Summer Show-Stopper

Chocolate and cherry are two of my favorite flavors and when they get paired together with a healthy dose of grownup flavors - think ruby port and amaretto - you have the makings of a very fancy dessert. But, given the time of the year, it only makes sense to freeze it all and give it an end of summer makeover.

This terrine is like its savory cousins in that it's assembled in a loaf pan, served in slices, and made up of delicious layers. However, it's boasting sweet, bold flavors and a creaminess that will have you and your guests talking about it well into the winter months. While you can use frozen cherries, I highly recommend seeking out some ripe ones since they are in season in many parts of the world right now and fresh stone fruit is a thing of beauty.

Store leftovers - if you have any - in the loaf pan and wrapped in aluminum foil to keep your terrine from adopting any freezer flavors. Always remember to thaw it on the counter for a few minutes before slicing and serving and you may wish to run the knife you use to slice it under hot running water for a bit to make that easier. A hot knife will slice through a slightly thawed dessert terrine like butter! So get ready for some ooohs and aaahs when dinner come to an end. What a great way to big farewell to summer!

Frozen Black Forest Terrine

For the chocolate cake layer:
  • 2 egg whites
  • ⅛ tsp. cream of tartar
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 T. all-purpose flour
  • 2 T. cocoa
For the cherry sauce layer:
  • 1 cup pitted dark cherries (frozen will work)
  • ¼ cup cherry juice
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch mixed with 1 T. cold water
  • ¼ cup ruby port
For the chantilly cream layer:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T. superfine sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
For the chocolate ganache layer:
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup amaretto liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

To make the chocolate cake layer, spray a loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.

Place the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt in a mixing bowl, beat with electric mixer until they are foamy.

Beat in the granulated sugar gradually, continue beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract.

Combine the flour and cocoa and fold lightly into the egg mixture. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake in a 325° F oven 25-30 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool completely.

To make the cherry sauce layer, while the cake is baking, combine the pitted cherries and the cherry juice in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add the cornstarch slurry and mix well until a thick sauce forms. Remove from the heat and add the port, stirring until it is fully incorporated into the sauce. Cool completely alongside the chocolate cake.

To make the chantilly cream layer, pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whip with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use. (You can make this up to a day in advance.)

Just prior to assembling the terrine, make the ganache. To make the chocolate ganache layer, bring the heavy whipping cream, amaretto liqueur, and light corn syrup to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate; whisk until smooth. Allow to cool slightly - no more than 15 minutes.

To assemble the terrine, layer the cherry sauce over the cooled chocolate cake. Carefully dollop the chantilly cream over the cherry sauce and use a spoon or spatula to smooth it out. (Don't overfill the cream layer. If there's extra cream, feel free to serve slices of the terrine with an additional dollop of chantilly cream!) Then pour the still warm ganache evenly over the top of the cream. Carefully place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of the loaf pan and set the pan in the freezer. Freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

To serve, thaw for about 10 minutes and cut thin slices to move to serving plates. Enjoy!

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 90 minutes plus three hours chilling

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