It’s the 4th of July. There will be barbecues and picnics and family and desserts. And it’s hot. Most of the food can be grilled outside, but you really don’t want to turn the oven on to make those desserts. I’ve got a yummy no-bake refrigerator pie that is perfect for this situation. This is a pie from my childhood and I can’t remember a family Independence Day gathering without it. My mother was wrangling four kids, making all that food, and ready for some short-cuts when it came to dessert. This pie is EASY. If you can operate a hand mixer, you can make it. I’m not even sure you need the hand mixer!
Cream Cheese and Lemon Pie with Berries Recipe
Graham Cracker Crust Ingredients
(Easy-Peasy Cheat! Buy a ready-made graham cracker crust!)
- 10 sheets of graham crackers (1 1/2 cups)
- 6 Tablespoons melted butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Pie Filling Ingredients
- 12 oz cream cheese (1 1/2 package) softened
- 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pie Topping Ingredients
(Easy-Peasy Cheat! Buy a can of cherry or blueberry pie filling)
- Fresh Strawberries and Blueberries (or berries of your choice)
FYI – the fresh berries are my substitution – Mom always just used a can. I love fresh berries and think the pie is still yummy without the extra sugar. If you want to keep the fresh berries but can’t stand the thought of passing on that extra sugar you can the glaze the berries. Just sprinkle a little sugar over them and let them sit in the fridge while the pie is chilling. The natural juices from the berries will combine with the sugar to form the glaze.
Make the Crust
(If you bought a crust – skip this step!)
Put your graham crackers in the food processor or blender and whir until they are crumbs. Gadget challenged? Stick them in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling-pin.
Stir the crumbs, melted butter and sugar together in a bowl until it all starts to sort of hold together. Then press it into your pie pan. When I say press, I mean really press. I like to put a piece of plastic wrap over it to help smooth it out and keep from getting my hands as greasy. If you want, you can use the bottom or side of a small cup to help you press. It will be crumbly at first, but keep pressing the bottoms and up the edges until you have something that looks like a crust. Now stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours to set.
Make the Pie Filling
Put the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until it is fluffy. Add in everything else and beat until well blended.
Pour in the crust and put in the fridge for at least three hours. Overnight is better.
A little note here – I actually modified this recipe from the original, which called for 8 oz (1 pkg) of cream cheese. I find that version really sweet. The extra cream cheese also helps the pie set a little firmer. On the other hand, I’ve never seen any leftovers once the old version went on the table. My point is you can experiment a little with the ratios.
Top the Pie
Seriously, you need instructions for this? If you got the strawberries and blueberries and are way more artistic than I am, you can probably make something very patriotic-looking with stars or stripes or something. I generally just jumble them on top because, duh, red-white-and-blue pie already. Ta-da! I’m a patriot!
If you got the pie filling, just dump it on top. Mom always used cherry – red-white-and-use-your-imagination.
That’s it. You have pie!
Keep the pie in the fridge except when serving.