The Recipe: A no-bake creamy cheesecake pie. The crust is made with ground almonds and the cheesecake filling is topped with a barely sweet homemade blueberry pie filling. We cooks love to elicit moans of approval, this one's not to be missed!
The Donut Diet, that's what I call the way my 90-year old father eats since he came to live with us almost four months ago now. Sure, he eats meat, vegetables and fruits with considerable gusto. But really, it's only the sweets that give real pleasure.
His Donut Diet started with actual donuts from old-time bakeries across St. Louis. Yes, we'll drive 20 miles for a good donut! So far we especially love The Donut Stop in Lemay Ferry and St. Charles and Old Town Donuts in Florissant and Cottleville and Party Pastry Shop in Ballwin. We've learned that he (and we) most like old-fashioned donuts. The acclaimed new-
fangledstrangled Strange Donuts? Definitely not to our taste.
But even excellent donuts get old – plus, you know, that drive. So I started to bake cookies and quick breads and make ice cream. And pie! I've even designated Pie Day Friday. There's also Soup Sunday and Meatless Monday but no surprise, only Pie Day Friday makes Dad check the calendar and count the days.
But no question, Dad and all of us really loved this Blueberry Cheesecake Pie. It's a dreamy-creamy concoction that twice brought tables to silence, once topped with blueberries, another time with cherries. I'd also definitely top it with peaches or mango or sour cherries. It's a great recipe to keep on hand, easy to make with pantry ingredients.
In fact, while all three components (the crust, the cheesecake filling, the homemade pie filling) work together so well in this pie, individually, each one is a "keeper".
BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE PIE
Time to table: 3 hours
Makes 1 pie, serves 8 or 10
ALMOND PRESS-IN CRUST
- 1 cup flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
- 1/2 cup (60g) almond meal
- 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold salted butter
HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY PIE FILLING
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 2 tablespoons corn starch stirred with 1 tablespoon water
- 3 cups (about 1 pound, 454g) fresh blueberries
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces (225g) low-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
ALMOND PRESS-IN CRUST Heat oven to 400F (200C). Spray a glass pie pan with baking spray. In a bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and almond meal. With a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture. Transfer mixture to pie pan. With the back of a spoon, press mixture to form a crust, the sides first, then the bottom, gently at first to shape the crust, then firmly to compress it. Bake for 13 minutes, remove from oven, use the spoon to press the sides and bottom of crust again, then finish baking until golden, another 2 or 3 minutes. Let cool.
HOMEMADE BLUEBERRY PIE FILLING In a saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. Stir in corn starch-water mixture, let cook for 1 minute until slightly thick. Add blueberries and return to a boil. Let cook for about 5 - 10 minutes, until berries soften but do not pop. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and almond extract. Let cool.
CHEESECAKE FILLING In a bowl, whip the cream until thick. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extract until light. With a spatula, fold whipped cream into mixture.
FILL & CHILL Spread Cheesecake Filling into cooled crust. Chill for at least one hour.
TOP & CHILL After the Cheesecake Filling has firmed up, gently spread the Homemade Blueberry Pie Filling over top, leaving a narrow edge of exposed Cheesecake Filling. Continue chilling for at least another hour.
MAKE-AHEAD TIPS Best made and served the same day.
VARIATIONS I also made Homemade Cherry Pie Filling. Wow, so so good and so so pretty! It does take a good 30 minutes to pit the generous pound of sweet cherries it takes to yield a pound of pitted fruit, so plan ahead! I do think frozen cherries would work beautifully, however.
ALANNA's TIPS No baking spray? Just wipe the pie pan with the butter's paper wrapper. A little bit of fat in the pie pan makes a big difference later, getting clean slices of pie to release from the pan. Look for almond meal at Trader Joe's or use a food processor to finely chop whole almonds with their skins on. No pastry blender? Use a large fork like a meat fork. The Homemade Blueberry Pie Filling isn't especially sweet, it works beautifully with the sweet and creamy Cheesecake Filling. If you want to use it alone for another purpose, however, you might want to use more sugar. Could you use a canned filling? Sure! We are l-o-v-i-n-g the blueberries from Sam's Club right now, inexpensive and bursting with flavor. For cleaner slices, I tried freezing the cheesecake pie. Too bad, it doesn't really freeze, the cheesecake filling is a little too soft and the berries get hard and frosty. Embrace slightly messy slices, the oohs and ahhhs will compensate.
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