No-Bake Huckleberry Cheesecake Pie
In Canada, Thanksgiving always falls on the second Monday in October and this year it happened to be on October 14th, which is my dad's birthday. His favorite dessert is cheesecake topped with fresh huckleberries. In celebration of his birthday, a friend made this No-Bake Huckleberry Cheesecake Pie specially for him alongside a pumpkin pie, our traditional Thanksgiving dessert.
Huckleberries are very tasty, a little bit sweet and a little bit tart. I am very fortunate to live in southern British Columbia, an area abundant with loads of huckleberry bushes that are ripe for picking in late July. Huckleberry picking during the cool early mornings of summer is a common weekend activity among locals. Some people pick huckleberries for their own eating pleasure while others sell their berries for $75 to $100 a bucket.
I have very fond memories from my childhood of driving up the highway with my mom looking for a spot that hadn't been picked over yet and having a few fun misadventures along the way, including encountering a couple of startled deer and sleeping brown bears, getting lost and stumbling down a steep bank, dumping my entire bucket of precious berries.
When we would come home, our fingers and mouths would be stained purple and our tummies full from eating as many berries that went into our buckets. We would dump the huckleberries into a sink full of cold water, washing them one by one and picking out the few leaves and stems that snuck their way into our buckets. We would pig out on big bowls of fresh huckleberries with cream and a little sugar, make a batch of jam and pancake syrup, put them in pancakes and muffins, bake a couple of pies and use them as a topping on cheesecake and ice cream. In my opinion, they are one of nature's perfect summer foods.
Our friend had her own misadventures picking the berries for this pie; she too fell down a steep bank, but unlike me, she hung on to her bucket of berries for dear life and broke her arm in the process. On a different outing, she broke her prescription glasses in half. She shared this decadent huckleberry cheesecake pie with us on the promise that next summer, she will be buying a bucket from a roadside fruit stand instead of heading into the bush to pick her own.
*Update July 2014
A friend and I went huckleberry picking the other day and I made a batch of rich and creamy Huckleberry Cheesecake Popsicles along with a cheesecake pie, and they were amazing!
- Prep time: 30 min
- Cook time: 2 hours
- Ready in: 2 hours 30 min
- Yields: 8
Huckleberries are native to North America, found mainly along the eastern and western coasts during the months of July and August. If you are not lucky enough to live in area abundant with huckleberry bushes or to have a stock pile of them in your freezer, you can buy them year round from Amazon.com.
- 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 5 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 (8 oz) blocks cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 cups fresh or frozen huckleberries
- 3/4 water
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
You can also buy ready made huckleberry pie filling to use if you don't have access to fresh or frozen huckleberries.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter for 25 to 30 seconds. Add the graham crackers and brown sugar and stir all together.
- Press the mixture into the bottom and along the sides of a 9" deep dish pie dish. Place in the refrigerator and chill until firm.
- In a large bowl, blend the two packages of cream cheese and the lemon juice until softened with an electric hand mixer.
- Add the heavy whipping cream and continue beating until the mixture is thick and creamy.
- Add the sugar and beat until the filling is stiff.
- Pour the cream cheese filling into the chilled pie crust and place back in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
- In a medium sized saucepan, add the fresh or frozen huckleberries, sugar, lemon juice, corn starch and water to the pot and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Allow the huckleberry sauce to cool and place in the fridge to chill completely.
- Pour the cold huckleberry sauce over the prepared cheesecake when you are ready to serve and slice into eight individual pieces.
© 2013 Corrinna Johnson