Pina Colada Ice Box Pie

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While reading the latest issue of Southern Living, I ran across this recipe for a Pina Colada Ice Box Pie and decided I’d give it a try. I’m a big lover of ice box pies; I’ve loved them all my life. My great aunt always made a lemon ice box pie for me for my birthday. I use a basic recipe to make mine (1 can Eagle Brand, 1 cup lemon or lime juice depending on what I’m making and 3 egg yolks in a graham cracker crust with the egg whites on top for a meringue), but this recipe was a little more intriguing. No “off the shelf” pre-made crust here! A delicious taste of warm weather to come, even if it doesn’t have any rum in it 😦

  • 2 cups crushed pecan shortbread cookies (about 16 pecan sandies)
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (half a stick)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 8oz can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup cream of coconut milk (Coco Lopez)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • fresh pineapple, toasted coconut or thin lime slices for garnish

Combine the crushed cookies, coconut and butter in a bowl and mix well. Pat crumb mixture into a 8″-9″ pie pan, pressing up the sides so it’s even all over. Bake the crust in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

While the crust is baking, in a heavy bottom saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and pineapple. Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of pineapple jam. Pour from pan into a bowl and let cool completely along with the crust, at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add 1 cup of coconut milk (the rest can be kept covered in your fridge for  later use), then add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until combined.

On the cooled crust, spread the pineapple mixture in a single layer, then top with spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture and spread even. Bake at 350F for approximately 40 minutes, until pie is completely set. Cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then cover and chill for 4 hours.

Just before serving, beat the chilled whipped cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters until stiff peaks form. Swirl in remaining coconut milk. Top the pie with the whipped cream and garnish with toasted coconut, pineapple, etc.

To toast coconut, arrange on a baking sheet in a thin layer and bake at 350F for 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.

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Ghirardelli Chocolate Cream Pie

I just love a simple dessert… one you can whip up on a moments notice, one that requires a minimal of ingredients, and even better, one that doesn’t require turning on the oven! This pie is extremely easy yet wonderfully rich. It’s great served with a cup of strong brewed coffee and it’s the perfectly rich chocolaty dessert for a dinner party. It can be made “fat full”, light or fat free depending on the ingredients you buy and the taste never wavers.

  • 3 oz Ghirardelli semi-sweet baker’s chocolate
  • 1 tbsp half & half (or milk will work just fine)
  • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened (use regular, light or fat free, your choice)
  • 1 16oz container of Cool Whip (regular, light or fat free)
  • 1 graham cracker crust (regular or chocolate)

In a glass measuring cup, break up the chocolate pieces and add the milk/cream. Microwave on high for 30-45 seconds, or until chocolate melts. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl, put the softened cream cheese, add the melted chocolate and blend until smooth and well combined with electric mixer. Fold in the Cool Whip and combine well. Pour into graham cracker crust, top with chocolate shavings or pieces, and put in the freezer for at least 1 hour.

To serve, let soften just enough to slice. Serve with fresh brewed coffee for a perfect, chocolaty, rich dessert.

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookies

This has to be one of the easiest Christmas cookie recipes ever! They are delicious though, which makes it that much better that they are so easy to make.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 3oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • Candied cherries or toasted pecan halves for garnish
  • Dusting of powdered sugar (optional)

Cream the butter and cream cheese; slowly add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Add the flour and vanilla, mixing well with a large spoon. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 325F. Shape the dough into 1″ balls with your hands, and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Gently press a candied cherry half (red or green, or mix them up) or a toasted pecan half into the top of each cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cookie won’t take on much color on top, but will be golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. If desired, sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar.