Mom was the pie maker around home so when Frieda suggested a pie fundraiser for our local safe house, I was a little intimidated but we talked about it and decided to go for it. She worked at her parents bakery for many years so her confidence level was quite a bit higher than mine.
I wasn’t sure how it was going to work with both of us having little babies…trying to get the orders, let alone make the pies. We designed a poster with pretty pictures- included our names and numbers and hung them up around town. A few orders slowly drifted in.
One night about a week before the deadline I got a call from a woman requesting 36 pies! I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry, we were getting ourselves in deeper than we expected. I called Freida and practically screamed into the phone that we just got an order for not 1 but 36 pies! From there it just snowballed. Church ladies so kindly ordered their thanksgiving pies (thanks ya’ll!). Someone else from church generously donated 5 large boxes of apples. (Frieda and I had both prayed that we could find apples for a good price because with all the pies we were selling we knew it would cut majorly into our profit.)
Our two best sellers were the Caramel Apple (my personal favorite!) and the Pumpkin. We also offered Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pecan, Apple, and Blueberry. At the end of the day we sold 165 pies. About 3x the amount that my faith expected.
We still had one major issue. WHERE would we actually BAKE all these pies? The oven in my house is about the size of a microwave. Plus I don’t have large dishes and mixers to mix these huge amounts of fillings. Well, that need was met too. My in-laws happened to be traveling for the Holiday and so graciously allowed us to invade their home for a few hours. It was so perfect there. Thanks again Mom! I don’t think we could have done it without your well-equipped kitchen.
We started baking pies at 2:51 A.M. Thats right, I said A.M.! In case you didn’t catch it, I’m talking in the middle of the night. Blood shot eyes and all. These pies were gonna be made fresh. We worked hard. We had some great help. (Thanks Naomi, Laura, Jimia….and Clayton!) We raised money for a great outreach but I have to say I’m glad I don’t have to think about pies for a while, at least that amount of pies until next year….. as I was writing this, a neighbor stopped in to ask if we are making more pies for Christmas. She loved them so much and was hoping for more! =) Frieda? Just kidding. I’ll be headed to see my family. Yay!
All that to say, a few people requested this recipe so I decided to post it here. Its been a family favorite for years. This makes three low rise pies but if you’re using deeper pans than I would suggest making two with this amount of filling.
The Vanilla topping is optional but adds a delicious twist. Happy baking!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
- 3 unbaked pie shells
- 2 pkgs (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp flour
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp lemon zest (or juice)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 eggs, whisk with fork in small bowl
- 4 cups pumpkin puree
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- In mixer, whip softened cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar. Scrape sides of bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Pour into 3 prepared pie crusts. (If using deep pie pans, make 2.)
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until almost set. Let cool completely.
- Whipped Vanilla Frosting: (Or garnish with whipped cream!)
- 1 small package instant vanilla pudding
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar (less if you don’t like sweet)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Whip all frosting ingredients until smooth. Just before serving spoon mixture onto pies. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Slice and enjoy!