Friday, April 27, 2012

Sopapilla Cheesecake Pie

Did you ever try something or do something once when you were a kid and are reintroduced to it again as an adult and remember every detail of when you first tried it?

This never happens to me.

I kid, I kid. This actually happens to me quite often. It could be a song or a smell and I'm suddenly transported back to another time. However, nothing does it for me more than food.

When I was 9, my family and I went to visit my aunt and uncle in New Jersey for the weekend. We only lived about an hour and a bit over the state line, but as a kid, any road trip is seen as a one hour too many in the car.

I'm not sure why we went to visit, but I have a feeling it was my Uncle T's birthday and it must have been a milestone at that. I remember his extended family were there, which would be the reason we were there as well.

My uncle is Puerto Rican and man, can he cook. I remember this was also the weekend I learned of my doomed shellfish allergy. 4 hours in the ER was not a fun place for a 9-year-old.

Anyway, when we woke on Sunday morning, my Aunt had set out a brunch to send everyone off. I couldn't stop eating these particularly awesome little pastries. I didn't know what they were and I certainly didn't have the confidence to ask. I just ate as many as my hands could grab and did so like there was no tomorrow, but I honestly never forgot about them as I grew up. I really didn't.

I had this pie a couple weeks ago at a potluck. I was like, 'Are you kidding me??' Let me tell you, I was totally transported back to that day and realized those gorgeous puffs MUST have been sopapillas. It was the weirdest feeling to FINALLY put a name to a, well, pastry.

I felt like I had finally found Waldo.

For good.

Recipe adapted and modified from

1 box refrigerated ready made pie crust - I used Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.
2 (8 ounces) blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon**
1 cup granulated sugar**
½ cup butter, melted
¼ cup honey, optional

**Just know that you won't use all the cinnamon sugar mixture once it's combined.

Preheat an oven to 350ºF.  Line a 9-inch fluted tart pan with one roll of dough; set aside.

In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, and pure vanilla together until smooth. Place cream cheese mixture into pie shell. Using an offset spatula, spread evenly over the pie crust and cover with second pie crust. 

What I did to ensure every part of the crust is coated and the cinnamon sugar adheres, I melted the butter and honey, if using, together and brushed on with a pastry brush. 

In a small bowl, stir sugar and cinnamon together until combined. If you have a shaker, it's so much easier to get an even coat of cinnamon sugar that way. If not, a spoon is fine as well. Sprinkle until top is completely covered. 

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Allow to completely cool before cutting. You can drizzle melted chocolate on top for an extra special treat.

Yields: 8-12 servings.

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