Dark Chocolate Espresso Cream Pie with Amaretto Cherries

2016 National Pie Championship Chocolate Cream Winner

pie cropped
It’s funny how things happen when you least expect them.  I’ve been competing in the National Pie Championships since 2008 and a professional since 2015.  Going into this year, I knew that my chances of winning anything are low.  There are some AMAZING professional pie chefs, especially Evette Rahman of Sister Honey’s Bakery in Orlando.
Evette is the most talented pie baker that I have ever met.  To be completely honest, I was intimidated by her for the longest time.  As an amateur baker, I always saw her at championships towering above everyone,  (yes, she is tall.  I’m 5’9 and she makes me feel small.) and she’s a baking god. Then, when I was invited to her bakery’s grand opening for a book signing (yes, I’m in a few published cookbooks), I discovered that she is quiet and reserved, almost shy, and so sweet.  Then, when she competed in her first World Food Championships, I learned that she, too, nervously worries and isn’t the confidence-oozing powerhouse  I always envisioned.
So, to win a category at National Pie Championships and to share the stage with her again was an honor. It was also no surprise that she won the entire championship…AGAIN! Out of 13 categories, she walked away with 8 or 9.  She is a pie baking superstar, who deserves every win.
I’m sure that Evette entered a pie in the Chocolate Cream category, but scores aren’t posted, so I don’t know my score or how I fared compared to other pies.  HOWEVER, the chocolate cream pie that I thought was a flop took home the 1st place award.

Ingredients

Crust

2 c. Oreo cookie crumbs (chocolate sandwich cookies)

¼ c. melted butter

Filling

8 oz. cream cheese-softened

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 pkt instant coffee

8 oz. dark chocolate

2 TBSP heavy cream

8 oz. Cool Whip (nondairy topping)

Cherries

12 oz. Dole Sweet Dark Cherries

3 TBSP Amaretto liqeur

1 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

Whipped Cream

16 oz. heavy whipping cream

1 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Chocolate Shavings for garnish

Directions

In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs and melted butter.  Press into a 10″ deep pie plate.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sugar and instant coffee.  Continue mixing until smooth.  In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate with 2 TBSP whipping cream in 30 second intervals.  Add melted chocolate to cream cheese mixture and beat until smooth and completely incorporated.  Fold in Cool Whip.

Spoon filling into prepared crust and chill in refrigerator while cherries cook.

In a small saucepan, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, and Amaretto. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Cook until thick.  Remove from heat and chill to thicken.

When chilled, spoon cherries (NOT sauce) onto center of pie.  Return to the refrigerator to chill.

In a large mixing bowl, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar until stiff.  Pipe large rosettes around edge of pie between crust and cherries.

Spoon some of the cherry liquid over the chilled cherries. Garnish with chocolate curls.

Serve chilled.

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