Technology has so overtaken their existence its almost as if we will cease to exist without the gadgets. Teens no more do the things we used to, they hang out on the gadget, their fingers and eyeballs the only parts of their bodies that move. “But I do read , Mom” he says it in response to my “dark look of disapproval”. Yes he does, that too, on a gadget. Come on folks whatever happened to good old books…dog-eared, dusty, and comfortingly familiar. And what happened to my childhood pass-times. I spent hours in the company of a pair of scissor, glue and paper, colour pencils which were reduced to a stub and pens which dried out from overuse. Creative that’s what we were. Creative, thats what my fellow Daring Bakers are. We are a bunch of people who challenge each other to think, innovate, twist the recipe around yet sticking to the broad out-line. Yea, yes we use technology and gadgets but that’s to keep us connected not distanced from reality and real people.

Old-school? Yes that’s me….if I can do it from scratch I will do it….even though the effort may be a foolish waste of time. That’s the way I tackled this challenge, a crumble, a cheesecake, a pie, all made from scratch….the cream cheese too!

Blog checking lines: For the month of November Krista & Nicole of “Two Cups of Sugar.” challenged us to make our own version of cheesecake crumble pie.

Cheesecake Crumble Pie….It is such an innovative idea, though a bit over the top. The pie is a speciality of a bakery in their hometown which makes Cheesecake Crumble Pies and the sisters rightfully judged that this group of bakers were the ultimate guinea pigs (LOL)!!

There is a savoury and a sweet version of the crumble pie and I made both for 2 reasons I couldn’t decide between the 2 and secondly senior likes savoury and junior likes both 🙂

There are 3 elements to be prepared, the pie crust, the cheesecake and the streusel or crumble on the top.

I decided to go homemade all the way and made my cream cheese at home too (recipe after this post). That left me feeling so fulfilled in ways I can’t explain, that an extra piece of cheesecake was gulped down without guilt (the cream cheese is low fat after all)


The pies turned out beautifully and junior, senior and all in-between were happy. The savoury pie to which I added corn and spinach (to give an illusion of “healthy”) was almost like a quiche but richer. I topped it with a mix of crushed crackers, melted butter and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.

The sweet version was yummm too and the cheesecake was the right sweetness. I added choco-coffee swirls and topped it with a mix of oats, honey, a tablespoon of flour and butter.

Then what is it that bothered me??? The pie crust!! I wasn’t happy with it. Shortening !! I don’t use it often or at all. The pie crust was tough and greasy and the taste and texture left a lot to be desired. Maybe I didn’t do it write or maybe I over-worked it…… you can use your own pie crust recipe or try this out. I wonder why a short crust pastry wasn’t used.


The next time I would go with a short crust pastry or my favourite biscuit crust (old school???). Initially I resisted the idea of the crunchy topping but it added character to the pie and it is an innovative way to turn your cheesecake on its head. A friend who tasted it said that the topping cuts through the rich, smoothness of the cheesecake. My homemade cream cheese ensured that the pie wasn’t sickeningly heavy, so mom and son had big, guilt free portions.

All in all I would give a big thumbs up to the Cheesecake Crumble Pie and if I had to do it again it would be with a biscuit crust and maybe the crunchy topping as a side. My mantra- if I can bake it, I won’t buy it (ever)!!  🙂



(New York Cheesecake)- Serves 8-10

Recipe 1: Pie Crust

To fit 1 Pie Dish of 9” diameter Preparation time: 10 minutes Baking time: 13 minutes



1 ¼ cups /175g all-purpose (plain) flour

¾ tsp fine salt

6 Tbsp / 77g shortening, cubed

1 ½ Tbsp / 21g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed or grated

6 – 7 Tbsp / 90 – 105ml ice water

  • Sift together flour & salt. Add in shortening and butter and mix by rubbing mixture between your hands until it resembles a coarse meal/ bread crumbs. Do not leave big pieces of shortening as they melt during the baking process and create tiny hole in the pastry
  • Sprinkle 6 Tbsp / 90ml of ice water over the mixture and blend gently by hand or with a fork until it holds together. If mixture is not holding together add additional an additional 1 Tbsp of ice water as necessary. Add a little at a time. Too much water causes the pastry to shrink.
  • Shape dough into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes.


  • Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C


  • Lightly flour working area and roll out dough into a round 1.5” larger than the pie pan.
  • Gently place in pie pan and cut away the excess dough. Prick the dough several times with a small knife or fork and fill with beans, baking weights or an 8” / 20cm cake pan to help keep shape during baking.

Bake for 9 minutes. Remove weight/cake pan and bake for an additonal 3 – 4 minutes until edges of crust are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.



Recipe 2:

New York Style Cheesecake (Sweet)

Servings: fills a 9” / 23cm pie + a little extra


450g cream cheese

¾ cup / 150g white sugar

½ tsp grated lemon zest

¼ tsp vanilla

2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk

¼ cup / 60ml heavy cream

For the Chocolate CoffeenSwirl- melt together 40 grms dark chocolate +20 grms butter over a double boiler. Remove from heat once it has melted. Stir and add in 2 heaped tablspoons of almond meal and 1 teaspoon instant coffee. I also add 2 teaspoons of Tia Maria. Leave to cool and proceed with the cheesecake.

  • Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 220°C.
  • Beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides and add sugar gradually while beating until smooth (about 1 – 2 minutes).
  • Beat in lemon zest and vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • Beat in eggs one at a time until incorporated. On low speed, beat in heavy cream.
  • Pour filling into prepared crust.




  • Splatter or dot top of cheesecake with the chocolate coffee mix. Swirl it around gently with a butter knife or toothpick. You just want swirls of brown chocolate and not a light brown cheesecake. You may not need all the choc-coffee mix. Use it sparingly (5-6 tablespoons max)


  • Bake for 15 minutes at 220°C. Top with crumble (see recipe 3) and return to oven at reduced temperature of 100°C and bake for 50mins-1 hour more. Turn the oven off, prop the door ajar with the handle of a wooden spoon, and let the cake cool in the oven for 30 minutes.


  • Remove to a rack and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.



Recipe 3: Crumble (Sweet)


½ cup oats

2 tablespoons Chopped Nuts

25 grms Butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Brown Sugar

½ tsp. Cinnamon

Pinch of salt

Melt the butter on medium heat.

Add the honey and turn off the heat.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.



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