Lemon Cream Cheese Pie

Sometimes, I surprise myself. Honestly. My ingenuity and creativity really kicks into high gear at times and produces completely unexpected, yet stellar results.

** awkward silence **

Oh wait, did you think I was going to say I surprise myself with my incredible intelligence?

Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha! That’s a good one..

Ok ok – here’s how it really happened: I found a recipe in my binder for a lemon cream cheese pie – but the problem I faced was that the cream cheese filling needed to be baked because it contained raw egg. I wanted to make individual desserts, and use the nifty new glasses that I bought over the holidays at Pier One.

See exhibit A:

P1000356

Which, based on the limited brain power I possess, meant they couldn’t (and shouldn’t) go in the oven.

So, I did what any smart, sophisticated, enterprising woman would do. I called my mother. No seriously, I improvised. I baked the crust on a baking sheet and broke it into pieces, then I made a no-bake cheesecake filling. I did, however, leave the lemon filling recipe unaltered (shocking, I know).

But – and there is always a but – it turned out perfect – just the way I’d hoped it would.

And on the off chance you find yourself with leftover cheesecake filling, simply layer it in a glass, with the last bit of crust that you hid from the posse so they wouldn’t eat it all, and top it with a cooked fresh fruit puree that you made (read: improvised) because you found some strawberries languishing in the back of the fridge:

Exhibit B:

P1170222

Lemon Cream Cheese Pie - a conglomeration of three recipes

4 1/2 whole graham crackers, coarsely broken
2 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tbs.sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cup granulated sugar
2 tbs. cornstarch
1 cup water
2 large egg yolks
4 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. butter
For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until coarse crumbs form. Spread crumbs out on prepared baking sheet (if necessary, break up any large pieces with fingertips). Bake until crumbs are crisp, stirring once, about 10 minutes. Cool.
For the cream cheese layer: in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth and well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to assemble.
For the lemon filling: Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch,water and egg yolks in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. After it does, whisk in the lemon juice and butter and stir gently until smooth. Pour into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for several hours until cold and set.
To assemble, divide and crumble the crust into serving glasses. Gently place a dollop of the cream cheese filling on top of the crust and spread to cover. Spoon another dollop of the lemon filling on top of the cream cheese layer, smoothing it to cover. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.
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