Andre photo bombs the secret weapon
Welcome through the doorway and into the holiday season. This recipe, a cherry pie baked into the center of a cheesecake, was created for a Halloween bake-off at work. I didn’t win any prizes for this although it was a dessert that disappeared.
This concoction is dedicated to a friend who recently flamed out. I found out the day I made this that he had decided to make the jump. In front of a train. A crazy pie for a wild and crazy guy (who was also ring bearer at my wedding). RIP Paul Addis, you would have liked this one, my friend. It’s called Uncle Nettie’s Secret Weapon…
You will need a 9 inch pie tin and a 10 inch spring form for this concoction. A food processor and a hand-held electric mixer would be helpful too.
Move your oven rack to a lower position. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
10 tbsp. (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tbsp. cold water
In a food processor, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and blend using on/off turns. Process until coarse meal forms. Add water and blend using on/off turns. Add water by teaspoon if dough seems dry.
Butter or vegetable oil the inside of a 9 inch pie pan. A smaller pie tin would probably be best as you want to make sure the pie you put in the cake is a bit smaller and more dense. Dense is key as you don’t want the pie to come apart in transfer.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12 inch diameter circle. Transfer to a 9 inch pie dish. Clip the dough to the edge of the pie tin. No need to flute or crimp the edges, it’s going into in a cheesecake.
Line the crust with foil and place dried beans or pie weights. Bake 10-15 minutes. Remove the foil and beans. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the crust is a light brown. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, create a tin foil collar for your crust, making sure your edges are covered. You don’t want to burn the edge when you bake the pie with the filling.
The Pie Filling:
2 16 oz. cans (equal to 4 cups) TART cherry pie filling
1/4 cup granulated white sugar, or as needed
2 1/2 tbsp. quick cooking tapioca
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. cherry brandy
Place the cherries in a large bowl. Add the sugar, tapioca, salt, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix with a large wooden or plastic spoon until joined. Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell. Spread the cherry filling to the tin foil collar.
Bake at 425F, for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake an extra 25-30 minutes.
Place on wire rack. Let cool completely. Transfer to fridge and allow 1-2 hours to chill. Two hours would be optimal.
Ready for the taste test
4 8-oz. cream cheese (low-fat or regular), softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 3/4 cup white sugar
1/8 cup cornstarch
1 fluid oz. (shot) Cherry Brandy
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
Bring all ingredients to room temperature.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Wrap outside of 10-inch spring form pan with foil. Butter the inside of your spring form.
In large bowl, blend cream cheese and butter until smooth. Mix in sugar and cornstarch. Blend in sour cream and whipping cream. Add cherry brandy and vanilla. Stir in eggs and egg yolk one or two at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.
Pour half the batter into your spring form. Separate your chilled pie from the pie tin (we lined a plate with plastic wrap and turned the pie upside to separate). Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the pie. Place the pie into the cheese cake mix. Pour the remaining batter over the top of the pie. Place the spring form in another pan at least 1 inch wider and add at least one inch of water to outside pan (prevents cracks in sides of the cheesecake). Bake on center rack for approx. 80-90 minutes or until the top of your cheesecake is a golden brown.
Turn oven off and let cool with door open for 1 hour. Remove cake from water and chill at least 3 hours before removing cake from spring form pan.
We sampled some before I brought it in to work just to be sure it was ok;) My wife liked the tartness of the cherry pie. The kids didn’t. I thought it could be a little more sweet but that’s my taste. The cheesecake itself seemed a bit flat and not as fluffy as your usual cheesecake. Then again, it had a pie in the middle of it.
My recommendation would be to add your own flavor to this and build on the beta version of this creation.
Shine on, Paul. You will always be in my heart.