I love desserts and if they’re good for you too, or at least not awful for you, all the better. This recipe comes from a cookbook called Healthy Exchanges, and the author, the late JoAnna Lund, had the philosophy that good-for-you food didn’t have to be without taste. The loveliest thing about her recipes is that she uses grocery-store items and often tells you which brand she prefers. The only downside is that this cookbook is old enough now that some of the canned items now come in smaller cans, and a little rejiggering must be done to get the quantities to come out right. What used to come in 16-ounce cans, for example, may now come only in 14.5-ounce cans, and so two cans will be necessary and you will have some leftovers.

Black Forest Pie
 Serves 8
201 calories per serving, 7g fat
Diabetic exchange: 1 fruit, 1 starch, 1 fat 

1 1/2 cups water
1 4-serving package sugar free cherry gelatin
1 4-serving package sugar free vanilla cook-and-serve pudding mix
2 cups pitted red cherries, fresh, frozen, or canned, packed in water, drained*
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 6-ounce chocolate-flavored pie crust
1 8-ounce package fat-free cream cheese
1/4 cup lite frozen whipped dairy topping
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
sugar substitute to equal 2 teaspoons sugar**
 1/4 cup (1 ounce) chopped walnuts***

*I used canned dark Bing cherries, whole, and then cut them in half. This way I made sure all the pits were out, and made the enormous cherries a more manageable size.
**I use sugar, not sugar substitute.
***I don’t use walnuts. I don’t like them in my banana bread, either

In a medium saucepan, combine water, dry gelatin, and dry pudding mix. Mix well to combine. Stir in cherries. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract. Cool for 5 minutes. Pour mixture into piecrust. Refrigerate for about 2 hours.

In a medium bowl, stir cream cheese with a spoon until soft (NB: You’ll be there all week, and your arm will probably fall off; use an electronic mixer if you have one). Add to this the whipped dairy topping, vanilla extract, and sugar substitute. Spread mixture evenly over set pie filling. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over top. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

If you like cherries (like I do), you’ll love this dessert. It is rich and luxurious without being too bad for you! It travels pretty easily just with some clear plastic wrap over top, and is a good treat to take to a friend’s house.