Mark Frost and David Lynch's cult television series is set to return to our screens in 2017; what better occasion to delve into a new recipe book full of its characters' classic American recipes?
Widely regarded as the pinnacle of televisual entertainment, Twin Peaks (Mark Frost and David Lynch’s seminal 90s creation), is set to return in late Spring 2017. While it’s been 26 years since the show left the small screen – and 24 since its cinematic counterpart Fire Walk with Me floundered before being proclaimed a cult hit and re-asserted as an unmissable part of Lynch’s oeuvre – Twin Peaks’ cultural impact has never waned. This is partially due to its formidable fan-to-fanatic conversion rate, but also abetted by its endurance as a fountain of references for filmmakers, musicians and fashion designers alike – see Christian Louboutin’s current ShoePeaks campaign, for one example – stemming from its completeness as a vivid, multidimensional universe.
With Twin Peaks, Frost and Lynch pioneered the idea that television can be as adventurous, beautiful and confounding as independent cinema, so long as disbelief remains suspended. And so, complex, oft-sinister narrative strands are rendered more palatable by a deceptively prosaic North Western setting, oddball humour, markedly un-flashy yet ingenious costumery and generous helpings of classic American cuisine plated up for its characters. Indeed, the show’s male lead, FBI Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) has such a renowned soft spot for coffee and cherry pie that all you need to say to a casual fan is “This is a damn fine …” and you’ll transport them right back to the RR diner.
One person who doesn’t need any encouragement to evoke Frost and Lynch’s surreal realm is Twin Peaks UK Festival organiser, Lindsey Bowden, whose new (and unauthorised) cookbook, Damn Fine Cherry Pie is replete with recipes inspired by the programme and film. As well as sharing menu ideas, Bowden also offers themed serving and hosting suggestions, such as outfit options for dressing as key characters, and serves up select tidbits for superfans: e.g. MacLachlan actually detests cherry pie IRL.
Whether you’re an addict or curious novice, with a new Lynch-helmed season on the way (featuring a cast of original stars, such as Mädchen Amick and Sherilyn Fenn, who will reprise her role as femme fatale-wannabe Audrey Horne, alongside new arrivals including Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Cera and Monica Bellucci) there will doubtless come a time when a refresher is due. You might choose to tuck into Mark Frost’s newly released novelisation of the intervening years, or gather friends for marathon late-night viewing sessions. However you go about it, it would be remiss not to have a deep cup of joe and a slice of cherry pie by your side. And luckily, Bowden is able to assist.
Shelly Johnson's Cherry Pie
“When Norma isn’t slaving away in the back of the RR Diner baking her famous pies, Shelly has been known to sneak back there with a glass of bourbon and try her hand at cherry pie. Enjoy!” - Cast Member Mädchen Amick
Preparation Time: One hour, plus resting
Cooking Time: About one hour
150g (generous ½ cup) cherry jam
150g (¾ cup) caster sugar
1½ tablespoons cornflour
3 tablespoons water or bourbon whiskey
1.25kg (2lb 12oz) sweet cherries, pitted
(750g/1lb 10oz pitted weight)
1 large egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for glazing
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
450g (32/3 cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
50g (scant ½ cup) ground almonds
100g (generous ¾ cup) icing sugar
Pinch of sea salt
250g (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons water
1. For the pastry, place the flour, ground almonds, icing sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter and rub in with the fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2. Beat the egg with the vanilla extract and measured water. Stir the liquid into the flour with a fork, then your fingers, and bring the mixture together to form a firm dough. Divide the dough in half, flatten each portion into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, place the jam and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then mix the cornflour and measured water or Bourbon together and stir into the cherry mixture. Bring to the boil again, stirring all the time, until thickened. Remove from the heat, add the cherries, mix well and leave to cool completely.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6. Roll out one pastry disc on a lightly floured surface and use to line the base and sides of a greased 24-cm (9½-inch) pie dish (metal is best). Fill with the cherry mixture and brush the top of the pie edge with a little of the egg glaze.
5. Thinly roll out the remaining pastry disc and cut into long zig-zag shapes. Arrange them on top of the pie, pressing to stick them to the pie base around the edges.
6. Brush the pastry with more of the egg glaze and sprinkle over the sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes until the crust is golden, then reduce the temperature to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4 and bake for a further 35–40 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the pastry is crisp, covering the pastry with foil, if necessary, to prevent it burning. Allow the pie to cool for about 1 hour before serving.
Damn Fine Cherry Pie: Unauthorised Twin Peaks Cookbook by Lindsey Bowden is out now, published by Mitchell Beazley.