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This easy to throw together pie requires only the briefest of stints in the oven, making it a natural for hot, late-summer days.
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces) finely crushed gingersnaps (about 22 medium-sized packaged gingersnap cookies)
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
pinch of salt
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (15-ounce) can condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup (2 ounces) lemon juice (the juice from one fairly juicy, medium-sized lemon)
2 cups blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, left whole; or sliced strawberries
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce) Instant ClearJel or cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the crust: Combine the cookie crumbs, sugar, melted butter, and pinch of salt. If you have a food processor, use it to process the cookies into crumbs, then add the sugar and butter, processing till everything is well combined. Press the crust into the bottom and up the sides of a deep-dish (at least 1 1/2 inches deep) pie pan. The crust probably won’t reach all the way up the sides; just do the best you can. Bake the crust in a preheated 350°F oven for 8 minutes.
To make the filling: In a medium-sized bowl, beat the cream cheese and add the condensed milk, vanilla, and lemon juice, beating gently until smooth.
Spoon the filling into the baked crust. Refrigerate while you’re making the topping.
To make the topping: Combine 1 cup of the berries, the lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.
Combine the ClearJel with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and stir it into the hot fruit. Add the remaining uncooked fruit, stirring to combine. Spoon the topping over the chilled filling. Yield: 8 servings.
Note: If you’re using cornstarch instead of ClearJel, mix it with the lemon juice, and add to the berries before cooking. Bring to a boil, and cook and stir until the mixture thickens.
September 2, 2003