Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Serendipitous Cherry Cheesecake Pie

Over the Christmas holidays I decided to make a bunch of pie dough. It seemed the motherly thing to do. In case I wanted to bake Mim's meat pie recipe. (I didn't, so the disks of dough went into the freezer.) Ditto buying blocks of cream cheese. What if the kids desperately needed orange cheesecake with butterscotch sauce? (I hope they didn't because I forgot to ask them.)
And all those sweet-sour dried cherries keeping cool in the basement. Every summer the new crop comes down from Traverse City, Michigan and I buy a 5-pound box. No fruitcake this year, so lots of cherries left languishing in laundry room.

Last weekend I was sharing a Valentine meal with good friends; they were doing their delectable from-scratch pizza, and after dinner we would assemble their labour-intensive heart-shaped whole-wheat chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese amaretto frosting. So far that's a lot of work going on at their end of things, and no contribution at all from me. What to do to even the scales? What can I put together with what I have on hand? Aha!

Pie dough, cream cheese, cherries - and voila! Cherry Cheesecake Pie
It's a bit difficult to tell where the cheesecake part leaves off and the crust begins. It would flunk the looks test on the Great British Baking Show; they would talk about my insufficent "bake". But it tasted good!

So, in case your freezer and fridge have pie dough and cream cheese hanging around, waiting to be useful, here's the recipe.

Mix up and leave overnight in fridge (to let the cherries plump up):
1 box (8 oz/250 grams) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
couple handfuls (about 1 cup, I think) dried sour cherries

Next day:
Mix 1 egg into the cherry/cheese mixture.
Roll out one crust's worth of pie dough and place into 9 or 10 inch pie pan.
Pour/scrape the cherry stuff in. It won't fill the pan. This is good.
Fold the excess dough over the filling, and crimp up the dough to make it lie flat.

Bake at 350 degrees F. for about 45 minutes, until it looks a bit golden, and the filling doesn't jiggle.
It was yummy slightly warm, and equally tasty at room temp the next day.

For some reason, writing this post reminded me of three books:
1) The Giant Jam Sandwich
2) The Mammoth Cheese

and 3) Franklin Fibs (in which there is a fly pie which looks frighteningly like my pie above). So if you've no cherries, you can always substitute flies and invite all your turtle friends over for tea.