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Wednesday
Apr182012

Say Cheese(Pie)!

The recipes that end up on my blog will most likely be 1) Very Easy and 2) Foods My Kids Will Eat. The best of each of those things? Yes, please!

This is a recipe that can be found elsewhere on the Interwebs. It is called Easy Chocolate Lover's Cheesepie, and the first time I encountered it was in a set of trial recipe cards in the mail many years ago. I believe it is from Hershey's, but, ironically, I can only ever find Nestle mini-chips. This delicious dessert is one of the easiest things in the dessert world to make. There are very few ingredients, they whip together quickly, and bake. The frosting/icing/topping is actually ganache, which is also one of the simplest dessert toppings to make (and one of the most delectable). 

The necessities: three 8oz packages of cream cheese, 3/4 cups of sugar, 3 eggs, vanilla, mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, whipping cream. 

Now. In the picture are two Oreo pie crusts. These are optional. I mean, you definitely need pie crust(s), but not necessarily these. I have made my own very large crust, in an extra-big pie dish (it was my grandma's...very special) (I made a graham crust that time, from scratch, following the Better Homes and Gardens recipe, and it was amazing; just took longer) (duh). I have also used the graham and chocolate crusts from Whole Foods in the past; the Oreo crust is yummy and in my regular grocery store (Walmart), so that is the one I use most frequently these days. 

Have I confused you yet? If not, then that is unusual. When giving directions, I usually lose the person I'm directing immediately, as well as myself. 

Beat the cream cheese and the sugar until thoroughly combined. I have used full fat cream cheese, name brand cream cheese, low fat cream cheese, store brand cream cheese, and a combination of all of those. I do not think there is a difference in taste, really, but I will admit that these particular pies were for an Easter lunch at someone else's house, so I went for the real deal (full fat) and the name brand (Philly). (They were SO GOOD.) Because of the high fat content, the mixture was super creamy; the previous time I had made the pies, the batter (batter?) was much lumpier. It ended up tasting fine when it was lumpy, but...I'm sure the fat made it easier to blend. Eating it was not a problem either way.

Add the eggs and blend well. I'm 98% sure that you are supposed to add one at a time and beat well after each addition. But...hello! Lazy. I do start out at a very low speed and slowly increase the speed to medium-high. Ask me how I know to do this. The answer likely has something to do with flour, my kitchen counter, and a lot of sighing. 

Once the eggs are mixed in, add all but one third of the chips. I have to confess. I never measure this part. I'm sure I did the first time, but now I just guess. I also make a lot of extra ganache for the top, so I'm not short. (To clarify: I am not speaking of my height. I don't want to be low on topping, see? The ganache has nothing to do with being short or tall. But it likely has a lot to do with me getting wider.)

Stir the chips in gently and get ready to pour the mixture into your crust(s). (One extra-serving size crust, or two regular size crusts)

Since you are a disaster in the kitchen (okay, so I'm speaking of myself), realize that your crusts have broken packaging. Laugh, since you are writing a recipe for a blog section entitled "Recipe for Disaster". (I couldn't make this stuff up, nor could I have asked for things to go better for this wonderful area on my blog.) Since you have all the time in the world to waste, head back to the store with your crusts (and all of your children) in order to switch them out for crusts with intact packaging. But don't forget to put your cream cheese mixture in the fridge! (I did not forget! What a surprise, no?)

Once you are home again, fill your crusts with the mixture. 

Bake the pie(s) at 450o for 10 minutes and then turn your oven down to 250o. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR AT THIS TIME. Let the pie(s) bake for another 30 minutes. I do the same time whether it is one or two pies, even though I'm sure they are different thicknesses. They come out looking all golden and lovely and immediately edible. 

Resist the temptation to stick your face straight into the pie (especially if you have store-bought crusts...the sharp edges of the pie pan would really hurt you) (do not fear, I do not speak from experience on that one). The pie(s) are just about to get better. 

Here is where the recipe is very easy and I make it complicated (at least for blogging purposes). The real recipe says to microwave two tablespoons of whipping cream and the remaining chocolate chips on high for 30 seconds, let them sit for a minute, then stir to blend. For me, there is no way that that tiny bit of ganache is going to be enough for the two pies. (I honestly can't remember if that is what I did the first time I made it, one pie in the big dish. I think I did and it was fine. Now I almost always do two pies, and that tiny amount would never do.) I always make more than the recipe calls for. It is always a good idea. Since I do a larger amount, I do it on the stove top. I think I use two parts chocolate to one part cream. So, for one cup cream I would use two cups of chocolate. Or maybe one and a half cups chocolate. Accuracy! I'm on it!

The great thing about having more ganache than you need is that you can be generous! 

Isn't it so pretty? 

Guess what? It's as good to eat as it is to look at. This is a wonderful dessert to take to someone's house if you have the job of bringing a sweet. It is great to serve to guests in your home, and it is great to serve to your family as a special treat (Michaela often requests this pie). 

And what to do with the leftover ganache? Pour it in a bowl and drink it stick it in the fridge. You can use it in chocolate milk or make a cake and frost it or eat it with a spoon.

Oh! And don't forget to put your CheesePie in the fridge too. It must be served chilled, and of course, the leftover must be refrigerated. 

Don't count on leftovers, though.

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