Cherry Cheesecake Pizza Pie
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© Paden Reich
Ah, cheesecake. I like it in all shapes and flavors, but the tartness of cherries on top of a lemony filling makes every bite a sweet, lively celebration of favorite flavors. I think of this as pure comfort food, yet the pizza-thin quality of the crust keeps this on the lighter side and oh so refreshing. My mom made many types of cakes, but I remember this particular cheesecake more often than any other, though I didn’t make it for a long time. Then, a few years ago, my parents moved to a smaller house, and as we packed up their things, I found the 50-year-old pizza pan my mom used when she made her pie. Naturally, I took it home and made this recipe. There are a lot of steps. The crust must be prepared and chilled. The filling, though simple and quick, requires a taste or two in order to get the lemony zest forward enough. Finally, it must be baked and chilled again before you add the cherry topping. But none of it is difficult. And there’s enough time between steps to work on the rest of your dinner. This is great for a group, especially one that prefers a light dessert.
For the crust:
1. Process the all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a food processor until combined, about 5 times. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture is crumbly, 6 to 7 times. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing just until the dough begins to form clumps. Shape the dough into a flat disk (about 1 1/2 inches thick). Wrap with plastic wrap, and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Unwrap the dough, and roll into a 14-inch circle (about 1/4 inch thick) on a lightly floured surface. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of a greased and floured 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet; prick the dough with a fork. Line the dough with parchment paper or aluminum foil; fill with pie weights or dried beans.
3. Bake until the crust is set, about 25 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment, and cool completely. Leave the oven on.
For the filling:
1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Spread the cream cheese mixture into the cooled crust.
2. Bake until the cheesecake is set, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place in the refrigerator, and chill until completely cool, about 45 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the tart pan.
Make the Topping:
1. Combine the cherries, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a medium saucepan over medium. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean, and add the seeds to the cherry mixture; discard the vanilla bean. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is thick and syrupy, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool 30 minutes. Spread the cherry mixture over the cheesecake.
You could easily substitute blueberries if you’re not a cherry fan.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface and pan
1 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
4 to 5 tablespoons ice-cold water
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, plus
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 vanilla bean, split
Hands on time
3 Hours, 55 Minutes