Blueberry Cheesecake Hand Pies

Recently, a friend of mine had what I thought was a brilliant idea. I had posted a picture on social media of blueberries I had picked and asked if anybody had any suggestions for what to do with them. I had a lot of good responses but my favorite was the inspiration for this recipe.

  
Blueberry Cheesecake Hand Pies

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold butter, diced

6 Tbsp cold water

Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberry jam

1/2 cup blueberries

Finishing:

1 egg and 1 Tbsp water, beaten together

Coarse sugar for sprinkling on top

Directions:

For the crust:

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to combine.

  
Add cubed butter and toss in the flour mixture until it is well coated, being careful to avoid the blade.

Pulse 12-15 times until butter is pea sized.

Add water while processor is running and then pulse several more times until just before dough comes together.

  
Turn dough out onto floured surface and divide into 2 evenly sized disks.

  
Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least fifteen minutes or until ready to use.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling.

For the filling:

Combine cream cheese and sugar in a bowl and mix until sugar is dissolved.

  
Add egg and stir until combined.

Add vanilla extract and stir until combined.

Add blueberry jam and stir briefly.

  
Refrigerate at least one hour or until cold.

To assemble hand pies:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Roll out dough on a floured surface until it is 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry cutter or knife, cut into even squares.

  
Separate squares and spoon cheesecake filling into the center, working one at a time.

  
Add a few blueberries and fold into a triangle, pressing the edges together when they meet.

  
Crimp the edges with a fork and trim off any excess.

  
Arrange on a baking sheet and poke a few vents in the top of each pie.

  
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar before putting in the oven.

  
Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least fifteen minutes before enjoying.

  

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Wild Blueberry Tart with Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Filling and Snickerdoodle Pecan Crust

  
Wild Blueberry Tart with Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Filling and Snickerdoodle Pecan Crust

Recipe makes one 11 inch tart

Ingredients:

  

Crust:

2 cups snickerdoodle crumbs

1 1/2 cup toasted pecan crumble (about 6 ounces whole)

1 stick butter, melted

Note: This is a basic crumb crust. You can substitute any crunchy cookie or graham crackers or any nuts or no nuts, whatever you have on hand. Gingersnaps would be a nice twist. I used snickerdoodles because I had some leftover in the cookie jar. The drier the cookie, the crunchier the crust!

Ricotta Cheesecake Filling:

8 oz. cream cheese at room temp

1 cup ricotta

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 lemon, zested

Note: If you don’t have ricotta you may use goat cheese or all cream cheese for the filling.

Blueberry Topping:

4 cups blueberries

1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp water, divided

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp lemon juice

Note: It is blueberry season here in Maine so I used wild blueberries. If you do not have access to wild blueberries, store bought or cultivated will work just fine.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Toast pecans in oven for 4-5 minutes. Allow to cool.

Smash or crumble Snickerdoodle cookies and place in food processor. Pulse until you have a fine crumb.

  
Place cooled pecans in food processor. Pulse until you have an even, coarse crumb.

  
Combine 2 cups cookie crumb and 1 1/2 pecan crumb in a large bowl and mix with melted butter until it is the consistency of wet sand and just holds its shape when pressed together.

  
Press crust into tart pan evenly, working from the center out. I find a straight sided cylindrical object with a flat bottom works well for this. I like to use my one cup measure. You may have a little extra crumb leftover.

  
Bake crust on a sheet pan for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and lower temperature to 325 F.

Allow to cool while you prepare the filling.

Combine cream cheese, ricotta and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low until completely combined. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula. While mixing on low, add eggs, one at a time, adding the next egg after the first is completely combined. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest and mix on low until combined. Scrape down bowl with a rubber spatula.

Pour filling into crust and bake on a sheet pan for 30 minutes, rotating at 15 minutes.

  
When filling is set, turn off the oven and crack the door, allowing tart to cool slowly at least fifteen minutes. If the cheesecake filling cools too quickly, it may split.

Meanwhile, prepare the topping.

Combine 1 cup blueberries with 1/2 cup water in a pot and bring to a boil.

  
Combine 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water and mix until cornstarch is completely dissolved and mixture is smooth.

Whisk cornstarch slurry into pot and cook while whisking for several minutes over medium heat, being careful not to burn.

  
Add sugar and lemon juice and whisk over medium low heat until smooth.

Fold in remaining 3 cups blueberries until well coated and remove from heat.

Remove tart from oven and pour 3/4 of the blueberry topping into the center. Gently spread to the edge of the crust on all sides, adding more topping if necessary. You may have a small amount of topping left over.

  
Allow to cool at room temperature 1 hour before serving.