I’m sitting at the kitchen table this morning in my heaviest pajamas (hoodies for the win!) and clutching a hot cup of coffee. Mostly because it’s -28 outside, not including the wind chill. I let the dog outside and thought my hand was going to come back a stump. There is also a chicken clucking in the basement. She was moved inside, into a big dog crate, to keep her out of the cold.
Because it’s cold, and because it’s the new year and a lot of people are trying to be health conscious I thought I’d post a dessert recipe. Hey, there’s fruit in it, okay? That makes it….healthy.
This dessert is a Thanksgiving staple in my family. It used to be made with cranberries but now we use strawberries. It’s just a quick layered dessert – graham cracker crumbs, sweetened mashed strawberries, whipped cream, and walnuts. All layered together in a dish of wonderfulness.
I made this for Christmas this year and added cream cheese to the whipped cream. It was delish.
Good lord. The mixer looks like it’s about to go careening off the counter.
There’s really no set recipe for this, it’s just throwing ingredients into a dish you think they’ll fit into. I wrote down what I did this time around, so it’s (potentially) accurate and will fit into a 1.5 quart bowl or dish.
The last layer is graham crackers with a dusting of walnuts. I had a non-walnut eater in the house, so the nuts were served on the side this year.
It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, and not the easiest to take a picture of. The graham cracker crumbs soak up some of the juice from the strawberries, and the whole thing melds together into soft pillows of nirvana.
We always call this ‘strawberry stuff.’ As in, ‘DON’T FORGET TO MAKE THE STRAWBERRY STUFF!’ I believe the real name for it is a torte, but who knows. It’s Strawberry Stuff.
4 cups whole frozen or fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 whole graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Defrost the berries if frozen. Place into a bowl and mash them until they resemble a somewhat chunky puree. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar, or to taste, since they tend to be on the tart side. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain any excess liquid. Set aside.
Place the cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. Beat another 4 or 5 minutes. (For a super-fluffy and light mixture, beat the heavy cream separately until stiff peaks form and fold the whipped cream into the sweetened cream cheese.)
To assemble, put a thick layer of graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of a 1.5 quart bowl or dish. Top with half the strawberries, then half the cream cheese mixture, then half the walnuts. Repeat, ending with graham cracker crumbs and the last of the walnuts. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, then serve.