My husband came home from Whole Foods and let me know they were having a fresh cherry recipe contest.
“I want to win!”, I optimistically replied.
I put some thought into the recipe. The obvious direction felt like chocolate (who doesn’t love chocolate covered cherries?) But I thought about Iron Chef and how they might say the secret ingredient should shine. I felt like the whole thing should be about cherries. Ice cream came to mind next, because I make and eat ice cream often … but cherry pie is my husband’s favorite (he has it every year on his birthday). So I put all three ideas together Ice Cream… chocolate chip… pie. Yes, I thought, I will win.
So I did a few test runs, and let me tell you, I didn’t mind eating the results! Then I wrote up a beautiful recipe to send in (doesn’t it look lovely?) And waited for the results.
I got word that I was a finalist. And waited… then, “We had an overwhelming response and would love to make you all winners, but unfortunately we can only select one. While your recipe was fantastic and so well done, we regret that it was not chosen as the winner for this time around. (It came down to just one vote’s difference between your pie, and the winning recipe though—your ice cream pie was delicious!)”
OK, I know you might be thinking, “Well that’s fantastic. So close, good job.”
I still pouted a tiny bit. After all, I did want to WIN.
(I am just being a bit cheeky with this post. I have a blessed life and do not need to win a contest to be happy.)
This dessert is surprisingly simple to make. Very little cooking technique is needed, but you will need to plan ahead due to the time required for cooling and setting. I recommend starting the pie the day before you plan to serve it.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker you can still enjoy this recipe. Simply purchase vanilla ice cream (vegan or dairy) and mix in the pureed (3/4 cup)cherries and chocolate chips before filling the pie.
Cherry Ice Cream Pie Recipe
4 cups sweet black cherries, pitted
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup amaretto
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk (full
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup hazelnut milk (or other non-
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups Cherry Sauce (from recipe
1/2 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate,
shaved (or mini chips)
2/3 cup almond meal/flour
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
2 1/2 tablespoons buttery spread (I use Earthbalance Soy Free) (or
butter or 1 1/2 T coconut oil might work too)
1/4 cup maple syrup
Tiny pinch salt
Combine the quartered cherries, 1/4 cup agave, and amaretto in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a simmer, and then lower the heat to sustain a simmer for 10-20 minutes until the cherries soften and just begin to break down (stir occasionally). Taste for sweetness and add more agave if needed. Mix the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water, and then add to the cherries. Bring to a boil, stirring for just a moment, then remove from the heat and set aside 3/4 cup (for the ice cream) and put the rest in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare a deep dish pie pan or 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom.
Combine all of the crust ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Spread the sticky batter evenly over the parchment paper (this takes a bit of patience). Bake for 12-16 minutes until the crust is light gold and cooked through but still slightly soft. (Keep your eye on this as nut crusts burn easily.) After it has cooled a bit, place it in the freezer.
In a large saucepan, combine the coconut milk, agave, and hazelnut milk. Heat on medium-high and whisk frequently until it starts to bubble. Reduce heat and simmer for 3–5 minutes.
Add vanilla extract and 3/4 cup Cherry Sauce and chill in the refrigerator for several hours.
Puree the chilled ice cream mixture in a food processor and then pour it into an ice cream maker (use according to the manufacturer’s instructions). Do not over-churn the ice cream; once it is the texture of soft-serve add the chocolate (allow it to mix in), and then transfer it to the prepared crust and chill in the freezer.
Once the pie is firm, serve slices with cherry sauce poured over the top and enjoy!