70s Week: Terrific Women Make Cottage Cheese Pie

We hardly ever indulged in sweets back in 1974. We didn’t need the sugar since we could just as easily get our fix from one of the sweet liqueurs being passed around the lunch table. That’s probably one of the reasons this pie doesn’t taste very good. When a person doesn’t like desserts, they aren’t likely to make good ones.

140413 Terrific Women 1357

All is not lost for this pie though. What it lacks in flavour, it makes up for in thrifty convenience, which is the only thing that mattered when entertaining with Linda and Joy. The other huge benefit to making this pie is that the whole thing can be made in the Osterizer blender because it’s the only one with innovative blend settings, such as stir, crush, and blend, all at varying speeds, carefully labeled so you know which one to use and when. The settings make all the difference and those other unsophisticated blenders out there on the market can’t compare. I’m looking at you, Vitamix. That’s right, using an Osterizer blender will mean this pie comes out luxuriously smooth, so smooth in fact that’s where we found this next collection of photos of the Terrific Women, in Roberta Flack’s super-smooth album, Killing Me Softly.

140413 Terrific Women 1365

Cottage cheese—along with the ground ham Joy favoured and Linda’s flavour extender cooking-crutch—was a real Terrific Women stand-by. It was a powerhouse of the kitchen, excellent in savoury jell-o molds, cheesy lasagnas, and of course mixed into Joy’s famous canned salmon salad. When they weren’t cooking with it, they would often make beauty masks from it, mixing in a little bit of French dressing, which would stain their skin to give them a subtle orange glow, making it look like they’d spent the entire day at the beach.

140413 Terrific Women 1382

This week has been an absolute blast and we’re sad to have it end. We’re both so grateful to Linda and Joy, as well as the amazing camera operator and film editor Tristan Gough, and producer of Terrific Women, Laura Pharo. Tristan and Laura worked behind-the-scenes like me and Jen but often went far and beyond the call of duty—as you can imagine, working with Linda and Joy took some special handling.

140413 Terrific Women 1437

As you’ll see in the clip below, shooting didn’t always go as planned and when things went awry, Linda and Joy had a tendency to get frazzled. Often after one of their spells, Laura would sit with Joy and macramé an animal to calm her down, while Tristan applied a booze bandage to Linda’s attitude. This would occur often enough that Jen and I could go off on long breaks to the nearest roller rink mid-day for an hours-worth of funky tunes and chill skating. We got so good at it that we won the Toronto Roller Skating Championships of ’76!

140413 Terrific Women 1466

We hope you’ve enjoyed all the little snippets and glimpses into our past lives! 40 years in the business has given us a plethora of stories to tell so once our stomachs settle from all this superb grub, maybe we’ll revisit some of our other odd jobs we’ve taken on. Now let’s give 70s Week the send-off it’s deserves with this Cottage Cheese Pie!

Cottage Cheese Pie

2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg yolks
1 envelope unflavoured gelatine
1/4 cup hot milk
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups creamed cottage cheese
1 prepared graham cracker crumb crust
1 small can of mandarin oranges, to garnish

Combine the lemon juice, egg yolks, and gelatine into a blender. Cover and process at the “stir” setting a few seconds, then remove the feeder cap and gradually pour in the hot milk and sugar. Replace the cap and process for about 1 minute until the gelatine is fully dissolved. Stop the blender and add the cottage cheese. Return the lid and push the “blend” button, processing until smooth and well blended. Pour into prepared crust and chill until set. Garnish with slices of canned mandarins.

140413 Terrific Women 1251

Cheesecake with a Coconut Crumb Crust

Cheesecake with a Coconut Crumb Crust

This cheesecake is perfect without any topping. That said, there are some people out there that can’t have cheesecake without a topping. They might look at a plain cheesecake as naked and unfinished, having never reached its full potential. In this instance they’ll be wrong but to avoid tears over cheesecake at the table, serve this cheesecake with the lime slime on the side. On Halloween of course, the slime is mandatory for everybody.

This cheesecake recipe was so close to being gluten-free from the start that it only made sense to make it 100% gluten-free. This was completely to my benefit, not because I’m gluten intolerant but because Jen is and there was no way I was going to have to take home a cheesecake to eat by myself after a shoot full of desserts, some of which Jen couldn’t eat. Two days after the shoot she sent me an email to say that she’d eaten three quarters of my “STUPID DUMB CHEESECAKE”. Making someone else fat, is in my books, a success.

Cheesecake Recipe with a Coconut Crumb Crust

Makes one 8″ round cheesecake, serves 1-8

For the crust crumb**:
40g coconut flour
25g runny honey
35g unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the cheesecake:
unsalted butter (for greasing)
3 x 250g packages cream cheese at room temperature
zest from half a small lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
210g granulated sugar
125ml whipping cream (35% M.F.)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
50ml half and half (10% M.F.)

In a frying pan, add the coconut flour and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly for approximately 5-10 minutes, until the flour is a medium golden brown, reminiscent of graham crackers. Do not over toast. Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the toasted flour into a small mixing bowl. Add the rest of the crumb ingredients to the bowl and combine using a fork, until thoroughly mixed through.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment, so that the paper reaches just above the rim of the base. Now butter the top of the parchment layer. Next wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of aluminum foil so that the layers reach the top of the pan. At this point you should have all the assurance you need that the filling will not seep out and the water bath will not seep in. Sprinkle the inside of the prepared pan with the crumb, creating an even layer of crumb along the bottom and sides.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and whipping cream and continue to beat until just incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure to incorporate each egg fully before adding the next. Beat in the half and half. The goal is to incorporate as little air as possible into the mix, eliminating much chance of the cake rising during baking and falling during cooling.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Set the filled pan into a larger pan (a 9 x 13 inch pan works well) and fill the larger pan with boiling water, enough so the water reaches just under the half way mark on the outside of the 8-inch pan. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the centre of the cake is just set. Take the pan from the water bath and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before unmolding. Allow to cool completely before serving.

*If you’re not in the mood to make gluten-free crumbs for the crust, you can substitute about 40g of store-bought graham cracker crumbs.

*If you want a more traditional bottom layer crust, double the crumb quantities and add an additional 80g of unsalted butter (for a total of 150g). Press this crumb into the bottom of the prepared pan and proceed.