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Classic Cherry Delight

Classic Cherry Delight Recipe

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Classic Cherry Delight is a nostalgic dessert that combines a crunchy graham cracker crust with a creamy cheesecake-like filling and topped with sweet cherry pie filling. This dessert is perfect for any occasion, offering a delightful blend of textures and flavors that everyone will love.

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Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 9 whole crackers)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the Filling:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 container Cool Whip, 8 ounces (or whipped topping of your choice)
  • 1 can cherry pie filling, 21 ounces

Instructions

Making the Crust:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Melt Butter: In a microwave-safe bowl or small saucepan, melt the unsalted butter until smooth.
  3. Mix Crust Ingredients: In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar. Pour the melted butter over the crumbs and mix until well combined and the mixture resembles wet sand.
  4. Press Into Pan: Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake: Bake the crust in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden and set. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.

Making the Filling:

  1. Prepare Cream Cheese: In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add Sugar and Vanilla: Gradually add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beating until well combined and smooth.
  3. Fold in Whipped Topping: Gently fold in the Cool Whip or whipped topping until fully incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy.

Assembling the Cherry Delight:

  1. Spread Filling: Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cooled graham cracker crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.
  2. Add Cherry Topping: Spoon the cherry pie filling evenly over the cream cheese layer, spreading it out to cover the entire surface.
  3. Chill: Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the dessert to set.

FAQs

How long does Classic Cherry Delight last?

Classic Cherry Delight can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to keep it chilled to maintain its creamy texture.

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Can I use homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip?

Yes, you can substitute homemade whipped cream for Cool Whip. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form, and use it in place of the Cool Whip in the filling.

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Can I use a different fruit topping?

Absolutely! While cherry pie filling is classic, you can customize this dessert with your favorite fruit topping such as blueberry, strawberry, or mixed berries.

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Tips for Making Classic Cherry Delight

  • Crust Variation: Try using chocolate or cinnamon graham crackers for a twist on the classic crust.
  • Cream Cheese Mixture: For extra flavor, add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the cream cheese filling.
  • Chilling Time: To ensure the dessert sets properly, refrigerate for the recommended time before serving.
  • Garnish Options: Sprinkle chopped nuts like almonds or pecans over the cherry topping for added crunch.

Healthier Alternatives and Variations

  • Low-Sugar Version: Substitute the powdered sugar with a sugar-free sweetener or reduce the amount for a lighter option.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free graham crackers or almond meal for the crust to make it gluten-free.
  • Fresh Fruit Variation: Instead of canned pie filling, top the dessert with fresh cherries or mixed berries for a fresher, lighter taste.

Classic Cherry Delight is not just a dessert; it’s a delightful combination of creamy, crunchy, and fruity flavors that make every bite memorable. Whether you’re preparing it for a holiday gathering or a simple family dinner, this dessert is sure to impress. With its simple preparation and versatile nature, you can easily customize it to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs. Enjoy the creamy goodness of the cream cheese filling, the buttery crunch of the graham cracker crust, and the sweetness of the cherry topping in every delicious bite.

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