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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Port Soaked Cherry Shooters (aka chocolate covered cherries)

We were invited to the Lorch's for a Holiday dinner (perfectly cooked beef tenderloins topped with Gorgonzola, in a cranberry, port and rosemary sauce - amazing!) It was a great evening with fabulous food; Dave and I especially loved the 30 year old port.

Our contribution was dessert. I wasn't really sure what I was making yet but there was a port theme to the night- so I started with sauteeing some frozen cherries, first with a few tablespoons of water and sugar and then with a Zinfandel port. This past summer I froze a bag of fresh cherries for just such an occasion. The port I used was a fabulous little bottle that our friend Heather introduced us to; she had found this special item in Napa at Elyse Winery and it appears that was our last opportunity to enjoy this. The deep berry flavors with the black pepper undertone was amazing!

After finding chocolate cups in the closet, a little port custard came together after that and next thing I know I had port cherry shooters on my hands. Voila!

Dave said it best -it's pretty much a chocolate covered cherry, my version of one anyway! They are fun little shooters- meant to be eaten in one bite- it's a big mouthful! Go ahead and take it down in two if you need to (it will just be slightly messy and you may not get a cherry in that second bite). I've crushed open one of the shooters so you can see the custard on the inside; it takes on a purple hue from the deeply colored port I was using. Of course, use what ever port you have on hand.

It was a wonderful evening with a beautiful family and superb food- just the way the holidays are meant to be!

Chocolate Covered Cherry Shooters

Port-soaked Cherries
(if your cherries are fresh, go ahead and just soak them in port. If they are frozen, sautee as directed below. You will only need 1 cherry, 2 halves, per chocolate cup)

1 cherry per chocolate cup
Sautee in a few tablespoons of water and 1 tablespoon of sugar until the cherries are defrosted and soak up the liquid. Add about 1/4 cup of port and sautee until the port reduces to a syrup. Remove from heat and cool.

Port Custard

Whisk together:
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbls flour
pinch of salt

Whisk in and bring to a soft boil:
1 cup milk

Temper one egg (beat one egg in a bowl, slowly whisk in one cup of the hot milk mixture, then add back to the pot)
1 egg
1/4 cup of port

Stir constantly over medium heat until the custard thickens (just a few minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in:
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbls butter

Cool. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.

Use pre-made mini chocolate cups. Spoon a scoop of the custard into the chocolate cups. Top with 2 cherry halves. Spoon a little drizzle of the port cherry sauce over the top. The flavors come through the best at room temperature.

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