I have been doing my best lately to be a bit more health-conscious. Having spent the best part of this year totally immersed in cooking lots of rich, buttery, salty food (a.k.a. 'fine dining'), taking a step back and making a concerted effort to eat better seemed like an appropriate summer resolution.
However, there have been some notable set backs. Like this chocolate cherry cream pie. Yes, all those things, together. In a pie. I brought this along to a friend's dinner party recently and accidentally put everyone into a food coma and lugged myself home with a renewed commitment to leafy greens.
Having said that, it was pretty tasty, so do give it a go. After all, life really is too short not to eat pie and sometimes an indulgence is just what the doctor ordered. Just maybe serve a salad first.
By the by, heart-shaped dish, below, was a birthday gift from my cousins and is made by the Swedish company, Bruka.
as ludicrously decadent as it sounds...
You will need:
100g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
110g butter, fridge cold and cut into cubes
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp double cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200g cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
60g caster sugar
200ml double cream
Cherry or raspberry jam (I used sour cherry jam, you could also make your own compote*)
1 punnet black cherries, pitted
Small bar of very dark chocolate
1. Sift flour and cocoa into a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt.
2. Work in the butter to consistency of breadcrumbs, either by transferring to a magimix or by hand.
3. Add yolks, cream and vanilla and mix well. Bring dough together on work surface, shape into a flat round, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate. If dough seems very dry and like it won't come together add a little more cream (1/2 teaspoons at a time)- be careful not to add too much cream, though, it should not be sticky or it will be impossible to work with.
4. Preheat oven to 200 C. Dust work surface liberally with cocoa. Roll out pastry to the thickness of 1/2 cm. Line a x cm pastry or flan tin. A loose-bottomed cake tin will also do. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
5. Blind bake your pastry case- approx 15 min** and allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, make your filling. Beat cream cheese with vanilla and sugar. Add cream and whisk to form soft peaks. Refrigerate until needed.
6. To assemble, spread jam over the base of the pastry case. Add the cream cheese mixture. Arrange cherries over the top and finally grate over some dark chocolate.
* Simply pit a large handful of cherries and place in a pan over a low heat with a little lemon juice and sweeten to your liking. Simmer until soft and oozy.
**At the risk of sounding patronising, but just in case- Place a crumpled circle of baking parchment into the case/on top of the pastry. Fill with beads, beans, lentils, rice, whatever you have to hand. Bake in the oven until pastry is almost cooked and the sides have set. Remove the parchment and beads/beans/lentils/rice/whatever you have to hand and continue to bake until bottom has cooked too. The exact timing of this will depend on your oven and thickness of the pastry.