Monday, July 11, 2011

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

We've been traveling a lot lately, which would explain the dearth of posts. It's not always easy to get into a kitchen and bake when you're in a vacation rental, or even in someone else's house. Still, I managed to get in one dessert in Livermore before we flew to Hawaii.
We had friends and relatives over for potluck involving grilled chicken and cheesy potatoes and salad, and this cream cheese pie--it's really cheesecake, despite the name--perhaps a less impressive cheesecake, but yummy nonetheless.

I had been to the farmer's market to pick up berries and other goodies the day before, and I wanted to use up as many berries as possible. Therefore, this became Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie with Blackberries and Raspberries. Also, I didn't want to buy currant jelly just for this purpose, so I used seedless marionberry jam, and it worked out great.

The pie was much appreciated and quickly devoured. Sami took a picture of "his" piece of pie, which he wasn't able to eat because he was down with a stomach bug.
I like this recipe a lot--though it needs a lot of down time for cooling and chilling, the actual preparation is really easy, and the results are spectacular.

Here's the recipe. Make it now, while berries are still in season.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

1-1/4 c. (5 oz.) graham cracker crumbs (this turns out to be 1 package of crackers)
1 T. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ginger
Pinch allspice
6 T. (3 oz.) butter, melted
(alternatively: 1 pkg. zwieback
1/4 c. (1 oz.) powdered sugar
6 T (3 oz.) butter)

Heat the oven to 375. Line a 9-inch pie plate with foil. Stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and butter (if you're using a food processor to make the crumbs, just mix it all in the processor). Pat the crumbs in the foil-lined pan to form an even layer on the bottom and as far up the sides as you can go. Bake for 7 minutes. Let cool to room temperature, then freeze at least 1 hour. When the crust is frozen solid, pull it carefully out of the pan by the foil and then carefully peel the foil off. Return the crust to the pan. Keep it at room temperature while you make the filling (especially if you have a glass pan--you don't want it to crack going from frozen to hot!).

12 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 t. vanilla
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) sugar
1/3 c. (2.7 oz.) cream, sour cream, or crème fraîche
2 large eggs

Heat the oven to 350. Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and sugar and again beat until smooth. Add the cream and then the eggs, one at a time, beating just until smooth but not going for fluffy/airy. Pour the filling in the crust and bake 25 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and then chill at least an hour.

3 cups (12 oz.) fresh blueberries (and/or other berries), washed and picked over (and dry)
About 1/2 c. (5 oz.) red currant (or other red fruit) jelly

Put the jelly in a microwave-safe cup and zap it for about a minute: it should come to a full boil. Immediately brush a thin layer on top of the cheese filling. Put the rest in a large bowl to cool and thicken a bit. When the jelly has begun to set a bit, add the blueberries and fold together carefully until the berries are coated. Spread the berries over the pie. If the jelly doesn't cover the pie between the berries, melt some more and coat the pie. Then chill at least a few hours or overnight.

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