Last Friday I was wrapping up at my afternoon nanny job when my sister, Rachel, text me saying : "B wants to pick strawberries :)"
My Answer : "When?"
You see, when there is a chance to get little Brooklyn and my Lily together I jump right on it. So we head right out to the closest strawberry patch to meet up. The little girls had so much fun picking strawberries and plopping them in their little buckets (O.K. and stuffing a few in their mouths, stem and all). Afterwards we sat down with some ice cream and enjoyed letting them bask in their messiness!
Somehow eating all the strawberries always turns out to be the challenge. Sure, we get about a quarter of them eaten the first day before the novelty wears off. But then 2 days later I realize that I have a huge container of strawberries that I really need to do something with before they start to shrivel. I needed a new strawberry recipe.
This Strawberry Cheesecake Pudding is what I came up with. The name probably seems a little strange but the two inspirations for this dish were the delicious mix of strawberries and cheesecake and the assembly of a banana pudding. The result was spectacular. I served this to my family and it received rave reviews. My Mom even went for a second slice which my Dad took as permission for him to have a second slice and I likewise took as my permission.
Try it, you'll be glad you did.
Strawberry Cheesecake Pudding
Yield: 12-20 servings depending on size
Prep Time: 30 min + 1 hour to chill
2 boxes cream cheese (16 oz total) left on the counter for 30 minutes before
1 1/3 cups +3Tbps sugar ( divided as : 2/3 cup for the cream cheese mixture, 3 Tbps for the whipped cream and 2/3 cup remainder for the strawberries)
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups whipping cream
2 lbs (at least) strawberries, fresh is best but frozen is fine too
1 package butter or shortbread cookies
Slice the strawberries and toss with the sugar. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the cream cheese until it is smooth and soft. Mix the sugar in and beat for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, whip the whipped cream until stiff (if you don't have 2 mixers, handheld or stand, you can do this in stages and just hold one in a mixing bowl while mixing the other). Mix half of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Set aside. Mix the sugar into the remaining whipped cream.
In a 9x12 baking dish layer half the cookies. Over the cookies spread half of the cream cheese mixture. On top of this layer spread out half of the strawberries trying not to get much of the syrup on this layer. Next add another layer of cookies. Drizzle the syrup from the bottom of the strawberry bowl over the cookies. Spread the rest of the cream cheese mixture over this layer of cookies. Spread the remainder of the strawberries. Cover the strawberries with the whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
*If using strawberries frozen in syrup do not use the 2/3 cup sugar designated for the strawberries!