This alphabet cream pie is a take on those popular letter/number tarts that are taking over the internet! This is two layers of shaped baked pie dough filled with a lemon vanilla bean cream cheese whipped filling and topped with fresh berries.
For the pie crust:
3 ½ cups (420 gm) all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons (12 gm) sugar
3/4 teaspoon (4 gm) salt
2/3 cup (135 gm) chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks, 170 gm) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
10 tablespoons (approximately) ice water
For the cream filling:
8 ounces (225 gm) regular cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup (150 gm) sugar
3 cups (680 gm) heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
To prepare the pie dough:
Give the dry ingredients a whiz in the food processor to combine.
Pulse in the shortening and butter, just until barely evenly dispersed and pea-sized clump exist throughout.
Begin adding ice water 2 tablespoons at a time until moist clumps begin to form. I typically use about 6 tablespoons of water.
Remove dough from food processor and separate in two round disks. Wrap in Saran wrap and chill for at least one to two hours prior to use.
To prepare the cream filling:
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and lemon zest together until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add a few tablespoons of the cream and beat to incorporate. Add a bit more cream and beat to incorporate. Once the cream cheese mixture is thick and liquidy, add the remaining cream and the vanilla, beating until thickened and stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use, but best used immediately.