Last week my father-in-law visited our home in Texas all the way from his home in Maryland. He is our first Maryland visitor since we moved here from Maryland a little over a year ago. My husband, kids, and I were all thrilled and couldn't wait to show him around our little corner of the Lone Star State and introduce him to some authentic and regional fare. My husband graciously treated his dad to kolaches, barbecued beef brisket, and queso. I, however, chose to introduce him to a food of real significance, Blue Bell ice cream.
I must admit that prior to moving to Texas I had never heard of Blue Bell, but it sure didn't take long. My husband's co-workers, acquaintances from church, and even strangers in the grocery store all raved about this frozen delight. At first I was skeptical. I've had Breyer's, Edy's, and Ben & Jerry's. What's so special about this Blue Bell? Considering the fact that the temperatures were in the triple digits the first few weeks after we arrived my family and I were more than willing to try a bit and see for ourselves what all these Texans were raving about.
Oh, my! Blue Bell ice cream did not disappoint. My family and I started by sampling the company's most popular flavor "Homemade Vanilla" and have been huge Blue Bell fans ever since. The texture is creamy and smooth, the flavors are unique and intense, and the quantity is still a half gallon, which I didn't realize until Blue Bell so kindly pointed it out, is not the case with most other ice cream brands. Now whenever Blue Bell ice cream is on sale or when we are having out-of-town guests we stock up on flavors such as Dutch Chocolate, Southern Blackberry Cobbler, Moo-llennium Crunch, and, of course, Homemade Vanilla.
So you might be thinking, "What does any of this have to do with Lemon Cheesecake Pie?" Well, just giving my father-in-law a bowl full of Blue Bell ice cream was not enough for me, so I took him to their factory in Brenham, Texas. It was fun, informative, and sweet! My father-in-law, my kids, and I all loved it. We ended the tour at the Blue Bell gift shop. Already extremely satisfied, I was beyond thrilled to spy "The Best Recipes in the Country" a cookbook filled with recipes from Blue Bell employees. I couldn't wait to get home and peruse it.
The first thing I made from my new cookbook was the Lemon Cheesecake Pie. I served it to my family, my father-in-law, and a few friends we had over for dinner. It is amazing! The lemon flavor is bright and the texture is smooth. It is easy to prepare and this pie can be made up to a day in advance. I will surely make Lemon Cheesecake Pie again and I can't wait to try many more recipes from my new Blue Bell compilation cookbook.
Lemon Cheesecake Pie
from "The Best Recipes in the Country" the Blue Bell cookbook
1 1/2 cup (12 ounce can) evaporated milk, undiluted
1-3 1/2 ounce package instant lemon pudding
2-8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1-6 ounce can) frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
1 graham cracker crust
1 cup (8 ounce) whipping cream, whipped
In a small mixing bowl, combine evaporated milk and pudding mix; beat 2 minutes; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light. Gradually add lemonade concentrate; continue beating until smooth, light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Fold pudding mixture into cream cheese mixture; blend thoroughly. Pour filling into crust; chill 3 to 4 hours, or overnight. Top with whipped cream; decorate as desired.