For a long, long time, carrot cake was my very favorite – I think it was because it has always been my mom’s favorite…
Recently I’ve been dreaming up a way to combine the earthy sweet of my great carrot cake fondness with the creamy texture of richly whipped cheesecake AND the dreamy crust of a gorgeously browned pie.

Spiced Carrot Cheesecake Pie-023

Mission accomplished.

These little medallions are out of this world.

And I had such a blast creating them in the kitchen.

The meditative motion of rolling out the dough…twisting and braiding and baking…all at once.

I think you’ll be pleased.
At least I hope so~

(Oh, by the way, I learned from the very best how to create pie crust – Random Order in PDX – but you can totally skip all the hard work and use prepared pie dough…it just won’t be as good).

Spiced Carrot Cheesecake Pie

Pie Crust:
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed (the butter needs to be ICE cold)
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
1/2 cup ice cold water

Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and shortening.
Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter and shortening into the mixture until it resembles coarse meal or pea-sized bits.
Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water– since the ice has melted a bit. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tbs. at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after each added Tbs. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps.
Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.
Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (and up to 5 days).
When rolling out the chilled pie dough discs to use in your pie, always use gentle force with the rolling pin. Start from the center of the disc and work your way out in all directions, turning the dough with your hands as you go. Roll into a standard 9″ pie crust size** (which means, slightly larger in order to push the dough up the sides and cover all surfaces). Once the two rounds are rolled out, you’re ready to go!

**FYI, feel free to form your pie crust into minis, as I did for this post. If you want one giant pie, keep the larger 9″ crust.

Lay the bottom crust(s) neatly in a glass pie plate.

Using a knife, thinly slice the remaining crust into 1/4″ ribbons (no need to measure). Using the ribbon strips three at a time, braid to form the crust edge ornamentation.
Ring the braid around the edge of the pie plate.

Cheesecake Filling:
8oz. organic cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 medium eggs
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
dash of salt
1/2 cup shredded organic carrots (yes, organic makes a difference…tastes WAY better)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, pie spice, and salt. Beat again until super smooth. Fold in the carrots.
Fill the pie crust with the filling and sprinkle with chopped almonds.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the edges are brown – or 20 minutes for four mini pies.

That’s it! They are almost too pretty to eat…but TRUST ME…you want to lick your lips silly after noshing on these delicacies.

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