This is the exact thing that these pies are called in my ultimate pie guide to life (Pie by Ken Haedrich, if you’re a new reader…and if so, welcome!) But friends, I am here to tell you: these are not just for the kids.
However, I do highly suggest this as a recipe to make (in part or full, depending on their age) with your kids, if you’re looking for delicious family bonding activities. Here’s what your mini cheesecake pies will look like this if you let a pair of enthusiastic two-year-olds decorate them.
We whipped up these delightful little concoctions over the past weekend, during a short vacation with my cousin’s family to the mountain town of Big Bear Lake, California. The recipe calls for individual store-bought graham cracker crusts. And, I can’t*. So I brought along the jumbo muffin tin and made my own. Grease the muffin tin well and they’ll slide out just fine. I wasn’t sure, but I tested it for you all and you’ve got the green light.
*See multiple other Peace of Pie posts where I enumerate the merits of homemade graham cracker crusts.
Here are some things I learned while making these pies.
- If you forget to pack brown sugar, you can make a fine graham cracker crust with regular sugar. It’s something I hadn’t done before. Brown sugar is much nicer because it’s a bit damper and stickier, which helps bind the crumbs together. But it isn’t essential.
- If you forget to bring an electric mixer, you can enlist someone with strong arms to whip the filling together. The hardest part is the cream cheese, even if softened. I do suggest using an electric mixer if you’re not at a remote cabin with limited options, this is definitely a last resort tip.
A valid question you could ask at this point if you’d like is, “Did you actually participate in the making of these pies at all, Jess?” Let’s just say it was a team effort, with myself, Levi, Pippa, and her buddy Jack all equally contributing to the creative process.
Here is the most aesthetically appealing photo you’ll find in this post. Pies prior to the toddler decorating party, with a delightfully colorful berry plate in waiting.
Next, an onslaught of cute photos of Pippa and Jack doing what they do best: pretending to decorate with berries while actually scarfing down berries. Okay, Pippa was a way worse offender here than Jack. While Jack was placing a blueberry directly into the center of each pie (with enough force to make the filling squish up towards the ceiling), Pippa was promising to “decorate” with each new berry while literally popping 3/4 of them into her mouth. SO many fakeouts.
The recipe contains numerous other suggestions for how to decorate these pies: Caramel-Nut, Candy Fantasy, Choco-Mallow. Anyone else starting to think about Cheesecake Factory? We kept it simple and fresh this time. What’s your favorite berry to pair with cheesecake? I’m a raspberry girl myself.
My pie-lovin’ heart was super happy to see these cute kiddos each enjoy half of one of the cheesecake pies they had “made themselves”. For those doing math at home, the four adults had no problem polishing off the other five mini pies later that evening. Like I said – not just for the kids.
What will you top your mini cheesecake pies with? Do you have a kid in your life who would love to bake and/or eat these? Lemme know because you know I loooove those sweet comments. And, happy fall to my fellow Northern Hemisphereans. Is it me or does a change in season feel especially good this year?