Max Van Blarcom’s take on Black Forest flavor made an impact

Nov. 29—Max Van Blarcom is aware of her manner round a kitchen, and her entries within the second-annual House of Financial system-Grand Forks Herald Pie Bake-off confirmed it.

Think about her second-round entry, uniquely titled “The Woods are Pretty Darkish and Deep.” One have a look at the pie reveals Van Blarcom’s apparent nod towards a conventional Black Forest cake, with all the chocolately, cherry goodness sometimes related to that dessert model.

With a graham-cracker crust and a wealthy, cherry puree base and dark-chocolate filling, this pie immediately captured the eye of the judges through the second spherical of this yr’s event. Its ornate ornament and candy, wealthy style positively left an impression.

Though the pie — and Van Blarcom — misplaced within the second spherical by an in depth rating (the typical judging rating was 32.75 to 32), it nonetheless is remembered as a spotlight of the 2023 bake-off.

Through the vacation season, the Herald will likely be publishing a handful of recipes of pies that have been entered on this yr’s event. Under is Van Blarcom’s “The Woods are Pretty, Darkish and Deep Pie.” Van Blarcom, of Grand Forks, was sponsored within the competitors by the North Dakota Mill.


1 cup graham crackers

1/2 cup macadamia nuts (blitz within the meals processor)

3 Tbsp granulated sugar

4-1/2 Tbsp butter, melted

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix graham crackers in a meals processor. Blitz nuts till small, however not powder. Add sugar and vanilla and almond extract into melted butter, combine, then add to dry substances. Bake at 350° F for 8 to 10 minutes.

After baking, create an egg wash barrier between the crust and puree filling. To take action, briefly bake the crust with a skinny egg wash to create the barrier — simply till the wash is absolutely cooked.

Cherry puree layer:

12.5 ounces of candy natural cherries.

6 tablespoons of hibiscus syrup (2 elements water, 2 elements sugar and some hibiscus petals)

Juice from 1/4 of a lemon

Zest from 1/4 of a lemon

1 teaspoon of pectin.

Prepare dinner cherries down till gentle; put in a blender. Return to place and put to simmer. Add syrup, lemon juice and zest after which stir. Bloom pectin in a tablespoon of water and add to pot. Stir for a couple of minute. Take away from warmth and let cool.

Pour into pie crust.

Chocolate filling:

1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 complete eggs

4 egg yolks

220 grams darkish chocolate

1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste

1 stick + 2 Tbsp butter

1-1/3 cups heavy cream

1-1/2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Prepare dinner the eggs and sugar on a double boiler, including additionally 1/3 cup of the cream. Take away from warmth and add vanilla bean paste and melted chocolate. Beat butter and add to combination. Whip remainder of cream and fold in combination.

Whipped cream

Whip 1 cup of cream with 2 Tbsp of powdered sugar and 1 tsp of meringue powder and 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp almond extract.


On the whipped cream, add a hoop of Starlino cherries. (Notice: Van Blarcom’s pie additionally was ringed with chocolate bushes, replicating the “woods” from the pie’s title.)

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