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. 

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.


6 thoughts on “Strawberry Stuff, Or Strawberry Torte with Cream Cheese”

  1. Here's the recipe I promised you.

    Orange Salad (Who are we kidding? It is more like a dessert, but called a salad.)

    1 3 oz pkg orange jello
    1 small (9 oz) cool whip (don't use lite as it is too watery)
    1 12 oz cottage cheese
    1 small can mandarin oranges (drained well)
    1 small can crushed pineapple (drained well)
    1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
    1 cup miniature marshmallows

    Combine dry jello and cool whip. Mix it well so you don't get little lumps of jello. Add the drained oranges and drained pineapple to the cool whip mixture. Then add the cottage cheese and mix well. Add the pecans and marshmallows and mix together. Chill before serving. (It can be served immediately, but it is better if chilled for a while.)

    This recipe was given to me in the mid-70s. Be sure to wear your bell bottoms when you make this. (I know, you are too young to know what I'm talking about.)

    1. That salad sounds a bit similar to one my parents used to make once in awhile when I was a kid. I think it was just Cool Whip, pineapple, walnuts, and mini marshmallows. I don't know who came up with the idea of dumping a bunch of stuff in a bowl, dousing it with Cool Whip, and calling it a salad, but that person is a genius.

  2. 1. Your floor must be toasty warm as I see bare feet.

    2. Your recipe sounds yummy. A co-worker shared a recipe with me over 30 years ago (yes, I'm old) that I used to make a lot, but then forgot about. However, my sister's family liked it so much that it has become part of their traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I'll look it up and share it with you. (Hint, it includes cool whip.)

    3. Has the chicken decided to permanently move into your basement?

    1. 1. The floors downstairs are pretty warm. It's like a tiny winter consolation prize.

      2. If it involves Cool Whip, I'm in.

      3. More than likely. She's settled in and hasn't been clucking too loudly, so she must be liking it just fine.

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