Thursday, January 19, 2017

Quick and Easy No Bake Pie

In general, I am not known for "quick and easy" recipes. I like unusual ingredients, new spices most have never heard of, and unusual combinations. For these reasons I really get into Indian cooking.

Still, on occasion, I just want something quick and easy. I also get tired of cooking at times, or just lack inspiration. 
No-Bake Cheesecake Pie
No-Bake Cheesecake Pie

Long, long ago, when I lived in Guatemala, I did not have the sheer volume of spices, or the availability of foods as they are today. When you come down to it, we didn't have internet, nor even a phone, much less a cell phone or gasp! a Smart Phone. We still played 45 or LP records or cassette tapes. We never even owned an 8-track. And for all you youngsters out there who have never known life without internet or cell phones, believe me, there was a time! And during that time, I also did a lot of cooking and baking, but far more simply.

So on occasion, and since I had a lime tree in the backyard, I would make this mixture. It is very simple:
My Dad & Father-in-Law with a whole cluster of bananas
My Dad & Father-in-Law with a whole cluster of bananas
  • a can of sweetened condensed milk
  • a can of evaporated milk
  • lime juice
Originally, I made it to serve with bananas, which were very plentiful. My father in law brought us a whole hanging cluster of the fruits, which would stand in the kitchen, ripening slowly. The kids ate them as they ripened. Just placing the two milks into a blender and adding in lime juice until the mixture thickened, was a great topping for fruit, and bananas in particular. Later on, back in the US, I thought it might be great to add in a block of cream cheese. And, voila! a pie was born.
Graham Cracker Crust and Simple Ingredients
Graham Cracker Crust and Simple Ingredients

All that said, I have never been terribly fond of bananas, though with so many around, I occasionally ate one. This thickened creamy mixture made them more palatable. With the addition of cream cheese, it would solidify enough to actually cut into sections, and logically, a graham cracker crust was the last needed ingredient. So I have actually been making the first mixture for 40 years at least, and for 35 of them, I have gone the extra step of using cream cheese. But, I never took a photo!

I made this again in October last year and finally got the photos I needed, but had been busy with many other things and just wasn't blogging as steadily as usual. Here I am, finally, with the recipe for this delicious pie. I would imaging that one could conceivably lay banana slices into the bottom of the crust, before pouring the creamy mixture in, and then this would be a No-Bake Banana Cream Pie! For another variation, use chocolate graham crackers. I am sure lemon juice would work just as well, but I have only used lime juice.

No-Bake Cheesecake Pie
No-Bake Cheesecake Pie
No-Bake Cheesecake Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie 

1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup lime juice 
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Mix the crumbs, butter and sugar together and press into bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake the crust for about 8 to 10 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

Place the condensed and evaporated milks into a blender container. Blend briefly to combine. With blender running, add the lime juice and soon the mixture will begin to thicken. Add in the block of cream cheese and blend until completely combined. Pour this mixture into the pie shell and chill until completely set, at least 1 hour. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (AHOFpin). I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies