It was 1993. Janet Jackson’s Janet was playing on repeat in my adolescent ears. Snackwells were taking over. And I was desperately trying to figure out who the hell I wanted to be and what my body was doing.
I was a very uncomfortable teenager. Sometimes I felt cool and pretty. (I absolutely pretended to be.) But most of the time, I just wanted someone else to show me how to be those things.
The amount of hours spent replicating her video moves in her video outfits and video smiles in my cluttered bedroom mirror cannot be counted. I was inches and pounds away from being her, but Oh, i wanted it. Now that I’m a grownup (eh), I can recognize that I was not unlike every. single. teenage. girl. But at the time, I thought everyone had the handbook, and I was just fumbling through it all. With thick thighs and wobbly bits and chubby cheeks.
Enter the 90’s version of diets.
And I was INto it.
Fatfree everything. Over-sugared to compensate. Fake shit all the places. Just chemically produced breaths of what chocolate used to be in bright green boxes.
But to a lost little girl like me who just couldn’t stop eating, but wanted so very badly to look like Janet (or every lady that I studied in the Victoria’s Secret catalog that came to our house frequently), THIS was the answer.
So I ate me some Snackwells.
I listened me to some Janet.
And I danced my jiggly heart out.
And not a damn thing changed.
Enter this recipe.
I am a diehard cheesecake fan. It doesn’t even need to be awesome cheesecake, I don’t care. It’s the perfect dessert in my opinion. I’m super into it. So when this pie recipe came into my world during one of my many ‘diets’, I was ALL. In. I vividly remember tasting it, LOVING it, then asking what was in it (yogurt?! cottage cheese?!) and becoming rabid with the desire to make it always. As if (because it…wasn’t cheesecake…?) I could eat so much of it and be Victoria’s Janet.
I probably made this pie during my middle school years more than I did my homework.
A lot of things have changed since the early nighties. (thank the freakin’ land) But my love for this pie has not. I’ve made this for my family every Fourth of July since I’ve had one to make it for. I don’t love it now because it’s a replacement for anything,
I love it because of what. it. is.
This pie is just a really easy and light and lovely summer dessert. It’s a blended and sweetened yogurt and cottage cheese mixture, held together with gelatin, set inside a graham cracker crust. You can make it anytime, changing out the fruits for whatever is in season, but we love to have it this time of year when I can play with the reds and the blues of the berries.
It is so easy. So good. And I am so happy I went through all that body and diet shit to get to where I am today.
We all go through things that are painful. Weird things. Uncomfortable things. And THANK GOODNESS we do. Because if we didn’t have those hard times, we couldn’t appreciate the supremely good ones.
Now, if you’ll excuse me… I’m gonna have me some Yogurt Pie while I dance me to some That’s The Way Love Goes.
FOURTH OF JULY YOGURT PIE
. crust .
In a food processor, add the following…
- 2 sleeves graham crackers (18 whole crackers)
Blitz until made into crumbs, with no chunks present.
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Blitz again until the crumbs have moistened completely.
Dump into a deep dish pie plate.
Press down with your hands and up the sides as evenly as you can.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.
Allow to cool on a rack while you make the filling…
. filling .
In a blender, combine the following…
- 1 cup plain yogurt (nowadays I prefer using full fat or 2% greek yogurt)
- 1 cup cottage cheese (I don’t enjoy the flavor of skimmed cottage cheese, so I prefer full fat or 4% at the lowest)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- splash vanilla extract
Blend, starting slowly, until you achieve complete smoothness.
In the microwave (or stovetop if you’re nuke-phobic), heat the following to a steamy nature…
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1 pkg. plain gelatin
Add this melted and hot mixture to the dairy mix in the blender.
Blend again until fully mixed and smooth.
Pour into your prepared and cooled graham cracker crust.
Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes until half-set so you can add your berries.
Make whatever design you desire with whatever fruit you have.
Refrigerate again until fully set. This will happen in the next hour or so, but making a day in advance is totally cool.
Eat. Dance. Enjoy. Repeat.