Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Pie

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary (it's amazing how fast 19 years can whip by when you're having the time of your life!) and I decided to make an ice cream pie, using my favorite non-dairy ice cream, "Cherry Amaretto," from Larry & Luna's Coconut Bliss.

Two things I'd like to say right away: One, I don't eat a lot of sweets (I avoid sugar for the most part) and two, Coconut Bliss was already my favorite treat even before I stopped eating animal products. I had been a Ben & Jerry's New York Chocolate Fudge Chunk enthusiast for many years, but it had become clear that ice cream was a major contributor to my skyrocketing cholesterol. So, being an off-the-deep-end kind of guy, I simply stopped eating ice cream. It was then that I noticed Coconut Bliss in the freezer at my local Vitamin Cottage, and discovered that it was in fact non-dairy. I've never been fooled by any of the soy or rice imitation ice creams, but Coconut Bliss was a seamless fix. I still don't eat a lot of it (sugar is sugar), but it's a delectable treat I thoroughly (and judiciously) enjoy .

Back to last night's dessert. I dreamed this up in part because I learned too late about a vegan blogger's conference (it was already sold out) and my last hope of going was to enter a giveaway contest for a free ticket, offered by none other than the makers of my favorite ice cream.

The concept was pretty straightforward. An almond crust (the toasted almond would play off the amaretto flavor) with two layers of the Cherry Amaretto ice cream, separated by a chocolate ganache flavored with kirsch (to echo the cherry), with a chocolate ganache topping flavored with amaretto. My wife LOVED it.

Here's the recipe:

Chocolate Cherry Amaretto Pie
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Combine 1 1/4 cups almond meal, 7 tablespoons palm sugar, and 5 tablespoons coconut oil in a bowl. Work with your fingers until thoroughly mixed. Pack evenly into an 8-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Set the pan on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake 10 minutes and remove. The mixture will have puffed and sagged a bit; use a 1-cup measuring cup or something with a similar shape to gently but firmly push the almond mixture back into place. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Place the tart shell in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the tart shell from the freezer. Soften a pint of Coconut Bliss Cherry Amaretto ice cream with a silicone spatula and spread half into the bottom of the tart shell. Return the remaining ice cream and the tart shell to the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  4. While the first layer of ice cream is chilling, prepare the first ganache. Chop 2 ounces very dark chocolate and place in a small bowl. Heat 1/3 cup coconut milk in a small pot until bubbling. Add 1 tablespoon kirsch liqueur and pour the mixture over the chocolate. Whisk gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the tart shell from the freezer and pour the ganache over the ice cream, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon. Return to the freezer for another 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the tart shell and the remaining ice cream from the freezer. Soften the ice cream with a silicone spatula and spread it into the tart shell, taking care not to get any on the crust. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon or a cake spatula (if you have one). Return the ice cream pie to the freezer and allow it to firm up thoroughly, about 2 hours or more.
  6. Prepare the second ganache. Chop 6 ounces of dark chocolate and place in a bowl. Heat 1 cup coconut milk in a small pot until bubbling. Add 2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur and pour the mixture over the chocolate. Whisk gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Allow it to cool completely. If the mixture is still very soft, set the bowl in an ice bath and whisk for a few seconds to firm it up very slightly. Do not let it get very cold, or it will become too firm to handle. Scoop the ganache into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. 
  7. Remove the pie from the freezer and pipe the ganache in a tight spiral, starting from the center and working your way to the rim. Return the pie to the freezer for about 10 minutes.
  8. To serve, gently loosen the tart pan and pop it off by pushing up from the bottom. The crust should come loose from the bottom, but if it's stuck, slide a knife under it to free it up. Cut the pie with a hot, dry knife and serve.
 That's it. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can just spread the second ganache over the top with a cake spatula or butter knife. in this case, I would suggest skipping the ice bath, because it will be much easier to spread that way. The frozen pie will chill the ganache down very quickly, believe me.

Try it! Post a comment!


  1. I'm like you when it comes to desserts and sugar — my idea of dessert is a couple of dates — but there are times when a great dessert is needed. Your pie sounds really wonderful, except I might change the coconut bliss to my favorite flavor — mint galactica. (I hope you win a ticket to the conference!)

  2. Yeah--it was a hard choice--I love mint galactica too! I chose the cherry amaretto because my wife loves cherries (and this was as much for her as it was to win that ticket).

    If you decide to go for it, substitute peppermint schnapps for the other liqueurs in the chocolate ganache (and then you can combine the two ganaches instead of making them separately!)

    Thanks for your message of hope too ;-)

  3. Congrats on 19 years of marriage, my husband and I have had 9 wonderful years this time and it has gone quickly!
    This seems like a perfect surprise treat for him with the mint adjustments you have suggested, he loves that flavor :)