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Easy Cheesy Pie

Easy Cheesy Pie
Use your creativity to decorate this pie with fresh berries.

Ingredients:

  • 15 graham cracker squares
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter,
      melted
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, scrubbed
  • 2 packages (each 8 ounces) cream cheese,
      at room temperature
  • 1 can (14 fluid ounces) sweetened
      condensed milk
  • Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
      or sliced strawberries for decorating
      (optional)

Directions:

Before you start
Be sure an adult is nearby to help.

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Make the crumbs
Put the graham crackers in a lock-top plastic bag and press out the air. Seal the bag. Use a rolling pin to crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs, hitting the crackers softly or using a gentle back-and-forth rolling motion.

Measure out 1 1/4 cups of the crumbs.

Mix the crust
In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon until the crumbs are well moistened and even in color.

Shape and bake
Using your fingertips, pat the crust mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie dish, bringing it all the way up the sides of the dish.

Put the pie dish in the oven and bake until the crust is firm, 6 to 7 minutes.

Ask an adult to help you remove the pie dish from the oven and place it on the cooling rack. Let it cool completely, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, continue with the following steps (zest and juice the lemon, and make the filling).

Zest the lemon
Holding the lemon over a cutting board, rub it over the small holes of a box grater-shredder. Use short strokes and turn the lemon as you work. Rub off only the colored part of the peel (the zest). Measure out 1 teaspoon lemon zest and put it in a small bowl.

Cut the lemon in half. Twist the lemon halves over the cone of a citrus juicer to extract the juice. Pick out and throw away any seeds. Measure out 3 tablespoons lemon juice and add it to the small bowl with the zest.

Make the filling
Wash and dry the bowl you used to mix the crumbs. Put the cream cheese in the bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until the cheese is smooth, about 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer and add the sweetened condensed milk. Beat until smooth, about 1 minute.

Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add the lemon zest and juice and beat until the filling is smooth, about 30 seconds.

Fill and chill
Using the rubber spatula, scrape the filling into the baked and cooled piecrust. Use the spatula to spread the filling evenly in the crust and smooth the top.

Put the pie in the refrigerator until it is well chilled, about 3 hours.

Decorate the pie
Top the pie with the berries in any pattern you like. Ask an adult to help you cut the pie into 8 wedges and serve. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Sweet Treats, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2006).