Chocolate Cherry Dream Pie

Welcome to another Tasty Tuesday. The inspiration for this week's recipe comes from a few sources, including the chocolate-amarena gelato my daughter enjoyed in Venice last week (that's it over there on the left) and Nick Greco, one of the heroes of my Oberon series, who has an abiding love of all things chocolate-and-cherry, especially as they pertain to his wife...

            [Nick] kissed her until he felt her knees weaken.  Until the sun had begun to heat the back of his neck.  Until Cole, half forgotten in his arm, began to squirm and whimper fretfully.  And still, he could not quite identify that flavor.  “Okay, I give up,” he broke off the kiss to ask.  “What the heck have you been eating?”
            “Huh?”  She frowned at him uncomprehendingly, automatically taking the baby from him.  A curious smile played over her lips.  “What are you talking about?”
            Man, he loved that smile.  He kissed her several times again just because of it.  “What.  Have you.  Been eating?  It’s driving me crazy.”
            “Oh.”  Eyes darkening, she kissed him again.  “You like that, huh?  I stopped on the way out here and got a milkshake.”
            Ahh.  A milkshake.  Of course.  “Chocolate?” 
            “Well, of course chocolate.”
            “With a cherry?”
            “And whipped cream, yes.  Is there any other way?”
            Not as far as he was concerned.  Chocolate and cherry.  He hadn’t tasted that combination on her lips in twenty years.  He kissed her once more.  “Mm.  Come on, let’s go home.”

That snippet came from book five in the series, Touch of a Vanished Hand, by the way, but it's not the first time Nick's preoccupation with this had been mentioned. The first time was in book three, Sound of a Voice That is Still (yes, there's a pattern there *g*) and that excerpt is currently posted on This Week's Excerpt

Nick happens to be Italian. In fact, his last name, Greco, was my grandmother's maiden name. I'm only half Italian myself, being Irish on my mother's side. Why do I feel the need to mention this here? Simply because the Irish eat more chocolate (per capita, I believe) than any other country in the EU. So, this recipe is also a nod to my family heritage because while I'm using Italian cherries, I'm also adapting an Irish recipe for chocolate mousse. Oh, and I'm also specifying Irish butter because it's the best and what's the point of using anything else? 

Just as a side note, this recipe is gluten free because I couldn't resist adding a hint of almond to the mix.

Super Simple Almond Pie Crust

Ready? It's got just three ingredients 1 1/2 cups almond flour, 3 Tbs sugar and 3 Tbs Irish butter. If you can't find Irish butter, I'd suggest substituting coconut oil and 1/2 a tsp of Celtic sea salt. I also like to add a splash of Amaretto, but that's just me. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and hand mix until crumbly. Then press into a greased, nine-inch pie plate and bake empty at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 

Pie Filling

4 1/2 ounces extra dark chocolate, chopped into pieces 
2 tablespoons kirsch 
2 tablespoons Irish butter 
1 tablespoon sugar 
1 1/2 cups Amarena cherries in syrup (Fabbri
3 large eggs 
1 cup heavy cream

 Combine chocolate, kirsch, sugar and butter in saucepan. Melt over very low heat, then scrape into a bowl and allow to cool a little. 

 Separate eggs. Whisk whites until they reach soft peak stage. 

Whip cream. 

Beat yolks into slightly cooled chocolate mixture. 

Next, fold in 1 cup of the cherries and syrup (reserve remaining 1/2 cup for garnish). 

Finally, fold the egg whites and cream gently into chocolate mixture, alternating, 1/3 at a time, until it's all incorporated. 

 Spoon mixture into cooled crust and chill for several hours. Serve with more whipped cream if desired (or with grated white chocolate, dark chocolate or a combination of the two) and drizzle with the reserved cherries. 

As a variation,  this may also be made with white chocolate in place of the dark chocolate and with an addition of 1/3 cup of grated dark chocolate folded into the mixture. 

Ready for another short excerpt? This one is from book eight, Dream Under the Hill. Yeah, that's where the 'dream' in the recipe came from. So now you know. ;)

             [Nick] set the tray on the table, along with a plate of chocolate dipped biscotti, Lucy’s predictably perfect Tiramisu, a large bowl of very early strawberries from one of Dan’s 
greenhouses, and the cherry tart Sinead had baked specially for him.
           “I used Amarena cherries to make it,” she’d said, smiling wickedly as she handed him the 
pie plate. “Imported from Bologna.  I don’t know what those Italians do to them, but the flavor 
is...exquisite.  Out of this world. Enjoy.”
           Nick had nodded, feeling almost dazed by the sweet cherry scent that was rising from the pastry
 shell. Cherries had always been his favorite fruit, and just the smell of these—dark, intense, almost 
sinful––was enough to make him drool.  “Thank you,” he murmured, as he gave her a hug.  “I’m 
sure I’ll love it.”
            “Oh, I know you will,” Sinead had replied, laughing softly as she whispered, “it’ll make 
a great bedtime snack.”
           “Good to know,” he’d said, returning her smile. The woman certainly knew his tastes––


Selena Robins said...

Love the excerpt! What a creative way to integrate your recipe with your wonderful book.

Hero sounds yummy and so does the recipe. Must try both. Well, I can bake the recipe, and not really try out your hero, but one can read and dream, right?


Moira said...

Fantastic! You know, I love anything Irish (or Scottish), and seeing as I am not a HUGE fan of chocolate, maybe it is because I wasn't using Irish butter or an Irish chocolate mousse recipe. I will have to let you know if you've converted me.

PG Forte said...

lol! Selena. Nick was my very first hero, so I've always been especially fond of him. ;)

And, Moira, Irish butter makes EVERYTHING better. It's good enough to eat on its own, practically.

Thanks, ladies!

Renee Wildes said...

Morning ladies!
Gosh, this sounds FAB! But I got a (dumb) question here, PG - umm, what's kirsch? *blushing*

PG Forte said...

Hey, Renee! There's no such thing as a dumb question. lol! Kirsch is a type of cherry brandy made in Germany. :)

Nancy Lauzon said...

Hey, PG, this sounds amazing! And I really enjoyed your excerpt. Nick is one of my favorite hero names =)

PG Forte said...

Thanks, Nancy. Yeah, me too. ;)

Erin Nicholas said...

um... yum!! I love chocolate and cherry combo!

And yes, it's true, butter makes everything better! ;)


PG Forte said...

It is a good combo. :)

Sloan said...

Been looking for ways to use almonds. This seems like a good a way as any other, and the chocolate doesn't hurt either....LOL

A. Catherine Noon said...

Almond pie crust. ~swoon~ Gods, that makes me want to jump up and make it right now! Yum!

PG Forte said...

Oh, yeah. Almonds. Mmmm.