Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

Chocolate Cherry Mousse Pie

This is a very special and “showy” pie that is great for special occasions or holidays.     Today is a special occasion and I made it to celebrate.  This post is my 500th since starting this blog just about 2 years ago.  In that time I have published five posts/week and gained a following of over 300 readers worldwide.  My goal from the beginning, (and still is) is to share with you recipes that are nutritious, mindful of dietary restrictions and special diets, reasonably economical to make with readily available ingredients, and taste fabulous. Whether you are a new-comer in the kitchen, or an experienced cook, there’s always something to learn.  I pass along my trials and errors, my successes and failures, and encourage you to be adventurous with your cooking.   These are recipes that I am proud to serve and hopefully you will be proud to serve also.  By your responses to me, I think I must be succeeding.  So I am very happy to have all of you as my “community” of readers.  Thanks so much for finding this little blog and sticking with me.  Love Ya!!

With Easter just ahead, this pie would make a nice addition to the dessert table.  Besides being so pretty, its also a very luscious pie with two kinds of chocolate and cherries in a creamy white chocolate mousse.  It’s sweet, yet very light.  This is one dessert that will definitely disappear into the crowd…in a good way.

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The surprise, once the pie has been cut, is the layer of dark chocolate that lies between the crust and the light airy filling.   This really makes the pie interesting and the dark chocolate is a nice foil for the white, light filling.  I liked putting some grated dark chocolate on top with the cherry garnish to give a hint of what’s waiting inside.

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Ways to reduce the caloric impact of this pie would be to use low-fat condensed milk, low-fat cream cheese, and sugar-free instant pudding.  I’m not sure if white chocolate pudding mix is available sugar-free, but vanilla flavor certainly is, and makes a good substitute.  In place of whipped cream you could also use “light” whipped topping. Be sure to include the almond flavoring… it somehow adds to the whole taste experience.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHERRY MOUSSE PIE

Yield:    8 – 10 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell, blind baked.  You may use a frozen pie shell or your own favorite pie dough recipe.  Bake the shell until lightly browned and cooked through.  It will not be cooked again.IMG_6892
  • 1 can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk, divided
  • 1 square (1 ounce) or 1 packet pre melted unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, divided
  • 1 jar (10-ounces) maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 package (8-ounces) cream cheese, softened.   Low-fat is OK, but not fat-free.
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 package ( 3.4 ounces) instant white chocolate pudding mix (I used Hershey’s brand).  If unable to find, substitute vanilla instant pudding mix.
  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • chopped chocolate or chocolate curls, optional

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, over low heat, cook and stir 1/2 cup condensed milk and chocolate until the chocolate is melted and mixture is thickened, about 4-5 minutes.

Mix chocolate and condensed milk and cook till thick.

Mix chocolate and condensed milk and cook till thick.

Mixture gets quite thick, like fudge.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Pour into pie shell and set aside.

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2.  Reserve 8 whole cherries for garnish.  Chop the remaining cherries and set aside.

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3.  In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until light.  Gradually beat in water and remaining milk.  Add pudding mix and remaining extract; mix well.

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4.  Fold in the whipped cream.  Stir in chopped cherries.

Fold in whipped cream and chopped cherries.

Fold in whipped cream and chopped cherries.

Pour over chocolate layer in the pie crust.  Chill 4 hours or until set.  Garnish with whole cherries and chocolate curls before serving.

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It's like eating a cloud!!

It’s like eating a cloud!!

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SOURCE:    Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe

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Cranberry-Pear Crisp

Cranberry and pear crisp.

Cranberry and pear crisp.

If I were to ask you to name the “fruits of fall”,  surely apples would likely be the first you would mention, and then maybe pears would be a close second.  Where would cranberries fall on that list of fall fruits?  Fresh cranberries are in season now, bagged and sold by the pound.  I usually get several bags of them and put them into the freezer for use later on when they’re no longer available at the supermarket.  They are so useful in both sweet and savory dishes.

We think of cranberries when we’re planning the Thanksgiving menu, because cranberry sauce, whether canned or home made is a natural with turkey.  But cranberries seem to get neglected when it comes to baking or making a dessert for the holiday table.  So today I have a recipe that attempts to change that.

This tart-sweet dessert combines fresh cranberries  with dried cranberries and fresh diced pears, plus lovely spices.  It gets topped with a crumble that is made from flour, sugar, oats, chopped nuts and melted butter.  Served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, it could be the grand finale to your holiday dinner, if not this month, maybe next.  The colors are so festive, they remind me of Christmas jewels and ornaments.

Love the color, and it tastes great, too.

Love the color, and it tastes great, too.

CRANBERRY-PEAR CRISP

Yield:   Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cranberries, thawed if frozen

    The colors of these two fruits are so pretty together!

    The colors of these two fruits are so pretty together!

  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 firm pears (such as Bosc), peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or other nuts of choice
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 375*F.  Lightly grease or spray a 3-quart baking dish.

2.  Combine the fresh and dried cranberries in a large bowl.  Add 1 cup sugar,  3 Tbsp. water and the vanilla and toss to coat.  Lightly mash with a potato masher or fork to burst some of the cranberries.

Mix cranberries with sugar and vanilla.

Mix cranberries with sugar and vanilla.

Add the pears, cinnamon, allspice and 2 Tbsp. flour and toss to coat.

Add chopped pears and spices.

Add chopped pears and spices.

Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Arrange mixed fruits in a baking dish.

Arrange mixed fruits in a baking dish.

3.   Make the topping:  Mix the remaining 1 cup flour, the nuts, oats, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the salt in a medium bowl,  then stir in the melted butter.

Add melted butter to dry ingredients for crumble topping.

Add melted butter to dry ingredients for crumble topping.

Use your fingers to pinch the topping into small clumps and sprinkle it over the fruit.

Sprinkle on crumble topping.

Sprinkle on crumble topping.

4.  Bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 40 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Golden and bubbly after it has baked.

Golden and bubbly after it has baked.

A little sweet, a little tart, a lot of delicious!

A little sweet, a little tart, a lotta delicious!

SOURCE:  Food Network Magazine