Anytime Pie

by - 12:28 PM

Hello, blog. It has been more than a month since I have written anything and I feel oddly guilty. Did my absence affect anyone out there? Probably not. Life has been a bit overwhelming lately and I just didn’t feel like keeping up with this here blog. Though I did miss it!

Can you believe that it is already mid-November? Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It really is my favorite time of year. I get to whip out all of the yummy pumpkin flavored or smelling things and that makes me happy.

Including this pie. Which, really, why just save for Thanksgiving? I call it my 'anytime pie.' Not really. But maybe I will now?

Here is one of my favorite pumpkin pie cheesecake recipes that I think I will be making this weekend. It really is yummy – and easy to make! The recipe and photo are both from King Arthur Flour. I use pre-made pie crust from Pillsbury (in the refrigerated case) but do whatever your little heart tells you to do. Enjoy!

1 batch Our Favorite Pie Crust Recipe

Cheesecake Filling
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup (2 ounces) sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup (1 5/8 ounces) diced candied ginger (optional, but good)

Pumpkin Filling
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 15-ounce can pumpkin* OR 1 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup (8 ounces) light cream or evaporated milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
*Use just plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling.

To roll the crust: Remove the crust from the refrigerator, and allow it to rest at room temperature till it's warm enough to work with, 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how long it's been refrigerated. Flour your work surface, and roll the crust into a 13-inch round. Transfer it to a pie plate that's at least 9 inches wide (inside top measurement) and 1 1/2 inches deep; a giant spatula works well for this task. Gently settle the crust into the plate, and crimp the edges. Note: If your pie plate is less than 1 1/2 inches deep, all of the pumpkin filling won't fit. However, if all you have is a shallower dish, just add as much pumpkin as fits, bake the remainder in a custard cup, serve with whipped cream, and call it pumpkin pudding!

Cheesecake Filling: Remove the cream cheese from its wrapper, and place it in a mixing bowl. Allow it to warm to room temperature (this will make it easier to beat), then add the sugar and beat till fairly smooth. It may appear grainy, or a few lumps may remain; that's OK. Stir in the egg, vanilla and ginger, if you're using it, and spoon the filling into the pie crust.

Pumpkin Filling: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, salt and spices. Add the pumpkin, cream or evaporated milk, and eggs, and whisk gently until smooth. (You don't want to beat a lot of air into this mixture; just be sure it's thoroughly combined.) Gently spoon the pumpkin filling atop the cheesecake layer, filling within 1/4-inch of the top of the crust. Note: Do this carefully at first, so as not to disturb the cheesecake layer; once you've covered the cheesecake, you can be less careful. Depending on the exact depth of your pie pan, you may have leftover filling. Simply pour it into a custard cup or other small baker, and bake it along with the pie, removing it from the oven when it appears set, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Place the pie in a preheated 425°F oven, and bake it for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F, and continue to bake for 40 to 45 minutes, covering the edges of the pie with a crust shield or aluminum foil if they seem to be browning too quickly. The pie is done when it looks set, but still wobbles a bit in the center when you jiggle it. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the pie will register 165°F at its center when it's done.) Remove the pie from the oven, allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it till serving time. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with a pinch of ginger and teaspoon of vanilla. Yield: 10 to 12 rich servings.

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