Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Recap

Well, we celebrated Christmas with Jon's family today.  We had a taco bar so that everyone could customize their own lunch.  I made a carrot cake and a giant cherry cream pie for dessert.
The cherry pie is something that Jon's family had every Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Usually, it is made in a prepared graham cracker crust (round 9" pie pan).  The cake serves 8....really 6, so I wanted to make a larger version.  In the past, I make 2 pies.  And they are good. But, I am not a fan of the taste of the prepared crust.  While convenient, it is also the taste equivalent of cardboard.  
I wanted to make my own crust... the graham cracker crust is the flavor I wanted...gingersnap crust, pretzel or even shortbread would work as well, but graham is nice because it is plain but crunchy.  It lacks the spice of the gingersnap, the saltiness of the pretzel and the butteriness of the shortbread.  It is sufficient as a base layer for the cream filling that is the second layer.  
So, I ground up 3 wax paper packages of plain graham crackers in a bag!  It was very easy for clean up.... It made a thick crust, just what I wanted to hold up to a 13x9 pan of the cherry cream pie.
The filling was extra easy... a large tub of Cool whip mixed with cream cheese and poured over the crust then topped with canned cherry pie filling...
One day, I will experiment with making it from "natural" ingredients rather than cool whip and canned pie filling, but for now, I will stay with the old stand bye...

Large Cherry Cream Pie

3 wax paper wrapped packages of graham crackers, crushed
3/4 stick melted butter
2 T sugar
8 oz cream cheese
3 T sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 large tub cream Cool Whip (16 oz, I think)
1 can cherry pie filling

Line a 13x9 pan with foil and then with parchment.
Mix grahams in a gallon bag or in a bowl.  Crush crackers.  Mix in 2 T sugar and melted butter.
Mix until crumbs stick together and press into 13x9 pan.  Press down or tamp with either a spatula, or your hand in a plastic sandwich bag.
Bake at 350 for 12 min.
Let cool thoroughly.
Beat cream cheese with a mixer until smooth.  Beat in 3 T sugar and 2 tsp vanilla.  Mix in cool whip in 2 batches.
Spread mixture in pan.  Smooth top and chill in fridge overnight or at least 3 hours.
Spread canned cherries on top of pie before serving.
Cut into squares.

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