I like it very much when friends could surprise me with impromptu visits and share a dish or a dessert that I’ve made. Today Betty was able to come by and share the healthy Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Pie with me.
Betty’s family has deep roots in Chinatown, where they have owned several landmark buildings for many generations. Since her recent retirement, Betty has been on full throttle to reinvigorate Chinatown by organizing jazz events, dining events or hiring mural artists to beautify the walls of the buildings. When Angela wanted to write her AP history thesis on Chinatown architecture, Betty told her how the existing chinoiseries style came about.
It turned out that after the 1906 earthquake and fire, there was a racist movement to chase the Chinese people out of Chinatown and relocate them to Hunter’s Point. The goal was to move it from valuable land next to the central business district. The Overland Monthly proclaimed: “Fire has reclaimed to civilization and cleanliness the Chinese ghetto, and no Chinatown will be permitted in the borders of the city.”
Keenly aware of racist sentiment, Chinese leaders sought to rebuild in a way that would let Chinatown overcome its reputation as an overcrowded, diseased bachelor’s slum full of gambling and opium dens.
Look Tin Eli, a prominent Chinese merchant, envisioned a city of “veritable fairy palaces” and hired American architects, who stuck pagoda-inspired rooflines and other Asian motifs facades on Western buildings, to create an “Oriental” streetscape, which would attract tourists from around the US and the world.
This was the first time I learned that the style of architecture was not at all inspired by Chinese nostalgia for the old country, but by survival. This faux Chinese atmosphere was the ingenious vision that kept Chinatown where it is. When I first arrived in the US and felt homesick, I went to New York Chinatown looking for familiar things to quell my longing. It was no wonder that I felt just as much a stranger in Chinatown as anywhere else in New York.
However, having lived in the US for more than 30 years, Chinatown has grown more dear and appealing to me as a Chinese American. Its beauty is a part of Chinese American history. I come here often to get my Chinese vegetables and spices. And where else would I get fresh sweet cherries for under 2 dollars a pound?
Cherry Garcia Ice Cream Pie
Ingredients for Healthy Chocolate Pie Crust:
2 tbsp cocoa powder or cacao powder
1/2 cup raw walnuts (you can also use cashew, pecans, or macadamia nuts)
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/8 tsp salt
scant 1/2 cup pitted dates (I used 6 large Caramel Naturel fresh Medjool dates. They are soft and sticky.)
Preparation for Crust:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Then transfer to an 8-in baking dish or aluminum pan. Using a piece of wax or parchment paper, smush into the pan and pour desired filling on top or refrigerate until ready to use. I used saran wrap to line the baking dish for easy transferring of the pie after it is done.
Homemade Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt Pie
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt of choice (I used non-fat Fage)
1/16 tsp salt
Sweetener to taste (I used 5 tablespoon xylitol + 2 packs stevia)
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup to 1 cup chopped pitted cherries, diced (fresh or frozen)
4 tbsp shaved chocolate (you can either use knife or vegetable peeler)
Blend the first 5 ingredients in food processor (I used vitamix). Pour into ice cream machine and let churn for about 5 minutes. Add chopped cherries and shaved chocolate. When the ice-cream is the right consistency, pour into prepared pie crust. and Return to freezer for 30 minutes to a hour. If the pie gets too hard in the freezer, let it thaw for 15 or so minutes before serving.
Adapted from Chocolatecoveredkatie.com