Serves a Crowd

Elegy for a dirty snowbank

March  7, 2011
Author Notes

The resilient carcasses of dirty snowbanks have challenged me to create something beautiful out of their lingering presence. And usually, it is around this time that I start thinking about ideas for a birthday cake for my son. Often I have made him a black forest cake. With the theme of pies I will make a variation inspired by both this contest and this season. If you are lucky enough to have aargersi's Cherry Amaretto Jam, (see recipe on this site), this is perfect to use for the special preserves here. It is like the long-awaited bloom of the cherries finally arriving when you get to the bottom of the pie. —Sagegreen

  • Makes 1 pie
  • 4.5 ounces thin dark chocolate cookie wafers, crushed (Nabisco famous work)
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds, ground up
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons light muscovado sugar
  • 10 ounces homemade cherry preserves, especially Cherry Amaretto Jam (by aargersi)
  • 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
  • 4 ounces whipping cream
  • splash of Amaretto, optional
  • 14 dark chocolate thin cookie wafers
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate bar, shaved
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the crushed wafers and ground almonds ( I use a coffee grinder) together in a bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan; dissolve the sugar in the butter. Pour this over the crumb mixture and mix thoroughly.
  3. Press this mix into a pie plate. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Spread the cherry preserve over the pie shell. Grate the lemon on top. If you don't have a homemade cherry jam (see aargersi's recipe on this site), you can use a very good cherry preserve from an artisan kitchen. Add a splash of Amaretto if desired. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool and then chill.
  5. Whip the heavy cream adding a splash of Amaretto, if desired. Lather up a thick layer on cream on top of the chilled pie. Break chocolate wafers in half. Insert into the cream in a radial pattern as illustrated in one of the photos. Cover the wafers over with cream for the magic to happen. Add shaved chocolate on top. It might still look like a dirty snowbank. Patiently, let set for about an hour in the fridge until the wafers bloom into cake-like blossoms. Then serve. Cutting the pie reveals the cherry surprise. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to a few days.

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