As a writer stymied by past success, writers block, substance abuse, relationship problems and a serious set of father issues, Elliott’s cracked-out chronicle of a bizarre murder trial amounts to less than the sum of its parts. Not long into the 2007 trial of programmer Hans Reiser, accused of murdering his wife, the defendant’s friend Sean Sturgeon obliquely confessed to several murders (though not the murder of Reiser’s wife). Elliott, caught up in the film-ready twist and his tenuous connection to Sturgeon (they share a BDSM social circle), makes a gonzo record of the proceedings. The result is a scattered, self-indulgent romp through the mind of a depressive narcissist obsessed with his insecurities and childhood traumas.
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Raspberry Cream Cheese Pinwheel Pastries
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 (17.3-ounce) package frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
- 1/2 cup raspberry jam
- 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 large egg
- Sanding sugar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla to the bowl and beat until combined. Set aside.
- Roll out each sheet of thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface until it is a 10-inch square. Cut each square into four smaller squares then transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheets so that they aren’t touching one another.
- Using a fork, prick the pastries all over then place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) into the center of each square, spreading it slightly into a small circle. Place a dollop of raspberry jam atop the cream cheese, and then place 3 to 4 raspberries on top of the jam.
- Using a sharp knife, make four cuts from the center toward the edge of each square. (Do not cut underneath where the cream cheese is.) Fold one corner from each piece you’ve cut into the center, pressing it lightly atop the raspberries. Repeat the cutting and folding process with the remaining pastries.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush each pinwheel all over with the egg wash. Sprinkle the exposed pastry with the sanding sugar (optional).
- Bake the pastries for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed around the edges.
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Here’s how to make a classic fresh cherry pie completely from scratch. Add a little sprinkle of toasted almonds to amp up the flavor!
Sweet Cherry Pie with Toasted Almonds
- Homemade Pie Crust (my recipe makes 2 crusts; 1 for bottom 1 for top)
- 4 cups halved pitted fresh cherries1
- 1/2 cup (38g) fresh raspberries or sliced strawberries2
- 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup (100-150g) granulated sugar1
- 1/4 cup (28g) cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (it’s good!)
- 1 Tablespoon (14g) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
- 1/3 cup (28g) sliced almonds, such as Diamond of California sliced almonds
- optional: coarse sugar for garnish
- The crust: Prepare my pie crust recipe through step 5.
- Make the filling: In a large bowl using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the cherries, raspberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract together until thoroughly combined. Set filling aside as the oven preheats. This gives the filling a chance to rest.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Spoon the filling into the crust and discard some of the leftover juices in the bottom of the bowl. Dot the pieces of butter on top of the filling.
- Arrange the lattice: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough into a circle that is 12 inches diameter. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut strips 1/2 – 1 inch wide. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Press the edges of the strips into the bottom pie crust edges to seal. Use a small paring knife to trim off excess dough. Crimp the edges with a fork, if desired. (Alternatively, you can simply cover the filling with the 12-inch pie dough circle. Cut slits in the top to form steam vents. Trim and crimp the edges.)
- Lightly brush the top of the pie crust with the egg/milk mixture. Sprinkle the top with almonds and a little coarse sugar, if using.
- Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes. After the first 20 minutes of bake time, I place a pie crust shield on top of the pie to prevent the edges from browning too quickly.
- Allow the pie to cool for 3 full hours at room temperature before serving. This time allows the filling to thicken up. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Make ahead tip/Freezing: This a great pie to make 1 day in advance since it is so juicy – the filling will have time to “set” overnight. The pie crust dough can also be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Prepared filling can be frozen up to 3 months, thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
- Pre-pitting and slicing, this is a little under 2 lbs of fresh cherries. Measure 4 cups after slicing in half. Use sour or sweet cherries, just adjust the sugar according to the sweetness of them. I use sweet cherries in their peak season and 2/3 cup of granulated sugar. You can also use frozen cherries. Thaw completely before using and make sure you discard the juice in step 4.
- The very small amount of an additional fruit like raspberries or sliced strawberries helps to “fill in the gaps” between all the rounded cherry halves. Try it!