Thursday, January 3, 2013

NYE Pt. 2, Vintage 1960s Cream Cheese Pie

Quick story: This recipe was given to me last week by my grandma. She got it from a packet of Philly cream cheese a long long time ago when she lived in California. Apparently, she and a friend both discovered the recipe separately and made it for the same party, unbeknownst to the other. My grandma said hers was the better of the two, of course.

I try to be an "everything in moderation" kind of person, which necessarily means that I have moments of sweet-tooth indulgence to balance out the usual fare. A few years ago when I started getting serious about eating better, I was wooed by the low carb/Splenda craze; I might have tried to substitute the sugar with a fake sweetener or something to make it "light," but I don't do that anymore. I'm no longer convinced that refined sugar is worse for you than fake sweeteners. And while I could replace the sugars with a natural organic substitute, I think it would destroy the charm of making this the original, authentic way. So yes, on special occasions, I will bust the white sugar out of food prison.

Vintage 1960s Cream Cheese Pie

  • 12 to 14 graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Crust: Crush graham crackers and combine with melted butter in a 9 inch pie tray. Bake for 5 minutes.

Filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients (cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice). Pour into crust and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Note: I did it for 20. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Topping: Blend sour cream with sugar and vanilla, and pour over the top of pie. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Note: Again, in my oven it needed a bit more bake time.

Refrigerate for 4 hours before serving. Serves 8 slices.

You know you want me.

It's not exactly a cheesecake. In a traditional cheesecake, the sour cream is baked together with the cream cheese, and the way you mix it together creates a more dense texture. This pie is lighter, and I love the smoothness of the sour cream topping.

As a side note, one of the quaint little things about this recipe is that the original called for "four 3 oz packs" of Philly cream cheese, yet I instinctively wrote down "1 1/2 packs" because I don't recall a time when 8 oz packages weren't the norm. It's a simple reminder of how most food now comes in much larger quantities than it did just a couple of generations ago. It's something to be mindful of when portioning your meals, certainly.

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