tastes with her.

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  8. I don't have TV and probably do drive people mad with my hectic life but I am pleased to confess I have seen and love Twin Peaks back in the days I had tele. Who else to turn to for pie recipes but Nigella ..or maybe Delia :0) ok giving my age away now.

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  9. F yeah, I've been waiting for a Beastie quote! Oh, how I love them. Do you happen to know if their new album is any good?

    All the Twin Peaks references made me smile, almost as much as the BSC ref. Ha! As far as boring people to tears with endless renditions of dreams you've had, keep it up, for one day, your dreams may become as substantial as Coop's:

    "Following a dream I had three years ago, I have become deeply moved by the plight of the Tibetan people, and have been filled with a desire to help them. I also awoke from the same dream realizing that I had subconsciously gained knowledge of a deductive technique, involving mind-body coordination operating hand-in-hand with the deepest level of intuition."

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  10. Love Twin Peaks....one of my favourite shows ever! And yes he did love that cherry pie....& I think I would love yours, a slice about now with a big dollop of cream would be lovely.

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  11. This looks awesome and coincidently I have a jar of cherries in my fridge that need using.. ideal. Thanks for the recipe!

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  12. AnonymousMay 09, 2012

    Came for the Beastie Boys, stayed for the pie.

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  13. Hi Laura, I came across Hungry and Frozen a while ago when I as searching for Wgtn based food blogs, and have been having a bit of a look around. Thanks for *such* a great read! I also saw you recently in the DomPost - you know have really made it when you are featured in Who What Wear! (Well, apart from having a book deal of course). I like the way this post reads as though you made Cherry Pie at 1.30 am...! Thanks for the encouragement to give pastry making a try too.

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  14. Twin Peaks!!! Ahhhhhh! All anyone has to do is mention Twin Peaks and I am enticed, but that pie looks so yummy, too! This post wins a million points for being fantastic.

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