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Cherry-O-Cream Cheese Pie

Another classic from the back of a can, this one is perfect as is.  Tart pie cherries give the perfect balance of tart and sweet.  I would substitute dried sour cherries if necessary but not bother with sweet cherries, blueberries, or other not-tart-enough fruits that just don't hold their own against the very rich filling.  

Canned cherry pie filling is suggested as an alternative in the original recipe, but these days they're so full of filler and so light on cherries, mostly, that I would combine at least two cans of filling and drain or strain off some of the excess glop before topping the pie.

1 9-inch graham cracker crust

8 ounces cream cheese

1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanill 

Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.  Add the sweetened condensed milk while beating, and stir in the lemon and vanilla.  Continue to beat until it is completely smooth.   Pour into the prepared shell and chill 2-3 hours before topping.

Cherry Topping

1 16-ounce can of tart pitted cherries, or 1 cup of dried tart cherries, soaked 30 minutes in water to cover 

3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup cherry juice/soaking water

Drain the cherries and reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid.

Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and stir in cherry juice.  When smoothly mixed, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and lowering the heat as it comes to a boil.  Stir until it is clear and smooth; it will thicken as it cools.  Add the drained cherries, and spread over the chilled pie.  Chill again briefly to set the topping, and then serve.


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