Recently the food blogosphere has been swarming with wacky pies created for a monthly event called You Want Pies With That? Each month has a different theme, and the challenge is to create an original pie that somehow plays on that theme. I hardly ever make pies for myself, since I’m more of a cake girl, but it seems like a fun idea, and since it is Pie Season, I’ve decided to join. This month’s theme is Holiday Songs, so I took my inspiration from the Elvis classic “Blue Christmas” and made aBlue(berry) Christmas Pie.
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you…
And when those blue snowflakes start falling
That’s when those blue memories start calling
You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas of white
But I’ll have a blue, blue blue blue Christmas.
Obviously, with “Blue Christmas” as my inspiration, this pie had to be seriously blue. I decided to make a miniature pie (because there’s only…sob…one person to eat it!) with alternating layers of cream cheese ice cream and blueberry ice cream (feeling the cold freeze of loneliness!) and topped by a mound of fresh blue, blue, blue blueberries.
I began with a graham cracker crust, made with cinnamon graham crackers. (I think gingersnaps would also be awesome with this pie.) I then made two batches of ice cream–one from cream cheese with just a hint of lemon, and one from fresh blueberries. I mixed a bit of the two together to form a light blue (well, purplish) colored cream so that I had three ice cream bases total. A short while later (ha!), after all three were churned, I got to work layering my ice creams in the prebaked shell. I had a vision of perfectly even, uniform layers, but that didn’t quite work out. The effect was still striking, though, and oh-so-blue.
Since this pie took awhile to put together, I had high expectations, and it did not disappoint. The ice creams turned out beautifully creamy but not too heavy, the lightly spiced crust added a nice crunch while not being too thick, and the juicy blueberries on top added great flavor and cut the richness of the ice cream. Obviously this pie might not fit into some Christmas celebrations, but here in LA it’s still beastly hot, so it seemed perfectly seasonal.
This is also my entry to this month’s Sugar High Friday event. This month it’s being hosted by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, and the theme is All That Glitters. Looking at that mound of glistening berries atop the pie, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate entry. The recipe is right after the jump…
- 18 graham crackers
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1.5 cups fresh blueberries
- ½ cup sugar
- pinch salt
- ¾ cup milk
- 1-1/8 cups heavy cream
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Place the graham crackers in a food processor with the sugar and process until fine crumbs. Pour into a large bowl and pour the melted butter on top, mixing with your hands until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand and holds its shape when you grip it between your palms. Spray a tart pan with a removable bottom with cooking spray, and press the crust into the pan in a medium-thick layer. Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 8 minutes, allow to cool completely. Can be made ahead of time.
- In a saucepan bring blueberries, sugar, and salt to a boil over moderate heat, mashing berries and stirring with a fork. Simmer mixture, stirring frequently, 5 minutes and cool slightly. In a blender purée mixture with milk just until smooth and stir in cream. Pour purée through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids with back of a spoon. Chill mixture, covered, at least 2 hours, or until cold, and up to 1 day. Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream may be made 1 week ahead.
- Blend cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, sugar, and salt in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in cream. Freeze cream cheese mixture in ice cream maker. Transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 2 hours. Let ice cream soften 5 minutes before serving.
- You want all of your ice cream to be about the same consistency: soft enough to spread, but firm enough that it won't liquefy and run into all the other layers. I found it easiest to work with ice cream that was freshly made and then stuck in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes. If it seemed too hard, I worked it with my hands for a few seconds to get it soft enough. Basically just spoon a small amount of cream cheese ice cream in the bottom of the prebaked shell and spread it in an even layer with a small offset spatula. If it seems firm enough, you can continue layering on top right away, or freeze it for 10-15 minutes and then repeat the layering until you have reached the top of the shell. I had about 1 cup of ice cream left over, your results may vary with the size of your shell. Freeze until completely solid, at least 3 hours.
- Top the pie with 2 pints fresh blueberries. If you desire, you can glaze them with an apricot glaze or add fresh or candied lemon zest on top.