Liddie’s Traditional New Mexican Dishes: Raspberry Cream Pie

Susan S. Johnson

Video detailing how to prepare raspberry cream pie. Video by Liddie Martinez

Raspberry cream pie. Photo by Liddie Martinez

Española Valley

For many families in northern New Mexico, a summer trip to Mora to go pick raspberries is a time-honored tradition shared generation after generation. Those memories of coming home with baskets of fresh berries and making jam or freezing those jewels for use later enters my brain when I see the fruit displayed at the grocery store and it is still a common practice in many northern New Mexican households. 

Can you remember singing in the car to mom and dad’s favorite tunes as you traveled those back roads.  Hearing an old Hank Williams or Lynn Anderson tune still transports me to the old days in our old station wagon and those day trips to special places all across New Mexico. We would sing and snack and listen to Grandma talk about old times and how they traveled by buggy to visit distant cousins in neighboring communities. It often mandated an overnight stay for them and they would gather around the woodstove and tell stories of their own about the SPMDTU dances in El Rito and snow storms that made roads treacherous.

It is at Valentine’s Day that those berries make their grand debut from my freezer. It is the perfect time to make or bake something special for the loved ones in our lives and raspberries are a perfect treat in the icy cold weather of February. While I also make this cream pie in summer when berries are fresh, the recipe is very flexible and frozen berries work just as well. If you have a comal, try using it to bake the pastry shell. Cast iron is the perfect medium for pastry baking and the shell will be light and flaky and lift right off the pan without damaging it.

Also, you can easily buy canned whipped cream for a short cut but whipping fresh cream is really a snap and the difference in flavor is well worth the effort. This cream tart will be slightly tart with a sweet and creamy topping that is the perfect finish to any romantic dinner. While raspberries do fine on their own, this recipe can also be adapted to use mixed berries so add back berries or blueberries if you want to experiment. Just make sure the pastry crust is completely cool before assembling and allow at least two hours to chill and set in the refrigerator before serving.

Pastry Crust (SINGLE CRUST)

1 ¼ cups    flour

½ tsp.         salt

⅓ cup         cold butter cut into pieces

Ice water

Combine four and salt. Cut butter into flour mixture using a pastry knife until it resembles coarse sand.  Add cold water a little at a time raking open fingers through four until moistened enough to form a dough ball. Do not knead. Be careful not to add too much water; you do not want it to be sticky. Form into a dough ball and cover with a tea towel and refrigerate for at least 25 minutes.

Pre-heat oven to 425°. Roll out round pastry on a floured surface and line comal or tart pan trimming excess pastry to ½ inch of overhang. Tuck extra pastry under to create a lip and flute edges. Prick all over with a fork and line with parchment paper then fill with dry beans or weights. You will be blind baking the crust as the filling does not require baking. Bake pie crust at 425° for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Cool on rack.

Berry Compote

2 pints  raspberries or mixed berries fresh or frozen

¾ cup    sugar

¼ cup    orange juice

2 tsps.   Pectin

Combine berries, sugar and juice in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium eat then reduce to low heat. Simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until the berries collapse stirring frequently and gently smashing the berries against the side of the pan with the back of your spoon. Remove from heat.

Push berries through a sieve removing all seeds from puree. Return to heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium low heat stirring in the pectin. Stir constantly until it thickens about 2-4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Reserve 4 Tablespoons of Berry Compote to use in filling and cream. Spread evenly on the bottom of the cooled pie shell using the back of a spoon.

*Note: you can make this ahead of time and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Berry Pie Filling

1 package (8 ounces) Cream Cheese, room temperature

1 cup       Confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup      Sour cream

2 Tbsps.  Berry Compote

2 Tbsps.  Honey

Beat the cream cheese for a few minutes alone then add remaining ingredients to the bowl and cream together with hand mixer until smooth and fluffy. Carefully spoon filling over compote and spread carefully. Try not to disturb the berry compote beneath.

Whipped Cream

1 cup     Heavy Whipped Cream

½ tsp.    Vanilla

2 Tbsps. Sugar

2 tsps.   Berry Compote (optional)

Using a hand mixer, beat cream with vanilla adding sugar a little at a time until the cream forms stiff peaks and is thick. Fold in the berry compote and fill a piping bag with a stat tip. Pipe over filling in a nice pattern and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. You can drizzle with chocolate syrup or add chocolate shavings if desired.

Editors note: Liddie Martinez is the author of the popular Chile Line Cookbook: Historic Recipes of Northern New Mexico, which is available online at

Next Post

Africa: Why Healthy Food and Its Local Production Should Be Part of the Covid-19 Response

When a pandemic hits, questions that immediately arise include what impact there will be on public health, the economy and other aspects of society. Another set of questions involves response priorities for governments and households. Food is central to both sets of questions. On the one hand, access to sufficient, […]