Port-Infused Cherry & Chocolate Chip Parfaits (Gluten-Free) SRC

This entry is part 243 of 276 in the series Chocolate Mondays

Port-Cherry Parfaits; 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook

When I was a little girl, the big treat that boys would give to girls they liked was chocolate-covered cherries. In those days they were most likely sweetened Maraschino cherries covered with milk chocolate. I always wanted a boy to give a box of them to me, but the standard had changed by the time I was old enough to date. 

Some days I think about those candies, and wonder if I would still like them today. And thanks to the Secret Recipe Club, I have a chance – in a manner of speaking.

Port-Cherry Parfaits; 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook

This month I was lucky to be assigned The Weekend Gourmet blog written by Wendy, where she shares her adventures in the kitchen and on the road. Wendy is a native Texan living in San Antonio. There is a huge tradition of hospitality and great food in Texas and I am sure that Wendy throws one heck of a party. You just have to take a look at her blog to know that!

Wendy loves cooking, good wine (especially Champagne), great restaurants, and culinary travel. She love having a good time and laughing … I know if we ever have a chance to meet in person, we will spend the entire time laughing, eating and sipping wine!!

Port-Cherry Parfaits; 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook

Today’s recipe is a sauce made with a classic flavor combination and served over ice cream in a parfait. Wendy’s original recipe was made with strawberries, her favorite, which is delicious and only takes about 15 minutes to cook down. But since I am making this in summer, I switched to fresh cherries, which are in season and gorgeous. When I saw them at the market, I just couldn’t resist! They did take longer to cook, but it was worth the wait!

Wendy serves hers with frozen yogurt, a wonderful low fat, healthy option. I am not a fan of frozen yogurt so I chose to serve it with strawberry ice cream. Isn’t the pink and red beautiful together! You can use any flavor you like, of either frozen yogurt or ice cream to create the dessert of your dreams!

Port-Cherry Parfaits; 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook

The addition of chocolate chips took this right over the edge for me. It was the combination of cherry and chocolate, a classic match that was surely made in heaven.

I made two versions – one in a bowl, which is basically a sundae, and one in a glass that is the perfect for parfaits. Beautiful to look at either way, the taller glass is a more dramatic presentation perfect for parties.

Port-Cherry Parfaits; 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook

Oh. My. Goodness. You are going to LOVE this! A little tart, a little sweet. The cool and creamy ice cream, the soft and luscious fruit, and the surprising chunks of chocolate make the perfect dessert for any time of the year, but especially on hot summer nights. WOW!

Thank you Wendy for a fabulous recipe and the inspiration. I know it would be equally as good made with fresh strawberries as you did, but I am thrilled that the cherries were in season and I got to substitute them. Port-Cherry Parfaits; 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook

Gluten-Free Tips:

This is naturally gluten-free!

Kitchen Skill: Pitting Cherries

There is a tool you can buy called a cherry pitter that will make this task much easier and quicker.This is one implement that I think is worth buying and storing during the off-season. They are not too expensive and they make it easy to choose fresh cherries over canned. Another benefit is that it works to pit olives too! If you don’t want to buy a pitter, using a paring knife and prying the pits out works too.

OXO has a version that comes with a splatter guard to help protect your clothes and countertop when using. Cherry juice stains just about anything, so cover up with an apron or chef’s jacket when working with cherries.

Port-Cherry Parfaits; 2014 Jane Bonacci, The Heritage Cook

Nope, we didn’t like these at all, LOL!

Port-Infused Cherry Chocolate Chip Parfaits
Yields 4
Write a review
  1. 16 oz finely diced fresh cherries, divided
  2. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  3. 1/4 cup port wine (or orange, apple, or cranberry juice)
  4. 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste, pure extract or 2 vanilla beans, scraped
  6. 4 cups strawberry ice cream, frozen yogurt, or other favorite flavor
  7. 16 tbsp (10 oz) semisweet chocolate chips or shaved chocolate (gluten-free if needed)
  8. Additional fresh cherries for garnish, optional
  9. Fresh mint sprigs for garnish, optional
Prepare the Cherry-Port Sauce
  1. Place 1/2 the cherries in a medium saucepan. Add the lemon juice, port, sugar, and vanilla. Stir to moisten the sugar and blend the ingredients together. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Lower the heat to medium and continue cooking at a low boil for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Smash some of the cherries to help them release their juices. An old-fashioned potato masher works great for this!
  3. Remove from the heat and add in the other half of the cherries. This makes sure that there are some large, chunky, firm pieces in the sauce. Continue cooking the cherries for another 10 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 2 or 3 days. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
To Serve
  1. Place 1/2 cup of the ice cream in the bottom of each glass. If you can, use clear glass wine glasses or parfait glasses where you can see the layers. Top the ice cream with 2 tbsp of the strawberry sauce and sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the chocolate chips. Add another 1/2 cup of ice cream to each glass, top with another 2 tbsp of sauce and 2 tbsp of chocolate chips.
  2. If you want, you can garnish with a whole cherry and a sprig of mint.
Adapted from The Weekend Gourmet
The Heritage Cook ® http://theheritagecook.com/


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  1. says

    what a beautiful dessert! funny story- in 3rd grade, for the class secret santa gift exchange, my big gift was a box of chocolate covered cherries. at that time, i hated chocolate covered cherries, and i came home in tears because i got (what i thought was a) dumb gift. to this day, i can’t think chocolate covered cherries without thinking of that. maybe most little girls like them…who knows? :)
    sarah k @ the pajama chef recently posted..Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and EdamameMy Profile

  2. says

    I love the OXO cherry pitter, works like a complete champ!

    As kids, we always got my mother chocolate covered cherries for Christmas, they are one of her favorites. I love them too and this parfait seems even better.

    • Jane Bonacci says

      Hi Francesca – I’m with you, anything with booze in it perks my ears right up LOL. All wines are GF by nature so they are safe to cook with!!

    • Jane Bonacci says

      Hi Louise – I know you would love these because I can’t stop eating them myself, LOL!

    • Jane Bonacci says

      Hi Kate, thanks for dropping by and visiting from Group B! You guys always do a phenomenal job too. Enjoy these parfaits.

  3. says

    I love chocolate cherry anything. This would be so good! Jane, I think you should try making cherry cordials for Christmas. They’re super easy. And you could serve them on top! 😀

    • Jane Bonacci says

      Oh my, wouldn’t cordials be the perfect topping! Brilliant Sarah! Now, you just have to teach me how to make them LOL

    • Jane Bonacci says

      Thanks Jess! I couldn’t resist the cherries when I saw them and boy did they work in this recipe!

  4. says

    Thanks for your help with me getting my link to post. 😉 This looks SO good. I love chocolate and cherry! And chocolate and raspberry! Not sure which I like better, but now I just want some.

    • Jane Bonacci says

      This would be good with so many different fruits and raspberries would be fabulous! Happy to help you last night :-)

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