If my weekend were up for a grade, I would say it earned a B. On Friday, I enjoyed a lovely dinner at The Liberty with two equally lovely friends. In response to my order, the Silver Queen Biquse, Southern Seafood Boil, and Salted Caramel Budino, the waitress exlaimed “all B’s!” “Yes, that is neat! Now if only B‘s meant money,” I replied.
Ever the optimist, Susan piped up, “It does! Billionaire!” Mary K, always the realistic, chimed in Broke!” In response to their foolishness, I ordered another beer to cope. Funny none of us recalled, “It’s All About The Benjamins.”
The weekend of B‘s continued when I bought a bike. Which I promptly wrecked on its inaugural ride, resulting in a bruise. (I’d like to say the wreck occurred because I push the envelope, but really, I just lack coordination.) I rode my bike to the library to pick up a book I looked forward to reading, “Bloom!” It was not at all what I had hoped, so that left me feeling bummed.
Now that you are sufficiently bored, let’s get to the good stuff. The Budino.
I had neither heard of nor enjoyed a budino prior to The Liberty’s Salted Caramel Budino, but it was so good I decided to recreate a budino with cherries for my entry into the OXO Cherry Recipe Contest.
Budino is simply the Italian word for pudding. The Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino I created is a layer of chocolate cookie crumbs, cheesecake pudding, and cherry syrup flavored with amaretto and brown sugar. It’s topped with a touch of vanilla whipped cream and, of course, a cherry.
I layered my Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Budino’s in .25L canning jars. An added bonus of using canning jars is the budinos travel well. Simply screw on the tops to bring the desserts to your next picnic or potluck.
Depending on the vessel you use, you may need to adjust the measurements of each layer I included in the below recipe. I found it easiest to use an ice cream scoop, rather than a measuring cup, to neatly layer the ingredients in the jar.
The cherry-amaretto syrup is unique to the recipe, but the remaining layers can be homemade or store-bought to assemble in a pinch. I baked my own chocolate wafer cookies and made my own vanilla whipped cream, but I relied on a boxed cheesecake pudding mix.
Someday I might attempt to make this dessert with homemade pudding. Another day, I might use crushed chocolate graham crackers or chocolate sandwich cookies for the cookie crumb layer, and top the budinos off with a dollop of whipped cream topping from a tub or can.
If making homemade chocolate wafer cookies, the recipe below yields about 1 cup of additional cookie crumbs that can be saved for a second round of budinos. Once I tasted these, I was certainly thinking about a round two! Ciao!
- For the Chocolate Wafer Cookies
- ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- 7 tablespoons butter, softened slightly
- 1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Pudding
- 1, 3.4 oz box cheesecake flavored pudding mix
- 1¾ cup whole milk
- For the Cherry-Amaretto Sauce
- 2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup amaretto
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- For the Whipped Cream
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- For the Garnish
- 4 whole cherries
- To make the chocolate wafer cookies, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.
- Cut the butter into small chunks and add to the bowl.
- Use a fork or pastry cutter to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture.
- Add the milk and the vanilla and use a hand mixer or wooden spoon to stir until the dough begins to clump. Resist the urge to add additional liquid; the dough will come together as you stir.
- Place the dough on a very lightly floured surface and knead a few times to ensure the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
- Form the dough into a log and wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until firm, about one hour.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut the log into slices about ¼-inch thick.
- Place the dough slices on parchment-lined baking sheets. The cookies will spread a bit, so be sure to leave space between the disks of dough.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 14 minutes, rotating the baking sheet from back to front halfway through baking.
- Allow the cookies to cool on wire racks.
- Once cool, use a food processor to turn the cookies into a fine crumb.
- Place ¼ cup chocolate cookie crumbs in each jar.
- Prepare the cheesecake pudding by whisking 1¾ cup whole milk into the dry pudding mixture for two minutes.
- Divide the pudding evenly (about ¼ cup) among the jars, layering the pudding on top of the chocolate cookie crumb mix.
- Prepare the cherry-amaretto sauce by pureeing the chopped and pitted cherries in a food processor until nearly smooth.
- Place the cherry puree in a small saucepan along with the amaretto and brown sugar.
- Simmer over low to medium heat until the sauce thickens, about 12-15 minutes.
- Allow the cherry sauce to cool to room temperature, then divide evenly (about 2 tablespoons) among the jars, layering the cherry sauce on top of the cheesecake pudding.
- Prepare the whipped cream by beating the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Divide the whipped cream evenly (about 2 tablespoons) among the jars, layering the whipped cream on top of the cherry-amaretto sauce.
- Garnish each budino jar with a cherry.