Carol’s Cream Cheese Pie

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in Desserts | 4 comments

Carol Farmer was at least 40 years older than I was but she became a good friend and relentless encourager to me when I was a young mother until her death 15 years ago.  We had very little in common—but I admired her willingness to let ‘her freak flag fly’.











In her 70’s and 80’s, Carol was a celebrated sight in trendy San Francisco restaurants flaunting fabulous hats and layers of  Bakelite deco plastic Lucite hinged bracelets and vintage jewelry.








She shared recipes with me for tried and true family dishes, which I recently found (sacredly saved), typed on her signature onionskin paper. Carol’s Cream Cheese Pie was a dessert I made repeatedly when the boys were young.  The silky creamy pie was an uncomplicated rendition; without the commitment of a large fancy cheesecake.  I lightened Carol's pie by using ingredients with less fat and  lovely results of which I know Carol would approve.  I have always used the food processor to make cheesecake; not only to make the graham cracker crumbs but also to whirl the filling quickly too.  Some believe the processor adds too much air—I say boo.








Combine the crumbs with the butter and sugar;










then press the crumbs evenly into a pie plate. Bake the crust for a few minutes while you prepare the filling.




































The pie bakes quickly and doesn’t even crack.















Crank up the oven; prepare the sour cream topping;










guild the lily and bake for another 5 minutes.









That’s it.







I had not made it in years—baking this pie to share with friends took me back to Walnut Street neighborhood potlucks in the 1970’s.  Too, too divine.

Carol’s Cream Cheese Pie


  • Crust
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • Filling
  • 1-pound light cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Topping
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Press crumb mixture firmly on bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake 6-8 minutes; cool slightly.
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. In a large bowl or bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, beat cream cheese, vanilla and sugar adding one egg at a time until smooth and creamy. Pour into crumb crust and bake 20-25 minutes until it just slightly quivers in the center. Remove from the oven; raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees and prepare topping. Stir together sour cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread topping on pie and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove, cool and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  3. Serves 8





  1. 5-21-2014

    I have a very similar cream cheese pie recipe, graham cracker crust and all! My sister~in~law mailed it to me when I lived in Fairbanks, Alaska, many years ago! Barry was drafted into the Army (1967-1969) We were married when he came home on leave in July of 1968. I still have the original recipe card she mailed to me from 1968, and use it often! It even has the sour cream topping, and never cracks! My family loves it too! When you say Walnut Street…was that in Walnut Park???

  2. 5-21-2014


    Thanks for sharing this great, easy to make recipe. Will definitely try it.

  3. 5-21-2014

    I remember Carol, Noel, and this pie very well. Carol was who I aspire to be in my fabulous years. Exactly as she was, unapologetic, secure in herself, and fierce. She was amazing, before it was cool to be different.

  4. 5-28-2014

    I agree: This is the best version of cheesecake. I’m going to recopy my sticky recipe card & re-title it Carol Farmer’s Cream Cheese Pie.
    Thanks for the “skinny” adaptation.

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