Summer has finally made its way to the Netherlands! This means lots of ice cream, sun screen and sitting outside with a book. It also means there’s no way I’m going to put my oven on and actually bake something – and yet I have a recipe for you today. It’s a no bake cream cheese pie!
This pie, usually referred to as MonChou pie, is a bit of a classic in the Netherlands. It is made with Bastogne cookies, which I don’t think you can find outside of the Netherlands and Belgium, but these can easily be replaced with some other type of cookie made with caramelised brown sugar – or any other type of cookie you think might go well with cream cheese and fresh fruit (so, like, pretty much every cookie).
The classic MonChou pie uses canned cherries to top the cream cheese, but I figured I’d kick it up a notch by using fresh fruit – it is summer after all! I mainly used strawberries and also added some blueberries and raspberries, but you can use anything you like. I also added some lemon zest to the cream cheese mixture to give it that slight hint of tanginess.
The cream cheese/whipped cream mixture that forms the main part of this pie stays pretty soft, even after cooling it for several hours, so it’ll be a bit difficult to transfer the pieces to plates. In other words: it looks good as long as you don’t move it too much. Tastes absolutely delicious, though, no matter what form it’s in!
You’ll need… (for 8-10 pieces)
- 200 g Bastogne cookies (brown sugar, caramelised)
- 70 g butter
- 200 g cream cheese (MonChou) at room temperature
- 200 ml whipping cream
- Whip-It (whipped cream stabiliser – Klop-Fix for all you Dutchies)
- 80 g sugar + 2 tablespoons for the whipped cream
- 8 g vanilla sugar (1 packet)
- Zest of half a lemon
- 400-500 g fresh red fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- spring form tin (22 cm)
- baking parchment
- food processor or a towel and a rolling pin/something else to hit with
- a fridge
So, let’s get baking!
1. Make the pie crust The first thing you need to do is turn the cookies into fine crumbs. I used a food processor for this, but you can also use a clean towel and a rolling pin: wrap the cookies in the towel and hit it with the rolling pin until you’ve got nothing but crumbs. Now, melt the butter on the stove. When it’s completely melted, add the cookie crumbs to the butter and mix it through. Spread the cookie/butter mixture over the bottom of your spring form tin (which you’ve lined with parchment paper). Put the tin into the fridge so the crust can cool down.
2. Prepare the cream cheese filling Take a bowl and whip up the whipped cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and the whipped cream stabiliser (you can do without this, if you can’t find it). Whip until it’s stiff enough. Now, take another bowl and mix together the cream cheese, rest of the sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon zest. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and mix with a spoon or a whisk until it’s evenly combined.
3. Add filling to tin Take the tin with the pie crust out of the fridge and make sure it’s cooled (at least room temperature) before you add the cream cheese mixture. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust and then put the tin back into the fridge. Let it cool for at least 2 hours.
4. Prepare and add the fruit When your pie is ready to come out of the fridge, it’s time to prepare the fruit. Cut your strawberries in whichever way you like (I cut them in four pieces) and then top your pie with the strawberries, blueberries and raspberries – or any other fruit you’ve chosen. If you’re making the pie a few hours in advance, I recommend waiting with slicing and adding the fruit until just before you’re going to serve it.
The cream cheese/whipped cream mixture stays pretty soft, so you’ll definitely need to keep the pie in the fridge (especially in summer) until you’re ready to serve it.
Final tip: keep the pie on the bottom of the spring form tin – chances are it won’t keep its form if you try to transfer it.
And that’s it! Your own summer-y cream cheese pie with fresh fruit. Enjoy!