Have you ever heard of or tried a Pennsylvania Dutch Heirloom Cottage Cheese Pie?
“This is the worst pie I’ve ever tasted.” -my Dad upon tasting.
How’s that for an enticement? Do keep in mind he said this after eating a bite of my Mom’s pumpkin pie which is always sublime, and keep in mind that my Dad is a little set in his ways. I’m thinking if he sees a white pie, he’s thinking cheesecake, and that’s not what he got here.
My husband, however, ate his whole piece of this special Heirloom Cottage Cheese Pie and proclaimed it delicious. He is the best Santa’s elf ever! Always such a good sport, will try any crazy thing I cook up.
This pie is an heirloom Pennsylvania Dutch recipe that I adapted after several iterations from a base recipe written by Shockingly Delicious. The recipe has German, Quaker and Mennonite roots. It is a very simple recipe and, I think, makes for a hearty and subtly sweet pie. It sort of reminds me of a ricotta cheesecake but with more texture and without the graham crust. You have to be prepared to taste a little bit of savory/sour, along with the sweet, and I think it’s best eaten on its own and not after a bite of pumpkin pie.
I made this Heirloom Cottage Cheese Pie for Christmas Eve dinner, and also to bring to Fiesta Friday #100.
For the crust I ditched my normal pie crust recipe and instead used Nicole Rucker’s pie crust recipe (substituting which is quite labor intensive and also quite work the intensive labor. Why you ask, for didn’t I win a pie contest and (blush) didn’t Food TV Network Star and Judge Aarti Sequiera tell me herself that my crust was on the very short list of all 700 + pies entered? The very simple answer is that I was out of buttermilk and it was very late at night.
Pie Filling: Adapted from Shockingly Delicious
- 1.5 cartons cottage cheese (1 16-ounce regular size carton and half of another 16 oz carton)
- 4 tablespoons flour
- ¾-1 cup sugar
- 2 well beaten eggs
- Grated rind and juice of one lemon
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Unbaked pie crust (see recipe below)
- pinch nutmeg, either freshly grated or prepared ground
- Mix together all ingredients and pour in unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
- Bake at 355 degrees F for 1 hour.
Recipe courtesy Nicole Rucker.
Pie Crust Dough
I always weigh my ingredients, which is essential for accuracy when following a recipe.
400 grams cold unsalted butter (I prefer Strauss European-style.)
665 grams all-purpose King Arthur flour
100 grams granulated sugar
5 grams fine sea salt
5 oz cold water
½ oz white vinegar
All of your ingredients should be cold. Mix the water, vinegar and sugar into a syrup and set aside in refrigerator to chill.
To Prepare the Dough: Pulse the flour, salt and butter in a food processor until everything turns the size of medium peas. Spread this fatty flour mixture out onto a well-floured, flat work surface and gather it into a pile. Pour half of the sugar syrup over the mixture and begin working the ingredients together gently, using your hands. This is messy work. Squeeze the dough together and lightly rub the butter peas into the flour. Use the palm of your hand, pressing against the table gently to smear/rub the dough together. Sprinkle on more of the syrup and keep squeezing and rubbing. Try to work quickly so that the butter does not melt. This is the key to a flaky pie crust.
When the dough comes together as a shaggy ball, wrap it in plastic and allow it to chill in the refrigerator for an hour. This relaxes the gluten and brings the dough together.
After an hour, portion the dough into 14-ounce balls and roll them out to roughly a 1/4” thickness. Lay the dough in your pie plate and allow to chill as you mix your filling.