We never had fresh cherries in the house growing up. It just wasn't something my mom bought at the grocery store. She did bake things with maraschino cherries in them, and while I enjoy them, I also assumed that I wasn't a huge fan of cherries based on those experiences. I was WRONG. Not only are fresh cherries completely different (and totally AMAZING, as I discovered upon eating my first fresh cherry in my 20's), but not all maraschino cherries are created equal! No, those aren't black olives you see (like my husband thought they were). 😉 Those beautiful, dark gems are Italian maraschino cherries on top of my Black Forest Pie.
This pie is a chocolate pastry crust filled with dark chocolate cherry custard topped with fresh whipped cream. Then I added a little grated chocolate and more of those gorgeous Italian maraschino cherries.
*ALL the heart eyes*
The chocolate pastry is easy to whip up in the food processor. When blind-baking the crust, you'll need some pie weights. You can buy actual pie weights if you'd like (like these [here]), but I just use black beans. They're cheap and you can use them over and over again.
Those deep, dark cherries aren't your average maraschino cherry. All natural and insanely delicious, they're pricey, but absolutely worth every penny. I usually buy the Luxardo maraschino cherries for special occasions. I just couldn't resist splurging on these beauties for my Black Forest Pie. You can find them online [here]. I used about half of the cherries (my jar was 14.1 oz.) in the custard, and used the rest to garnish the top of the pie.
I added vanilla bean paste, chocolate extract, and some of the cherry syrup from the maraschino cherries to the custard. The flavors are outstanding paired with the decadent dark chocolate! You can substitute the vanilla bean paste if you like, but vanilla bean paste is my fave. If you're looking to purchase vanilla bean paste and can't find it in your local grocery store (I never can), you can find it online [here].
I highly recommend using chocolate extract in the recipe! This (sometimes overlooked) extract lends an amazing depth of flavor to chocolate baked goods! If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can find some [here]. Even better, makes yourself some [Homemade Chocolate Extract] for next time!
This pie is a little slice of heaven (pun intended). Chocolate and cherries are a fantastic combination, and that is only enhanced here by using the best ingredients that you can find. (Even if the resulting pie looks like it might be topped with black olives.) 😀
Other posts you may like:
Black Forest Pie
Chocolate Pastry Crust:
Dark Chocolate Cherry Custard:
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dutch process cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 8 egg yolks
- 3 cups milk (I used whole)
- 4 oz dark chocolate melted (I used 70%)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (see note)
- ½ teaspoon chocolate extract (see note)
- 4 teaspoon cherry syrup (from jar of maraschino cherries)
- 20-25 maraschino cherries, quartered (see note)
- Combine butter and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until no large pieces of butter remain. Add eggs, one at a time, and pulse until incorporated.
- Add flour and cocoa. Process to combine. Drizzle in the cream and pulse until the dough comes together. Shape dough into a disc, wrap in plastic, and chill 2 hours.
- After chilling, roll dough large enough to fit pie pan. After trimming the edges of the dough, dock the bottom and sides of each crust with a fork. Place pie pan on a baking sheet and refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line crust with foil and fill with pie weights (see note). Bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights, then bake an additional 5-10 minutes, or until crust appears dry and is very slightly browned. Allow crust to cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, salt, cocoa, and cornstarch. Whisk to combine.
- Add egg yolks and whisk to combine. Mixture will be very thick.
- Add about ½ cup of the milk, whisking until combined and smooth. Add the remaining milk and place saucepan over medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, warm mixture until steaming. Once warmed (it's important to warm the mixture slowly so as to not curdle the eggs), increase temperature to medium-high.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Cook and stir an additional 90 second after bubbling begins, then remove from the heat.
- Strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl. Add melted chocolate, vanilla bean paste (see note), chocolate extract (see note), and cherry syrup. Stir to combine. Add quartered cherries and stir to incorporate. Pour custard into prepared crust. Allow to cool before topping with whipped cream.
For Whipped Cream:
- Place cold heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla bean paste (see note) in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Start the mixer on low speed, and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until the cream thickens and forms peaks. Spread or pipe whipped cream on top of the pie.
- Grate chocolate over the top of the pie and top with remaining maraschino cherries.Enjoy!