Monday, November 30, 2009

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie
Dorcas Annette Walker

My most vivid holiday memories at my grandmother's house were of her enormous table filled to overflowing with all kinds of food as a traditional Dutch meal consists of seven sweets and seven sours. In fact the first time my husband encountered a Pennsylvania Dutch meal, he thought he had died and gone to heaven. All family visits were celebrated around a table laden with food. It wasn't until I was older and learned about our family history that I began to understand why food played such an important part of family gatherings. Each Thanksgiving our family has much to be thankful for.

My tenth great grandfather, Hans Landis, was beheaded for his faith in Zurich, Switzerland when he was seventy-two years old. His family fled Switzerland to Germany and then to Holland. My sixth great grandfather's family then immigrated to Pennsylvania in search of religious freedom. His son, Jacob Landis, helped build the Salford Mennonite Church and later the Franconia Mennonite Church. From humble simple beginnings meeting in homes and barns where for two centuries church services were conducted exclusively in German, both churches now have modern facilities with a large staff and several pastors to oversee congregations that number three to four thousand members.

My father, Samuel Landis, grew up speaking Pennsylvania Dutch, which is a dialect of high German. I grew up hearing Dad pronounce victory as "wictory", and welcome as "velcome" along with "very goot" instead of very good, no matter how many times my mother tried to correct his English. My Dad would also ask us to "pass him down the table the salt" or "throw him down the hall his hat". My English mother made sure that we children spoke only correct English. Today my father is buried with his ancestors at the Salford Mennonite church where the first old meeting house still stands.

My Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie, a recipe handed down from my grandmother, has a creamy smooth texture like a custard pie. At each holiday gathering of our family, I make up traditional Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pies. The one year I decided not to bother considering all the many other desserts we have and figuring that my family was tired of always eating cheese pies, my son-in-law wanted to know why there wasn't any Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie. My Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie takes only fifteen minutes to prepare and this recipe makes two pies.

Pennsylvania Dutch Cheese Pie

2 10-inch unbaked pie crusts
3 eggs
1 (16 oz) container of cottage cheese
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 1/2 c sugar
2 c milk
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
3 tb self-rising flour
pinch of salt

Separate and whip egg whites until stiff. In another large bowl beat together the cottage and cream cheese, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and flour with a little milk until smooth. Slowly add the rest of the milk. Fold in egg whites. Divide and pour into the two pie crusts. Bake at 350ยบ for one hour. Chill and serve!

Weekly tip: When making homemade pie crusts do up a couple extra crusts and freeze the unbaked pie crusts for later!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Blog at:


Leasmom said...

That looks beautiful!!

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Thanks- half the fun is photographing my food s well.
My pie is also delicious if you like cheese and custard type pies.

j said...

i grew up in harleysville, pa which is the community next to salford. there was a wonderful bakery in lower salford called the 'heritage bakery' and they made the most AMAZING cheese pies and lemon sponge pies. my mom always bought one of each, when my grandparents came to dinner, and to this day, when i think of cheese pie or lemon sponge pie, i immediately think of my grandparents. the bakery closed and its been years since i've had cheese pie. today, i was thinking about pie recipes for memorial day and i found your blog...i'm so excited to try your recipe!! thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Do you know any Detwilers from PA? I'm almost certain that you do.
I know some Landis' and Detwilers from Harleysville, PA. My husband was born in TN but his family moved to Lancaster, PA

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Wow! Talk about a small world.

Hope your cheese pie turns out great!

Happy cookin-