Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Strawberry Delight

A layered dessert, made with a buttery shortbread crust, topped with a cream cheese and whipped topping layer, a layer of fresh or frozen strawberries and finished with more whipped cream and chopped nuts.

Strawberry Delight

I have a secret I've been keeping. In the midst of this recent wintery weather, which for some of you has meant snow, I have been chowing down on fresh, local strawberries. Louisiana strawberries. They show up this time of year, every year, and I sure do look forward to it.


I admit - after all the wonderful, traditional, but rich holiday foods, and the far more sweets than I ever usually eat otherwise, I really crave fresh salads and fresh fruits in January. I do! Luckily, I am a fan of citrus and right now is prime citrus season in Florida, as well as early crop strawberries too. While Florida has wonderful strawberries too, I favor the deliciously sweet, early crop strawberries from Louisiana the most.

Y'all know how much I love my layered desserts too, including the number one queen of them all of course! Made with a variety of crusts, usually layered with some kind of cream cheese filling and anything from layers of puddings to layers of fruit, and finished most often with a whipped topping, they are just a perfect dessert for parties, potlucks, church suppers and other gatherings.

Now... before I confuse anybody, over the years there have been a few desserts known by the name "delight." One of the best known is often called Strawberry Pretzel Delight, a dessert that has a crust of crushed pretzels, topped with a similar cream cheese filling and finished with strawberry gelatin. I know it by the name Pretzel Salad, and though I'm sure that you've already seen it around and about plenty on food blogs, y'all know it'll show up right here too one day!  It is a southern classic.

This Strawberry Delight dessert is a little bit different from that recipe, and more closely related to those layered pudding desserts many of us are so fond of. Though there are lots of ways to lower the fat and calories - I'll leave that up to you to settle on. With fresh Louisiana and Florida strawberries available right now in the markets of the Deep South, this dessert is a perfect vehicle for using fresh strawberries, although it is more commonly made using frozen.

Keep in mind when using fresh strawberries that you should always taste the plain strawberry first before adding any sugar. Sweetness can vary according to time of season and where they are grown, and a quick taste will give you an idea of how much sugar you'll need to add.

Here's how to make this Strawberry Delight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. First things first, we'll macerate the strawberries. Slice them into a bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar; refrigerate until needed, giving them a stir once in awhile.

We start off with the typical shortbread type of crust made with butter, flour and nuts. I'm still on the fence as to whether I prefer the butter cold, softened or melted to produce the best crust. I went with softened here.


Mix that together, until it resembles a cookie dough.


Spread into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch glass Pyrex baking dish.


Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, about an hour. The bottom of the pan should be completely cool to the touch before you attempt to layer in the remaining ingredients.


For the filling, cream together one 8-ounce block of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of softened butter, then mix in 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until well blended.


Gently fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Doesn't that just look dreamy.


Spread mixture on the cooled crust.


Fully covering the crust.


Drain the strawberries well and using a slotted spoon, scatter them all over the top of the cream cheese, whipped topping filling. You can use thawed, frozen strawberries too - just note whether they are sweetened or un-sweetened and make adjustments as needed.


Top the strawberries with enough of the remaining whipped cream to cover - yes, add extra if you like!


Sprinkle pecans on top, cover and refrigerate for a full 24 hours. Carry to a party or potluck so you have plenty of people to share it with!


Recipe: Strawberry Delight

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 30 mins | Inactive time: 24 hours | Yield: About 12 servings


Ingredients
  • 1 pound of fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1/4 cup or more granulated sugar
For the Crust:
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup of finely minced pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
For the Filling and Topping:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large (16 ounce) Cool Whip, or equivalent homemade whipped cream, divided
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
Instructions

Combine the strawberries and sugar; refrigerate until needed, giving them a stir once in awhile. Taste for sweetness and adjust as needed. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, mix together the flour, pecans and butter until mixture resembles cookie dough. Spread into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch glass Pyrex baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely, about an hour.

For the filling, cream together the cream cheese and butter, then mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla until well blended. Gently fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping and spread mixture on the cooled crust.

Drain the strawberries well and using a slotted spoon, tap off any excess juices and scatter the strawberries over the top of the cream cheese filling. Top the strawberries with enough of the remaining whipped cream to cover. Sprinkle pecans on top, if using, cover and refrigerate for a full 24 hours.

Cook's Notes May substitute a large 16-ounce package of frozen sweetened strawberries, thawed and drained. The original Strawberry Delight recipes generally used 1 envelope of Dream Whip, a handy shelf stable whipped topping product that is actually still available. Each envelope of Dream Whip when prepared makes about 2 cups in volume.

Variations: Line the bottom of the pan with Nilla wafers instead of the crust, or make a cookie crust using crushed Nilla wafers, cookies, or graham crackers in place of the flour. Can also use canned strawberry or cherry pie filling. Okay to substitute margarine, sugar free and lower fat products also, if desired.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on January 17, 2012
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33 comments:

  1. You are so right about Louisiana strawberries, they are the best.

    One of my good friends used to make this and everyone just loved it. It looks so rich and decadent, how could anyone not want a huge serving.

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  2. You are so lucky to have local strawberries already Mary. Ours won't be ready until May- boo hoo. This dessert looks fantastic. I've not had this one, but have had plenty of the Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Good stuff.

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    Replies
    1. Oh Lynda I know I am blessed - even though the heat about kills me anymore, and I am certainly known to issue my complaints, a year round growing season and fresh Gulf seafood are two very great advantages of living this far south.

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  3. I am getting ready to go to the grocery store to get the necessary ingredients to make this. It looks SO GOOD.....I love anything with whipped cream, strawberries and pecans.....Wow, how bad can tht be?...what a decadent looking dessert. Can't wait! YUM

    Thanks so much for sharing this with your readers.

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  4. Mary, I love how you give all kinds of options for your recipes. Love the cook's notes.

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    1. Thanks Georgia - I had hoped those were helpful!

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  5. I haven't had this in years, but I love this dessert - now I want some.

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  6. Hi Mary!! Oh girl...this looks so delicious...I am going to have to print this one for a special occasion. Keep up the great work....I too love your side comments. ~..~

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    1. Thanks Debbie! It's a great potluck dish, enjoy!

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  7. I miss my Louisiana strawberries, but I have discovered that Seattle ones are pretty good in the winter, too! Anyway, this dessert is very similar to one of favorites from my mom called Peach Delight. You can probably guess that one difference is that it is made with peaches instead of strawberries. It also has a layer on top of the peaches that is a thick gelatin layer. It is so good!!! Thanks for this post, and enjoy some strawberries for me!

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    Replies
    1. Oh yeah Melissa - all depends on where you live! Since I'm here between Florida and Louisiana those are my best local sources. California strawberries are good but the ones down here are better because they don't have to do all that traveling! Love that peach version too, yum!

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  8. Reserve that strawberry juice and drink it! Divine!

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  9. This sounds wonderful! My friend made me a Blueberry Delight years ago that was delicious, so I'm sure this is to die for! :D You just can't go wrong with that shortbread nut crust and that fluffy layer of sweetened cream cheese! yum-yum! I need to try this in the spring for sure.

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    1. Oh yeah, I have a LOVE for layered desserts like this. I do have a blueberry version on here too - it's in the link for the layered desserts. It's called Blueberry Heaven, but I'm guessing it's pretty much the same as that Delight - so yummy!

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  10. oh so yummy looking! thanks for sharing, anne

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  11. This really sounds delicious and it would be a wonderful dessert to serve at this time of year. I can't get strawberries the same quality as yours but I have a freezer full of last summer's bounty. I'll try to work around that. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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    1. You too Mary - thanks so much for stopping by!

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  12. I remember these from my mom's sunday school class socials, always the hit.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, these layered dessert have been around a long time!

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  13. Mary, Mary, shame on you! This is totally sinful! It is so good. I think this has to be the best strawberry dessert recipe yet. I could have eaten the entire thing.....it was oh, so good. Thanks.

    I used fresh strawberries and fresh whipped cream. It just doesn't get any better than this...totally decadent!

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    1. LOL Becky, I feel your pain!! It really is a nice fresh dessert isn't it? So glad you enjoyed it!

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  14. That strawberry treat looks amazing!

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  15. Gotta say Kevin it is pretty good stuff! Thanks for stopping by!!

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  16. I make a wonderfully delicious 4-layer chocolate delight. I have several get togethers I HAVE to make that for. I CAN NOT wait to try this strawberry one. I also have some frozen peaches & blueberries, may try it with them too!

    Thanks for sharing Mary!

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  17. ~~~ :) I make a wonderfully delicious 4-layer chocolate delight. I have several get togethers I HAVE to make that for. I CAN NOT wait to try this strawberry one. :) :) Looks so yummy! I also have some frozen peaches & blueberries, may try it with them too!

    Thanks for sharing Mary!

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  18. I'm with you on that Brooke! These layered desserts are one of my favorites.

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