09 March 2011

Blueberry-Yogurt Cheese Pie

Do you like cheesecake? Do you like cheesecake with blueberry topping? Do you like the caloric bomb that (really good) cheesecake drops on your diet?

If you answered, like me, 'yes', 'yes', and 'not really' to the above, you simply must try this pie. The recipe has a lot of steps, and you need to be sure to start this at least the day before you serve, but it's not really as complicated as it seems.

Crust: Prebake a graham cracker crust in a 9-inch pie plate.
Cheese Layer: Drain 32 ounces of the best plain yogurt you can find (full-fat is recommended - I used Stonyfield Farm's Whole Milk Yogurt) for at least 12 hours. Line a colander with cheesecloth, dump in the yogurt, set it over a bowl, and stick it in the back of your fridge.
Berry Layer: Combine 312 cups IQF blueberries, 18 cup orange juice, and 13 cup white sugar and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, until the berries have released a good bit of juice.

In a small bowl, stir together another 18 cup orange juice, 2 tablespoons of white sugar, and 1
12 tablespoons of cornstarch until dissolved; stir into berries and bring to a boil until thickened (about 90 seconds). Remove from  heat and stir in 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice.

Turn out berry mixture into a wide container (a spare pie plate worked well for me), cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Assembly: Transfer drained yogurt to a medium bowl and stir in 13 cup powdered sugar and 14 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Spoon sweetened yogurt cheese into the chilled pie shell, smoothing it over the bottom and up the sides. Spoon the chilled blueberry mixture over the yogurt and smooth out the top of the pie. Garnish with a dollop of the extra yogurt and long threads of lemon zest (if you're into that sort of thing). Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
-adapted from Pie by Ken Haedrich

Let me just say that after two months of pies that ranged from white to cream to light yellow, working with blueberries was refreshing visually.They stained my wooden spoon, but to tell the truth, I wouldn't mind dyeing the rest of the spoon that color!
As I started out suggesting, this pie is reminiscent of cheesecake, only lighter. The tang of the yogurt stands in well for cream cheese, and the sweetness of the berries is sufficient to carry the entire show.
This is how your yogurt cheese should look
I will caution you that this pie does not keep - and I'm not just being euphemistic here. I brought the pie together for a Sunday morning potluck, so it was assembled and ready to go Saturday night and stored in the fridge. The graham crust tends to get soggy and weepy after just hours, and the whole thing slumps into a glorious mess. I might try it again with a short stint in the freezer before serving to see if it holds up better and slices more cleanly.

That said, don't be afraid to scoop out a portion with a spoon - it still tastes wonderful even if it's not the prettiest thing on the plate. And the taste is what counts in the end, right?
Some of the last bits. This is how it's supposed to look.

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