Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chocolate and cherries, oh my!

While this blog is focused on pie, I really do love cake also.  Sometimes I think about how to turn a particular cake into a pie.  Black Forest cake is basically chocolate cake with cherry filling, so that translates into a pie very naturally.  Chocolate pudding with a cherry topping...nothing about that sounds bad!!  This is a no-bake pie, which I like even better considering how hot its been in Denver.  I saved myself the step of even turning on the oven to make a crust and just bought a pre-made chocolate crust at work.  We carry a brand called Wholly Wholesome.  This was my first time using this product and I really liked it. The crust tasted great and is made without preservatives, artificial flavors and other nasty ingredients, BONUS!  The cherries in Black Forest cake are typically flavored with kirsch, which is cherry liqueur.  I didn't want to buy a whole bottle of that when I have perfectly good booze at home, so I went with rum and Grand Marnier (orange liqueur) which complimented the cherries perfectly.

This Black Forest Pie is rich and decadent, but pretty easy to throw together, so there's nothing stopping you from getting this delicious gem into your pie-hole.  Not even the oppressive heat outside.  Get going, you could be eating chocolate and cherries, for goodness sake!

Black Forest Pie
1 9" chocolate pie crust

3 cups pitted cherries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 Tb. cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 Tb. Grand Marnier
1 Tb. dark rum

2 cups half and half
2 Tb.cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 Tb. butter
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tb.  powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

fresh cherries to garnish, if desired

In a pot over medium high heat, combine the cherries, water, sugar, cornstarch and salt, stirring to dissolve the cornstarch.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the cherries are softened and the mixture is thick.  Add the alcohol and simmer just a few minutes more.   The mixture should be very thick and shiny.  Scrape it into a bowl and allow to cool in the refrigerator.

For the filling, bring 1 1/2 cups half and half, sugar and salt to a simmer in a pot.  While you're waiting for the mixture to heat, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup half and half, the eggs and cornstarch in a bowl.  Add the hot half and half slowly, whisking constantly.  Pour all of the mixture back into the pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the pudding has thickened.  Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and butter.   Whisk until both have melted and the mixture is smooth.  Pour into the pie crust and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding.  This will prevent a skin from forming.  Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool about 6 hours, or overnight if you like.

Once the pie and cherry topping have completely cooled, make the whipped cream.  Beat the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer until stiff peaks are formed.  Remove the plastic wrap from the pie filling spread the cherry mixture over the top -- it will be a generous amount!  Use the whipped cream to decorate the top as you like.  I piped big swirls and garnished with fresh cherries.  Delicious decadence!

Saved myself the time and heat with this tasty crust.
Whisking the chocolate and butter into the pudding mixture.
Pour the filling into the crust and press plastic wrap on top.
When cooled, add the cherry topping.
Decorate with whipped cream and cherries.  Delicious!
Close up goodness!

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