I have been on a steady diet of crime TV, strong black coffee and slices of this gorgeous cherry pie. Three guesses as to what show I have been binging on this week, though you will probably only need one. Twin Peaks - a healthy dose of crime drama meeting comic absurdity and a love of the retro diner scene. I was a wee bub when David Lynch's Twin Peaks first aired on TV. It wasn't until college, under a cloud of reefer smoke and in a vodka fuelled haze that I fully began to appreciate it, by which time it had already achieved its height cult tv status. Like many I am gearing myself up for the show's much anticipated return this coming week. Cherry pie, and, excuse me, a damn fine cup of coffee, are the quintessential food and beverages to be served at the inevitable fan viewing party.
I love making pie. I adore eating it. Almost as much as FBI Agent Dale Cooper. Pie in Twin Peaks holds significance - in a world constructed around Lynch's Freudian psychosexual imaginings how can a cherry pie not just be a cherry pie? Maybe it is the food of happiness and good souls. Especially if you compare it to the food of the darklings, the garmonbozia; that horrific mushy creamed corn. If any of you are not Twin Peaks fans I am sure this will just read as meandering nonsense - don't worry the recipe is below. Just scroll on down. For me making pie is a meditative process. An exercise in patience.
Also a fun Twin Peaks free fact about pie - in 1644, in an attempt to tackle the sin of gluttony Oliver Cromwell banned the consumption of pie. Apparently indulging in pie was a "pagan form of pleasure". It was actually illegal to bake or eat pies for 16 years guys which means there was probably a pie black market going on!! That Mr Cromwell had issues. Thankfully this law did not survive any longer than 1660 and you are well within your rights to indulge in as much pie as you please.
This pie is pretty grand, sweet and tart cherries are boiled down into a syrupy jammy sugary filling and are encased in a flakey buttery hazelnut crust. Thanks to the Four & Twenty pie book I have taken to adding Angostura bitters to all the fruit pies I make now. The results are always delicious and take the sweetness edge off.
A Cherry Pie That'll Kill Ya
For the Hazelnut Butter Pie Crust:
- 2 ½ cups plain flour
- 3/4 cup hazelnut meal
- 2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
- Large pinch of salt
- 150g/10 Tbsp chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 80g/5Tbsp solid vegetable shortening, cut into small cubes
- 4 tablespoons (or more) ice water
For the cherry filling:
- 5 cups cherries, pitted (I used half sour cherries, half sweet)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup raw sugar
- ¼ packed dark brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp ground cornflour/Tapioca starch
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp all spice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- large pinch of salt
- a few dashes of Angostura bitters
- Egg wash (1 large egg whisked together with 1 tsp milk)
- Demerara sugar
- Vanilla ice cream and a cup of damn fine coffee, "Black as midnight on a moonless night"
For the pie crust: In a food processor, pulse together the flour, hazelnut meal, brown sugar and salt until combined. Add the butter and lard and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Transfer mix into large bowl and add in the ice water until mixture comes together. Add more water if dough is dry. Bring dough together, divide into two portions. Form each portion into a ball, flatten each into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Chill the dough disks and chill for 1 hour.
For the filling: In a large saucepan place the pitted cherries and cook them over medium high heat stirring often until they release their juices and come to a simmer. Whisk in the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornstarch, spices and salt. Add to the cherries and stir to combine. Reduce heat and add the lemon juice and bitters. Let the mix simmer until it has reached your desired consistency. Let cool.
Assembly: Preheat oven to 215C/ 425 F. Take a portion of dough and roll out into a 30cm/12 inch circle and lay on the base and sides of a greased 22cm/9 inch pie plate. Pour in the cooled cherry filling and place in the fridge while you make the lattice top. On a lightly floured, cold surface, roll out the second portion of dough to form a large and reasonably thin rectangle. Using a ruler, cut 12 strips (each 1.5cm/ ½ inch wide and at about 28 cm/ 11inch long) with a sharp knife or a pastry wheel. Remove pie from fridge and arrange the lattice pattern across the top using the pastry strips as shown in the diagram below. Trim the overhanging pastry and crimp the pastry to form a decorative boarder. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 215C/ 425 F degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 190C/ 375 F degrees and bake an additional 45-55 minutes or until pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool for four hours at least (if you dive straight into that bad boy you will burn your mouth off) Serve topped with ice cream and that damn fine cup of coffee.
Trim the overhanging pastry and crimp the pastry to form a decorative boarder. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 215C/ 425 F degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 190C/ 375 F degrees and bake an additional 45-55 minutes or until pie is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Cool for four hours at least (if you dive straight into that bad boy you will burn your mouth off) Serve topped with ice cream and that damn fine cup of coffee.