Remember “Twin Peaks”? Remember how the surreal murder mystery was populated with surreal characters: the woman who lugged a log, the dwarf dressed in red, the special agent who tape recorded every move and bite? Me neither. All that drifts back from Thursday nights in the ‘90s is the show’s eerie theme music and its obsession with cherry pie.
Now “Twin Peaks” is back. To pre-game, I baked pie. Not sour cherry, summer’s rare, tart prize. But sweet cherry – abundant, meaty, blood-red. Served, as agent Cooper would have it, with coffee “black as midnight on a moonless night.”
My friend Neil dropped by to down a wedge and, flaunting surreal recall, dug up 30 episodes of plot. We’re ready for a second helping – of the dreamlike series and seriously dreamy pie.
SWEET CHERRY PIE
Prep: 1 lazy afternoon
Bake: 50 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch pie, serves 8
Pie pastry, recipe follows
2 pounds (about 5 cups) fresh sweet cherries, pitted
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen
1. Freeze: Roll out the larger round of pastry 1/8-inch thin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim and crimp edges. Prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Freeze firm, 1 hour.
2. Macerate: Stir together cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a large saucepan. Let rest 20 minutes.
3. Crisp: Line pastry with foil or parchment. Fill with raw rice or dried beans. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Pull out parchment and rice or beans.
4. Thicken: Set saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce is glossy and thick, 1 minute. Stir in almond extract.
5. Weave: Roll out the smaller round of pastry 1/8-inch thin. Slice into strips. Scrape cherries into pie shell. Grate frozen butter over cherries. Weave pastry strips into a lattice on top.
6. Bake: Set pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover rim with a pie halo or foil. Bake at 400 degrees until juices bubble at the center and lattice turns crisp and brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely. Slice and serve on white plates with black coffee.
Pie pastry: In the food processor, buzz together 2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Drop in 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up. Pulse until largest lumps are the size of peas. Turn out into a big mixing bowl. Drizzle on ice-cold water, 2 tablespoons at a time, folding pastry with a flexible spatula. When pastry begins to clump, knead once or twice and pat into 2 disks, one slightly larger than the other. Dust with flour. Wrap in waxed paper. Chill, at least 1 hour.