Originally called "Cheese Cake Cherry Pie" (with cheesecake being two words), this recipe was an entry into one of the old Pillsbury Bake-Offs. I'm not exactly sure which year it was entered, but the recipe has been updated and revised multiple times since then. To make it you mix together a quick shortbread crust, lay homemade or canned cherry pie filling over it, then top it with a cream cheese mixture that bakes into a cheesecake.
Cherry Cheesecake Pie Variations
There are different versions of the recipe. I've seen some made with a graham cracker crust, while others have a shortbread crust. For the filling, some call for ready-made cherry pie filling while others have you make your own with canned cherries. My version has an easy shortbread crust and a filling made with Trader Joe's or Aldi Dark Morello Cherries.
Here's the crust before baking. This one's in an Emile Henry pie plate. It is a deep dish plate, so the crust doesn't go all the way up the sides.
The original recipe called for a No. 2 can of cherries. A No. 2 can generally indicates 20 ounces, but today's cans of cherries run between 14 and 16 oz. Rather than buy two full cans, I use Trader Joe's brand cherries which come in a 24 oz jar. It doesn't really matter what type you use so long as you can render 6 ounces of liquid and have at least 1 ½ cups of solid cherries to stir in.
Cream Cheese Mixture
After making a shortbread crust and spreading it with your easy homemade cherry pie filling, you beat together a mixture of cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla and spread that over the cherries leaving a gap in the middle. I think the original gap was for aesthetic purposes because the original version did not get topped or garnished with whipped cream.
Here's what it looks like after it's been baked and cooled. In my opinion, it definitely needs some garnish.
In this case I didn't feel like breaking out the decorating bag and piping the whipped cream so I just spread it over the top and added some cherries and graham cracker crumbs.
Cherry Cheesecake Pie
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened (114 grams)
- 2 tablespoons sugar (25 grams)
- ⅛ teaspoon salt increase to ½ teaspoon if using unsalted butter
- 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour (127 grams)
- 20 ounces of canned sour tart cherries (See note)
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice optional
- 6 oz softened cream cheese (170 grams)
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: Sweetened whipped cream as needed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9 inch pie dish.
- Make the crust first. Beat together softened butter, 2 tbsp sugar and salt. Add flour; blend well. Dampen fingers with a little water and press mixture into bottom and up the sides of a 9" round pie pan. If using a deep dish pie dish, only press about ⅔ of the way up the sides -- just enough to build a little wall.
- Filling: Drain cherries and set them aside, reserving ¾ cup of liquid. Combine ½ cup sugar and 3 tbsp flour in sauce pan. Add the ¾ cup liquid; mix well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Taste, and if not tart enough add lemon juice. Stir in cherries and pour into the pie shell. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
- Topping: While crust and cherries bake, combine softened cream cheese and sugar and beat until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until thick.
- Spread cheesecake topping over partially baked pie, leaving a 3 inch circle in the middle. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Cool completely and chill thoroughly. Spread or pipe whipped cream over the top.