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Tag Archives: cheesecake

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

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I was challenged by a former co-worker years ago (five years ago, to be exact), to reproduce the Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie you could get at Long John Silvers.  He was slightly obsessed.

Although I didn’t duplicate it exactly, the crust is almost spot-on (it’s an unbaked graham cracker crust, unusual but so good), and it’s fairly close.  It has taken me this long to share the recipe because I couldn’t share the first one with you – I used wild strawberry essence in it, and not many people would have that on hand to use in a humble pie, such as this.  But I remembered how good it was and wanted to see if I could recreate my recreation of Mrs. Smith’s pie by concentrating the strawberry flavor in another way.  Then I made jam a few weeks ago, inspiration hit.  Jam, to me, is the essence of the fruit used to create it.

So I tried it, replacing the gelatin and fresh strawberries in my original recipe with the homemade jam, and it was perfect. It’s not as light as the original*, but so good in it’s own right. So thick and creamy, so cream cheese-y, so strawberry-y. And so perfect for summer because, unlike most of my recipes this summer, no part of it requires an oven. You’re welcome.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Crust
1 ½ envelopes graham crackers (13 1/2 sheets)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon water

Filling
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 heaping cup (13 oz jar) good quality strawberry jam
1 (14 oz) can (minus 2 tablespoons for the crust) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whipped topping or homemade (sweetened) whipped cream

Garnish
Leftover whipped topping or 1-1 1/2 cups homemade sweetened whipped cream
Leftover crust crumbs

While still in the package, smash up the graham crackers a little bit, then empty into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse & process until fine crumbs. Add the butter, sweetened condensed milk, brown sugar & water and process until thoroughly combined. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumbs and press the remaining crumbs into a 9” pie plate. Place in fridge.

Wipe out the food processor. Add the cream cheese, jam, and sweetened condensed milk, and process until smooth. Add the whipped topping or whipped cream and pulse until mixed. Pour into prepared pie plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Pipe whipped cream around the edge in stars or rosettes using Wilton tip 2110 (1M). Garnish with whipped cream & the remaining crumbs before serving.

Veronica’s notes: If you’d like a lighter pie, you could use 3 cups of whipped cream, or the entire carton of whipped topping, and use another cup or two for garnish. You will have too much pie filling, but I doubt you’ll complain about eating the extra. ;) Also, it’s important to use the best jam possible, as this is what gives the pie its strawberry flavor. If you buy cheap Walmart jam, it will taste like you bought a Great Value frozen pie, not made it yourself. I’ve actually tried this using Walmart strawberry jam, so I unfortunately speak from experience (it was bad).  Homemade is ideal, and Bonne Maman is the only brand I can put my own stamp of approval on if you go with store-bought.

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Guiness Brownies with Bailey’s Cream Cheese Swirl

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In the name of culinary exploration, I bought a single bottle of Guiness to make Wednesday’s cupcakes, knowing I could never use an entire 6-pack.  Unfortunately, the bottle was pretty ginormous so I still have more than half of it left.  I also have quite a bit of Bailey’s left, and since I can’t give this stuff to people I know who drink because they either don’t drink anything but the occasional wine or have drinking problems, I’m either going to have to toss it or keep baking up a storm with it.  And you guys know I can’t waste anything, right?

Hence, these brownies.  These crazy, rich, gooey, decadent brownies.  I went with my Kahlua brownies recipe, switching out the Kahlua for Guiness, and then went a little crazy with the mix-ins, adding butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, and walnuts.  Then I glanced the cream cheese in my fridge and got excited, thinking of my Brownie Cakes recipe and using it as a springboard to create a Bailey’s Irish Cream cheese swirl.

I liked these a lot, despite the Guiness.  I’ve discovered from reading Guiness & chocolate recipe reviews on blogs that I may be the only blogger alive not in the “Yay, Guiness and chocolate are the best combo evarrrr!” camp, but at least the flavor was not overpowering here, thanks to the sweet chips and cream cheese swirl.  There is a slight yeasty flavor from the Guiness, which is interesting but not off-putting.  For most people, that would translate to, “Yaaaaaaay, Guiness brownies are the best thing EVARRRR!!!!”

The only bad thing about these brownies (unless you want to count the calories, but who counts dessert calories??), is that they used up so little of this leftover alcohol.  I’m giving up on the Guiness, but as for the Irish cream…Bailey’s Banana Bread anyone?

Guiness Brownies with Bailey’s Cheesecake Swirl

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Guiness Brownies:
1 brownie mix
½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
¼ cup Guiness Extra Stout beer
1 egg
Optional mix-ins (add up to 1 ½ cups total): chopped walnuts or pecans, caramel bits, butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese Swirl:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom only of a 9×13” baking pan and set aside.

Combine the first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until shiny and smooth, about a minute. Add optional mix-ins and stir until well combined. Spread into prepared pan; set aside.

Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a small mixing bowl until creamy, then beat in the egg and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Drop batter by spoonfuls on top of the brownie batter and swirl through with a knife.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is golden on top and the brownies are puffed in the middle but firmer at the edges. Allow to cool completely before cutting.

Optional Reading:

OK, so this blog was too long to include this story before the recipe, but I wanted to put it at the end for those whose patience is still holding.

In high school drama class, we were doing a project where we were creating a spoof episode of the X-Files.  I remember nothing about the episode we came up with, except that some genius decided to cast me as an evil leprechaun.  (Speaking of evil leprechauns, doesn’t that one in my first picture look a little sadistic?)  We were actually filming it, just like a real TV show.

I showed up on filming day dressed head to toe in bright green.  I had no idea what I was going to wear for the role, but my mother happened to have a pair of bright green corduroy pants (oh, the glorious high fashion of the 90s!) stashed away in her closet.  She was a tiny woman and even at 115 pounds, I really had to stuff myself into those things and could hardly breathe all day.  I paired it with a matching shirt and called it golden (or emerald, if you will).

For my scene, we were filming in the hall and I was told to run off laughing after delivering my line.  It wasn’t until the camera started rolling that I thought to wonder how long I should run while laughing.  Convinced I should fight my urge to do it only a few seconds, thinking it was just my shyness trying to get the better of me, I tore off down the hall, squealing insanely with evil leprechaun laughter, throwing my hands up over my head and swinging them wildly back and forth as I ran…all the way down the hall.

That’s right.

I passed about five classrooms, squealing with high-pitched insane laughter at the top of my lungs.

When I turned back around, hoping I’d laughed long enough, there were curious heads leaning out of every single closed door I had passed, and in the far distance, I could see my classmates rolling with laughter while my drama teacher looked like he wished he could crawl under a rug.

I could have died.  The walk back to join my drama group was the longest walk of my life.  Every classroom stared at me as I passed, surely wondering who the crazy girl dressed in green was and if there was anything beyond my insanity that spurred the laughter that disrupted their class.

And of course, after that day, I was known far and wide as “the evil leprechaun.”

The end.

 

Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

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*Update 10/4/11: I won the editor’s choice award for these bars. Whee!

Editor's Choice: Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

It’s Secret Recipe Club time again!  Members of the club are assigned a secret food blog each month and they can pick any recipe(s) they want to make from the blog.  On reveal day, nobody knows what other blogger was assigned their blog so I find it really fun.

This month I was super stoked to get assigned to Big Bear’s Wife, because Angie (who also happened to be my group’s host this month) has plenty of dessert recipes to choose from.  I think you all know by now that dessert is both my strength and my weakness!

I thought of Dennis when I saw these bars because he loves cherries and chocolate.  Chocolate-covered cherries (aka cherry cordials), black forest ice cream sundaes, cherry mudslides (layers of ice cream, cherry pie filling, and hot fudge), black forest cake.  He loves it all.  And I think I’ve mentioned my little cheesecake problem.  So yeah, I pretty much had to make these.  And then I pretty much had to get them out of the house as soon as possible so I didn’t eat the whole pan.  I managed to inhale two rows before he got them out the door to bring to work.  Doh!

I never buy packaged cookie dough (perhaps it’s hypocritical to be for cake mixes but against premade cookie dough-lol), so I adapted the recipe with homemade, but you can use a package of store-bought to save time.

Be sure to check out all the other secret recipe club blogs at the bottom of this post! ***Something is up with the linky thing so there may be no links at the bottom. While it is getting figured out, you can go to Big Bear’s Wife at the bottom of her post to see all the links.***

Choco-Cherry Cheesecake Cookie Bars

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Sugar Cookie layer:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened to cool room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Filling & topping:
1 egg, separated
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
¼ teaspoon almond extract
3 drops red food color
1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, finely chopped, drained on paper towels
1 (12 oz) bag semisweet chocolate chips (2 cups)
½ cup butter or margarine
½ cup whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg and extracts and mix until blended. Add half the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix. Add remaining flour and mix just until flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and soft. Spread and press dough into the bottom of a 9”x13” baking dish. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Meanwhile, in small bowl, beat 1 egg white until frothy. Brush egg white over crust. Bake 3 minutes longer or until egg white is set.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add egg yolk, 2 eggs, the condensed milk, almond extract and food color; beat until well blended. Stir in chopped cherries. Pour cherry mixture evenly over crust. Bake 20-25 minutes longer or until set. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, heat chocolate chips and butter over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool 20 minutes. Stir whipping cream into chocolate mixture until well blended. Spread over cooled bars. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set. For bars, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store in refrigerator.

Recipe source: adapted from Big Bear’s Wife



BSI: Cream Cheese Roundup and Winner

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I had some wonderful submissions to this week’s BSI contest. Get ready to drool!

Green Chile Pepper & Cream Cheese Burger from Debbi Does Dinner Healthy.

Pomegranate Margarita Cupcakes from Food 4 Thought

Double Chocolate Cheesecake from Cupcake Muffin

Irish Cream Cheesecake from it’s a Greyt Vegan Life

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from My Bizzy Kitchen

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German Chocolate Cheesecake from Nutmeg Nanny

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Strawberries and Rosewater Mousse from Anasbageri~Ana’s Bakery (her blog is in Portugese, which I translated with Google’s language tools)

You guys made it hard for me!  I didn’t have as many recipes to choose from as last time, but those that were submitted were so good that I didn’t know how I was going to pick a winner.  To figure it out, I ended up discussing the merits of each recipe with my husband during our nightly walk with the dog, and after all was said and done, we both agreed that Christina’s vegan Irish Cream Cheesecake impressed us most.  Not only the concept, but that even the star ingredient was homemade as well.  It pretty much rocks our faces off, and we haven’t even tasted it  yet!  So congrats Christina, I will be sending you some vegan homemade soap from my sister’s shop, The Flying Pig Gift Boutique.

I’m still looking for a host for this week’s BSI contest so anyone that is interested can leave me a comment or shoot an email to vraklis@yahoo.com.

My Favorite Cheesecake and BSI: Cream Cheese Announcement

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Fact: I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have 24 sweet teeth and if I hadn’t had my wisdom teeth and first molars removed to make more room in my tiny sugar-addicted mouth, I have no doubt they would be sweet too.  Fact: Despite my sweet teeth, there are certain things I make or buy very rarely because I like them so much that my self-control us utterly nill when in their general vicinity.  These things are: any kind of cookies, but particularly homemade chocolate chip, chocolate éclairs, pecan pie, and cheesecake.

Prior to giving in and making this particular recipe, I hadn’t made a cheesecake in seven years.  But a friend requested one last year and I chose this recipe since I found it through one of my most trusted sources.  After raving over it for two days, my friend let me have a piece while I was at her house (it was a gift to her in exchange for a favor she paid me), and I’ve never made another cheesecake recipe since.  I have now made her three of these cheesecakes, which is a perfect arrangement because she always lets me have a slice and I don’t have to worry about going crazy and eating the whole thing in one sitting since it is not my cheesecake to dominate.  But I totally would if I could, which is why I will never make this cheesecake only for myself.  Never say never, but I’m saying it.  NEVER.  It is just too risky.  (Full disclosure: the last cheesecake I possessed that was only for the two of us was ten years ago.  It was about two-thirds the size of this one, and I ate it all by myself.  In one day.  And now you understand why I make them so rarely.)

This cheesecake comes out perfectly creamy with the best sweet-tangy flavor, enhanced by lemon zest.  Due to the minimal mixing time, it is not prone to cracks caused by air bubbles in the batter.  This doesn’t matter to me since I usually cover my cheesecake with a fruit topping anyway, but if you’re a cheesecake purist, you might dig the perfect top that comes out without doing anything special to achieve it.  No water baths, no pan of hot water sitting in a rack below the cheesecake, no baking it at super-low temps or leaving it in the oven an hour after you turn it off.  It’s a very simple, straight-forward recipe that yields a superior result, far better than any other I’ve tried.  Try it for yourself and you be the judge.

Favorite Cheesecake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 25 squares)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling:
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 (16 oz) tub of sour cream

To prepare crumb crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and about halfway up the sides of the pan, using your fingers or the smooth bottom of a glass. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.

To prepare filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute just until smooth and free of any lumps. Gradually add the sugar and beat just until incorporated.  Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to slowly beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Blend in the sour cream. The batter should be well mixed but not overbeaten. Overbeating incorporates too much air and will cause the cake to puff when baking, then fall and crack when cooling. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan and poke any air bubbles you see with a toothpick.  Smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes (mine usually takes a little more than an hour, but I think my oven runs cooler than most). The cheesecake should still jiggle slightly, it will firm up after chilling. Be careful not to overcook! Do not do a toothpick test in the cake’s center, this will make a crack. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours to set up. Demold and transfer to a cake plate. Slice the cheesecake with a thin, nonserrated knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each cut.

Recipe source: adapted slightly from Tyler Florence’s Ultimate Cheesecake

BSI Announcement

I’ve chosen CREAM CHEESE for this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient contest.  You can use regular, low-fat, homemade, or even vegan.  Sweet or savory, snack or main course, you choose!  I know you guys probably have a lot of great recipes using cream cheese and I can’t wait to see what you submit!

How to enter:

  • Make a recipe using the secret ingredient and write a blog post about it.
  • Include a link back to this post.
  • Add your entry to the comments section at the bottom of this post (permalink to your entry, not homepage, please).
  • Older/archived posts may be used as long as they’re updated with a link to this post.
  • If you don’t have a blog, but would still like to enter, please email me your entry (w/ photo) to vraklis (at) yahoo (dot) com

Deadline for submissions is Sunday, April 17th at 9pm (Central).  I will post the roundup and the winner the following day and send a prize to the person whose recipe I like best.  Please let me know if you are interested in hosting next week’s BSI.

For a list of all the previous hosts/choices, check out Biz’s BSI page.

If you have any questions please leave them in the comment area or send me an email and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
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