Sunday, July 7, 2013

Experiment #5: Chocolate Amaretto Pie with Cherry Sauce...and some personal stuff

It's been a rough couple of weeks health-wise, but I'm feeling much better. Right after my last post, my digestive problems flared up badly. Two weeks of cramping, throwing up, aching in every joint, and barely wanting to eat. I missed some work, visited the doctor, and I'm still waiting on some test results. I've also been battling dizzy spells the last week while I wean off citalopram, which I took for anxiety but can proudly say I no longer need. The decision about whether or not to take antidepressants is an intensely personal one, and I don't think there's an absolute right or wrong answer. While I'm thrilled to be back in control of my emotions, I understand that I couldn't get there on my own. The feeling-like-crap part of me wishes I hadn't taken it because the physical addictiveness is so strong. The logical side of me is glad that I did because it gave me the boost I needed to help me  recognize the confidence and bravery already inside me. I don't stress over little things or feel unreasonably afraid of anything anymore.  Bring on the experiments!

My appetite came back for the Fourth of July, and I made these delicious raw lemon/coconut/banana bars from This Rawsome Vegan Life. My family enjoyed them (except B who isn't a big coconut fan) and they took a whopping 10 minutes to make (not including refrigerator time), so I'll definitely make them again. This week's experiment is a different summer-friendly dessert. It requires minimal baking (setting the crust for 10 minutes) and uses seasonal fruit (I found beautiful dark sweet cherries on sale at Sprouts today!). The experiment is my take on this chocolate pie with almond crust and strawberry compote from Oh She Glows.  I changed the flavors because chocolate + almond + cherry is one of my all-time favorite flavor trios (second only to green chile + cheese + potato...oh, cheese *sigh*).

This pie is a celebration of feeling better. It's also a celebration of cooking with booze since I was on Tylenol and not able to drink while I was sick. 

Chocolate Amaretto Pie with Cherry Sauce - serves 8-10 depending on how you slice it
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1 1/2 cup oats, separated
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or the liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 7.5 oz coconut cream (or 1 15 oz can coconut milk chilled overnight to separate out the cream)
  • 2 oz amaretto liqueur (I like D'Saronno)
  • 1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 lb sweet cherries
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the almonds and 1/2 cup of oats in a food processor and grind into a coarse flour. Add the rest of the oats and process briefly to chop the oats. Then add the coconut oil and maple syrup and process until the dough forms. 
Dough that smells as good as it looks!
Lightly grease a pie pan with coconut oil. Add the dough to the middle of the pan and use your fingers to press it into a crust. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Let the crust cool while you make the filling and sauce.

Smells like a freshly-baked granola bar! YUM!
I made the sauce next because, like an idiot, I didn't read the directions for the filling very well. I bought coconut milk because I read the ingredients list quickly. The filling actually uses coconut cream, which you can buy pre-separated. The original recipe asks you to make your own by chilling coconut milk overnight to separate its parts. So I threw my can in the freezer while I baked the crust, made the sauce, made spaghetti for dinner, and watched the first half of The Hobbit. That's approximately how much time it takes to separate coconut milk in the freezer. Overnight in the refrigerator works better because it separates the liquids without freezing, so they're easier to work with.

Pitting the cherries is the worst part of the recipe. It's tedious, and I don't have any good tools or strategies for it. I just make a slice or two around the pit with a paring knife and pull the pit out with my fingers. It's messy, but it gets the job done.
Cherry pitting or bloody murder?
Place the cherries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Use a potato masher to mash the cherries and extract their juice. Slowly add the cornstarch, whisking quickly to avoid lumps. Then add the maple syrup and vanilla. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until desired thickness. Let the sauce sit while you make the filling (or in my case, store it in the fridge until ready to reheat since it's going to be a while...)

If you start with chilled coconut milk, carefully separate the cream from the watery part. If you start with coconut cream, congratulations: you win at reading directions. Just pour it into a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the amaretto and the chocolate chips, stirring constantly until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.  

I wish I didn't have to wait two hours to eat it!
Pour the filling into the pie crust. Cover the pie with foil or plastic wrap and chill it in the freezer for at least two hours. After that, if everyone you're serving it to likes cherries, feel free to layer the sauce on top. Otherwise, reheat the sauce and serve it over individual slices. 

No comments:

Post a Comment