Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blast from the Past: 1960s Borden’s Cherry-O Cream Cheese Pie

A boy doesn't have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn't like pie when he sees there isn't enough to go around. – Edgar Watson Howe 

Just like I remember. Mmmmmm...
I doubt there’s many people in North America who didn’t enjoy this recipe in the 1960s or 1970s. It’s still a favourite today, although recipes do have a way of “mutating” over time. My mother still makes it occasionally from memory. It’s a bit of a search to come by the actual original recipe.

I would imagine that, from time to time, you crave it. I did the other night and went to the grocery to see if they had something even close. They sort of did, but I wasn’t willing to pay for it. First it was a cheesecake (baked), second it was only about 7 inches wide, third it was frozen, and fourth, they wanted over $8. 

No way. I’ll make my own, better pie. Thank you very much.

The author of the recipe. Photo: Roadsidepictures, Flickr ccl
This recipe is direct from the horse’s (or in this case Cow’s) mouth. It is verbatim from a 1960s Borden’s magazine ad. It was printed to promote two of their products, namely cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.

Part of the reason it became such a favourite is, besides the great taste, is that it’s a “no bake” cheese cake (or pie, in Borden wording). So it’s easier to make. All you need is a mixer, can opener and refrigerator.

Borden’s has been in existence for over 150 years. The company began when Gail Borden invented a “stable” milk product in 1856 to counter a lack of refrigeration. Borden’s is still in existence, selling sweetened condensed milk under the name “Eagle Brand.”

The recipe “makes a 9-inch pie or 7-8 servings.” My mother always makes it in a square pan, so that is what I will do. Old habits are hard to break… or is that bake? No, refrigerate!

1960s Cherry-O Cream Cheese Pie
Makes a 9-inch pie
This is the filling. It has 1/3 cup of lemon concentrate (not juice)
which I think is an ingredient that many people "forget" when
they make this recipe from memory.
1 (9-inch) crumb crust (see below) or
1 (9-inch) baked pastry shell
1 (8-oz.) package Borden’s Cream Cheese or Borden’s Neufchatel Cheese
1 1/3 cups (1 can) Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/3 cup lemon juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1  can prepared cherry pie filling (or Cherry Glaze)

1. Let cheese stand at room temperature until soft; beat until fluffy.
2. Gradually stir in Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.
3. Add lemon juice and vanilla extract; stir until blended.
4. Pour into prepared crust. Chill 2 to 3 hours before garnishing top of pie with Cherry Pie Filling or Cherry Glaze. 

If you want to get “fancy”– the Cherry Glze:
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup pitted sour cherries
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cherry juice

1. Blend sugar and cornstarch. 
2. Cook till thickened and clear, stirring constantly. 
3. Stir in a few drops of red food colouring if desired. Add cherries. 
4. Cool. Garnish top of pie.

It's easiest to make the crust in a food processor.
Photo: little blue hen, Flickr ccl
9” Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted

Mix together all the ingredients and press into a 9x9 square pan or 9” pie plate. Refrigerate before filling to allow the crust to “firm up.”


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