Friday, May 12, 2017

A Red and White Dessert and My Favorite Restaurant

A Happy Friday to All!

As promised last week, I'm providing a special dessert you can make for Mother's Day that is actually offered on the menu at my most favorite restaurant in the world. This restaurant publishes several of their recipes online, but this one - they do not! And for good reason - I believe it's one of their most popular items on the menu. They also sell it in whole form from their bakery. I would imagine that's why they don't publish the recipe. Even though their Potato Pie is very popular - and I love that one, too - they publish that recipe. The Potato Pie is always a winner when I've made it for guests.

Okay, back to this delightful dessert saga. There was a great need to make this dessert in order to indulge in it at home when the fancy struck me - and especially when raspberry season was in full swing! And if you can't wait for summer to come and dine here, or you live far away, then this is why this recipe is needed.

The hunt began a few years ago - maybe three? I started in the restaurant's shop. The clue had to be there. The kitchen staff had to have gotten it locally. I perused the cookbooks for sale, and what did I find? YES! I found it! I couldn't believe it!  It had a similar name, and the ingredients corresponded to its makeup and how it should taste. I purchased the cookbook - just for this recipe! (I have found a few other recipes in this cookbook that are also very good! HA!)

I suppose you want to know what this restaurant looks like, yes? Oh, do they ever serve the most delicious food in the world and have the most incredible view to dine by! AND, most importantly, they serve tea in real china tea pots and cups! A quantity of loose teas are listed on their menu. Served up fresh with your own strainer. Pure pleasure - delightful dining by the river....ah.....Beautiful quilts hanging from the rafters. It's hard to make out, but in the background hanging from the ceiling are teacup lights. I do so want to have teacup lights in my house one day!

Below is a view taken from a slightly different angle - outdoors and a bit further away from the building - but this is essentially what you are looking at 
while dining on delicious delights inside.

The photo above is taken on the other side of the river on the road from our house to The Prince Edward Island Preserve Company. The yellow buildings with the red roofs. Now you know the name of my favorite restaurant! The dining room windows are seen on the building in the center of the photo. The building to the right is used for ceilidhs and special musical programs during the summer tourist season. Trust me - the river is there though it doesn't show up in this photo.

I found this photo of us when our friends, Jane and Lowell, came to stay a few years ago and we had breakfast by the river. Jane and I have a penchant for tea, you know. And chocolate desserts. But today's dessert is not about chocolate unless you want to drizzle some on.

The Prince Edward Island Preserve Company makes all their own preserves, jams and jellies! In their gift shop, you can look through the window into the basement area and watch them being prepared. Although their restaurant is only open during tourist season, up until Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in October, their gift shop is open year round during business hours, so if you are in need of tea and jam, you are in luck, even in the middle of winter!
Back to the business at hand! You need to hear the rest of the story about this special recipe. It's called Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie! Served with a dollop of whipped cream and yes, drizzled with chocolate!

I was excited to recreate this fantastic tasting pie. Got some fresh raspberries and all the ingredients and put it together. Well, what do you know?!  How mortified and deeply disappointed was I when I made this divine dessert!  Oh dear! What kind of a recipe was this?

It did not look like the dessert from the PEI Preserve Co. - no siree bob! It had a very thin layer of cream cheese filling and a very thin, and VERY pinky white layer of cooked raspberries on top! NOT the thick, red layer of berries I was expecting. I am sorry to say that this recipe was indeed, very poor. I hope the person responsible for adding it to this regional cookbook had never made it. Maybe she shared it without realizing how much it lacked. No blue ribbons or any ribbon bestowed here.

What to do now? I studied the recipe and decided to double most of the ingredients. Way too much corn starch for the little bit of berries it called for. No pinky pasty layer was to be had in my next pie. Instead of four heaping tablespoons, I changed it out to four level tablespoons to thicken up four cups of berries instead of two.

We were getting somewhere now! The cream cheese layer was doubled - a full block of it. Four cups of beautiful berries. Upped the sugar, of course, and the lemon juice. And almost doubled the light cream for the cream cheese layer. The PEI Preserve Co. must have doctored up this recipe, if indeed, they did use it.

Trepidation set in when I cooked the raspberries with the sugar and lemon. Dribbling in the corn starch and water mixture just when the berries were about to boil, I held my breath. Please - no pink - no pink berries, please! And......AHA!  I had the recipe under control now. Just the right amount of corn starch. The berries boiled and thickened and stayed red! YES!

I was SO happy! It came out awesome - just like the one in the restaurant! YAY! Though I do think my berry layer "may" be slightly higher - all the better for me!

Here are photos of my version that I made yesterday and finished up this morning. I made my pie crust with whole wheat pastry flour and had an awful time with it, though you can't tell after it's baked. It wouldn't roll out well and fell apart so I had to just piece it and schmoosh it together in the pie pan. If you use whole wheat in your pie crust recipe, I would love to hear how yours comes out and what your secret is. (I did manage to cut the third piece for the photo without the crust falling apart.) I followed a recipe that used butter and shortening, but substituted coconut oil for the shortening. The coconut oil may have been the problem and I didn't use white flour. Using healthier ingredients doesn't always work well, does it?

 The raspberry mixture is cooling in the bowl (and was chilled in the fridge). 
Below is the finished pie all chilled in the refrigerator overnight. I highly suggest you make this pie the day ahead unless you get up real early in the morning to serve it late in the day. The raspberry filling needs to cool down and chill for further thickening. You don't want to top the cream cheese layer with warm raspberries! Chill the pie for several hours after it's put together.

Here's the recipe you've been waiting for!

Raspberry Cream Cheese Pie
1 baked pie shell - cooled!
8 oz. cream cheese (1 block)
4 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. light cream

4 cups fresh raspberries (or frozen - not sweetened)
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tbsp. corn starch* mixed with 1/2 cup cold water
      (*use 5 tbsp. if using frozen berries - as they contain more water) 

Optional:  whipped cream and chocolate sauce of your choice

Prepare pie shell of your choice and let it cool before adding fillings. Beat cream cheese, 4 tbsp. sugar and light cream together until smooth. Spread into cooled pie shell. Combine raspberries, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and lemon juice in medium sized sauce pan. On medium heat, stir and cook raspberries until just about to boil. Slowly drizzle in the corn starch mixture while stirring constantly. You may need to turn the heat down as it will bubble and sputter. Cook for one minute. Cool and chill raspberry mixture. Spread on top of cream cheese layer and chill pie for several hours before serving. Store leftovers in fridge.
Share and Enjoy!

Have a great weekend and a very happy Mother's Day! Just a reminder that my Etsy Shop is having a sale all the way through the end of Sunday, May 14th. 15% off any purchase - coupon code: MUMSDAY15.

"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."

Proverbs 31:10,28-31

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