If you are looking for crowd pleasing, delicious and easy pie recipe, make this Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie. This beautiful pie do not require any pie pan, and yet you get a pretty attractive crust with a nice crimp edges. The pie is filled with a thin layer of cream cheese and topped with fresh sweet Strawberry. A stunning pie that not only looks beautiful but taste absolutely delicious. Summer just got better.
About This Recipe
- Ease in Making the Recipe: This is an easy one. It’s a free form pie, which means you can shape the dough manually whichever shape you want to. There’s no fuss on getting a perfect even shape, the rustic free form look is what makes this pie different from a regular pie that uses a pie pan. The pie crust dough is so easy to make. You can make it with or without food processor. The cream cheese filling is even easier to make, all you need to do is to mix all ingredients, you don’t even need a hand mixer for it. The toppings … so flexible! You can use any fresh berries or stone fruits or canned preserved fruits. There is so many ways to dress up this pie.
- Ingredients: The pie crust uses only 5 ingredients, all simple and basic. Just flour, butter, sugar, water and salt. The cream cheese filling is as simple as the pie dough. You will need cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract. The toppings, you can choose from any fresh berries, Peach, Apricot, Plums, Kiwi, Pear are just some of my favorite. You can also use canned preserved fruits, like fruit cocktails, Peach, Pear. You get what I mean, right?
- Texture, Taste & Flavor: The simple pie crust is creamy and buttery. The cream cheese filling is tangy and not too sweet. The combination of these 2 plus the fresh fruits on top are perfect. I love the thin cream cheese layer, it adds creaminess but it overwhelming. I am not a fan of thick cheese cake, I just find it too much and too overwhelming. This kind of pie, I can enjoy every bite of it and sometimes would even demand for a second slice.
- Make-Ahead: You can make the pie dough ahead of time and freeze it up to 3 months. If making just for few days ahead, I highly recommend to shape the pie dough, cover it tightly and freeze or refrigerate it. This skips the process of thawing it to be able to shape it when you want to use it. You can also make the cream cheese filling 3 days ahead, keep refrigerated until ready to use. On the day that you want to serve it, take the pie crust from the refrigerator or freezer and bake. You may need to add 3 – 5 more minutes in the baking time as the dough is chilled and hard. Assemble the pie and top with y our favorite fresh fruits.
Ingredients for Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Tart
- Pie Dough – You can use any pie dough you have. I have a recipe for all butter pie dough and that is what I used for this recipe. It is a 5 ingredients pie dough. You will need all purpose flour, butter, sugar, water and salt.
- Cream Cheese Filling – this is a mixture of cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla extract. It’s almost like a cheese cake mixture but with plain Greek yogurt. You can opt to skip the yogurt if you do not have it. You can also use sour cream in place of yogurt.
- Fresh Fruits – Berries are my favorite toppings for this tart. Strawberry is my first go to, but if they have different kind of berries on hand, I love using mix berries too. Peach is my next favorite one to use. Use fresh or canned but never use frozen.
How to Make Strawberry Cheese Tart
Make The Pie Crust
The pie crust is a simple 5 ingredients pie crust. I had been using this for almost all of my pie recipe and it always gave a stable, creamy and buttery pie crust. You can make this recipe using any homemade pie crust or store -bought pie crust too. Store bought pie crust tends to be too thin and have a tendency to fall apart easily so you may need 1 1/2 to make a thicker crust or just make your own, so easy.
Make-Ahead Pie Dough
The pie dough can be made as far as 3 months in advance, that far ahead! But because this pie dough is such an easy recipe, I often make this the same day I am using it or 1 -3 days ahead of time. If you are using it in the coming few days, say 3 days, make the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it refrigerated. I prefer shaping the pie dough or pressing it in a pie pan if I am using it for a traditional style of pie. This makes the process faster on the day that I am using it. If you keep the unshaped dough refrigerated, you have to take it out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using it so it is easier to roll and shape.
Make The Pie Dough Manually Without Electronic Equipment
I have a food processor and so I always use it when making pie crust but that doesn’t mean you cannot make it without a good processor. You can make this pie crust without any electronic equipment. Use a slightly soft butter, soft enough to manually mix to form a dough but not too soft that it is oily and melting. Grate the cold butter to bring it to even pieces and then mix with the rest of the ingredients. This makes the manual mixing easier. You will feel the mixture coming together until it starts to clump together to form a dough ball. You can also use the butter straight out from the refrigerator and grate it. It will take few more minutes to make it come together to form a dough but it will. Just continue mixing using your hands. The warm on your hands will soften the butter and will help it stick to the flour to form a dough.
Alternative to Pie Dough
Make the pie into a tart by simply changing the based crust. I made this before using my Almond Tart Crust and Shortbread Tart Crust and they taste amazing! I have a recipe in my website, click HERE to see it. You can also make it ahead of time just like the pie crust dough.
Free Form Pie Dough
The beauty of this recipe is that don’t need any pie pan to make it. That’s why it’s called free form pie. You shape the pie dough manually in any shape and size that you like. You can design the edges to whatever you like too. I use a simple crimping on the edges to make a border. I used my fingers to create the design. You can also make it plain and just make a thick border/edges. This is important to block the cream cheese filling from oozing out. You need a high edge to act as barrier.
Make The Cream Cheese Filling
The cream cheese filling is a simple mixture of softened cream cheese, plain Greek yogurt, egg yolk and flavoring. You can use pure vanilla extract which is the easiest common option. I made this before using cardamom powder, you can even use Cinnamon powder when making it for a Fall pie variation. It depends on what toppings you want to use. This recipe uses fresh Strawberry but other berries and stones fruits like Peach and Apricot will work great too.
Assemble the Pie
There are 3 layers in this pie. The Pie crust as base, the cream cheese filling as the middle layer and the fresh fruits as the top layer. Make sure that the baked pie is completely cooled down before adding the fresh fruits on top. This is to avoid the fresh fruits from releasing juice thus making the pie watery. This is the time that you can be creative. Have fun and decorate as you please. You can even use mix berries and stone fruits all in one, like a Summer feast pie.
A little touch of gloss on top
For a shiny glossy top, brush the top with juice from the jam. Strawberry jam will fit well because we are using fresh Strawberry but any other jam will work just fine. Another option is to use melted and cooked gelatin. Brush the mixture while still warm. Once it gets completely cooled, it will solidify. But in the end, it will work just fine with or without the glaze. The glaze helps to keep the fruits looking great as it protects it from browning and drying.
Success Tips in Fresh Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
- Use only fresh fruits or canned preserved fruits. Never use frozen as this will make the pie watery
All Butter Pie Crust
- 1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted Butter
- 1 tablespoon granulated Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 2 – 3 tablespoon ice COLD Water
- 4 ounces Cream Cheese
- 2 tablespoon Sour Cream or Plain Greek Yogurt
- 3 tablespoon granulated Sugar
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
Fruit Toppings Options (Use Fresh Fruits):
- Strawberry 🍓
- Blueberry 🫐
- Mix Berries
- Peach 🍑 Apricot or Plum
- Kiwi 🥝
- Make the Pie Crust: Mix all ingredients in a food processor until it clumps together and forms into a dough. Roll in a floured surface and shape into a 9-inch size. Fold at least 1-inch of the edge towards the center. This will make a thick border. Use your fingers to crimp the edges. Aim for a thicker and higher edge as this will block the filling from oozing. Using a fork, poke hole a cross the top. Freeze for at least 30 minutes.
- Make Ahead Tip: At this stage, you can leave this in the freezer up to 3 months. Make sure to tightly wrap it before freezing. No need to thaw when ready to use.
- Pie Crust dough can also be made ahead. If using the following day, simply wrap and refrigerate. Take the dough at least 30 minutes before using so that is is easy to shape. To make the process easier, I recommend shape the dough, wrap it and freeze or refrigerate.
- Bake the Pie Crust: Bake at the pre-heated 350F oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. If you have a softened cream cheese, you do not even need a mixer to do this step. Take the cream cheese ate least 30 minute – 1 hr before using so that it gets soft at room temperature. This will make the mixing easier.
- Fill the Pie with the Cream Cheese Mixture: Spread the cream cheese filling on top of the pie crust.
- Return to the Oven: Bake for another 20 – 25 minutes or until the cream cheese filling is set.
- Cool Completely: Cool completely at room temperature and then refrigerate at least 30 minutes to 1 hr. At this stage, you can leave this overnight at the fridge and add the toppings the day you are serving it.
- Top with Fresh Fruits: I used Strawberry for this pie but any berries, combination of berries or stone fruits will work too. Use only fresh or preserved fruits. Do NOT use frozen as that will make the pie watery.
- Brush Top with Jam Sauce: For a nice glossy finish, brush the top of the fruits with jam, or pour a light coating of dissolved and cooked gelatin on top.
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