Carrot Cake-Cheesecake Pie
With Sugared Cranberries, Lemon Snap and Toasted Pecan Crust, and Homemade Whipped Cream
How do you make your traditional Easter carrot cake even better? Bake it in a lemon snap cookie and toasted pecan crust, add a layer of light and fluffy ricotta cheesecake, top it with velvety homemade whipped cream, and jazz it up with sparkly sugared cranberries. That's how you make it even better 🤤 Although this Easter dessert is a bit of a process to make, the end result is absolutely worth it. All of the flavors and textures marry beautifully together without being sickeningly sweet and overly dense. So if you are a lover of carrot and cheesecake, give my Carrot Cake-Cheesecake Pie a go this Easter and enjoy watching your family and friends melt as they sink their teeth into this delightfully sweet and rich dessert.
Time: 180 minutes
Yield: 1-9" pie
Serving size: 1/16 pie slice
1-¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour, sifted
2 tsps kosher salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
3 cups carrots, grated
1 cup pecans, chopped
Zest & juice of 1 lemon
½ cup dried cranberries
15 oz part-skim ricotta, well drained
4 oz neufchâtel cheese, room temp & cubed
½ cup heavy whipping cream, room temp
2 large eggs, separated at room temp
Zest of 1 lemon Juice of ½ a lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
1-½ tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp kosher salt
25-30 Sweetzels Lemon Snaps
½ cup pecans, chopped & toasted
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground clove
¼ cup water
¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
6 oz fresh cranberries
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine ¼ cup water and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a boil and let it simmer on low heat for 3 minutes.
Stir in cranberries to fully coat in syrup mixture then remove from heat and stir 1 minute.
Remove cranberries with slotted spoon and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Allow the cranberries to completely dry for at least 1 hour.
Roll cranberries in batches in the remaining ¼ cup sugar to coat.
Lemon Snap and Toasted Pecan Crust
In a food processor, manually pulse about 4 or 5 cookies at a time until small crumbs form. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and repeat to the remaining cookies.
Heat a medium nonstick frying pan over medium heat and add the pecans. Spread the nuts evenly in the pan and allow them to sit for 10 to 15 seconds, then stir again. Keep stirring every 10 to 15 seconds for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the nuts become fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn on any hotspots! Remove from heat and transfer to a plate in a single layer. Allow to cool completely.
Once the pecans are cool, manually pulse them in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Transfer to the bowl with the cookie crumbs.
Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove to the cookie crumbs and mix to combine. Stir in the melted butter until well combined and all of the crumbles are moistened.
Transfer the crumbles to a 9-inch pie pan with a removable bottom and evenly press into the bottom and up the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to allow the crust to firm up for at least 30 minutes.
Carrot Cake Layer
Set an oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 300°F.
In the bowl of standing mixer, combine sugar, honey, applesauce, lemon juice and zest, and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Sift the flour by itself and then sift again with the remaining dry ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredient mixture gradually and beat at low speed for about 1 minute.
Fold in carrots, pecans, and dried cranberries until just combined.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and fill the crust a little less than halfway. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pie pan with a large piece of foil. Lightly cover the top. with foil and bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick is clean after inserting. NOTE: Covering with foil will help prevent the crust from over-baking during the first baking process.
Remove from the oven and uncover the foil. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Ricotta Cheesecake Layer
Keep the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
With a paper towel, remove any excess cookie crumbs from the food processor bowl and blade.
Using a sieve, sift together the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
Separate the eggs, placing the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer and the yolks in the food processor bowl. NOTE: Be careful not to get any yolks in the whites!
Add the sugar and vanilla to the food processor with the egg yolks and process on low until thick and yellow, about 1 minute. Add the ricotta and lemon zest and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. On low speed, add the neufchâtel cheese a few cubes at a time and process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
Using the whisk attachment on the standing mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Gradually fold the whites into the ricotta mixture and return to the bowl of the standing mixer.
On medium low speed, mix in the heavy whipping cream and lemon juice. Gradually mix in the flour mixture until just combined.
Pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the carrot cake and fill until just below the lip of the crust.
Fill a 9”x9” baking pan with about ½-inch of water and place on the bottom oven rack. Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until just set (it will be a pale yellow and jiggles slightly in the center).
Remove from the oven and allow to come to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Place the bowl of stand mixer in the freezer for at least 10 minutes.
Using the whisk attachment, beat the heavy whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the whipped cream to a pastry bag and pipe onto the chilled pie.
Garnish the finished Carrot Cake-Cheesecake Pie with sugared cranberries and serve.