I haven't done a lot of baking this summer, much to the chagrin of my family and friends I'm sure. I haven't been motivated, it's been too hot, I don't want to deal with the dishes, etc.; I have tons of excuses, but the bottom line is that I've been using my sweets allowance for Twix ice cream bars. You guys know those exist, right?
I did manage to pull myself out of my baking funk long enough to make this pie for a recent family gathering, and I'm so glad I did, because this is one amazing dessert. There's no gelatin here -- just a tart-sweet pile of strawberries atop a creamy, tangy cream cheese layer, all nestled within a buttery crust. Needless to say, slices of this pie, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream, were very well-received. It's summer on a plate -- and well worth turning on the oven for.
Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
adapted from Busy Cooks on About.com
Pastry for 1 9-inch pie
6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 vanilla bean
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup whipped topping
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spread the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate, fluting the edges. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until browned. Cool completely.
2. Thoroughly mash 1 1/2 cups of the strawberries. Mix sugar and corn starch in a heavy saucepan and stir in the strawberries. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Cook and stir for one minute and remove from heat. Scrape the pods from the vanilla bean and stir into the strawberry mixture. Cool completely.
3. Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon juice in a bowl. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread the cream cheese mixture into the cooled pie crust.
4. Slice the remaining strawberries and place them evenly over the cream cheese layer. Pour the cooked and cooled strawberry mixture over the top. Chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving. Keep refrigerated.