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Classic Cherry Delight

Classic Cherry Delight recipe

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Cherry Delight is a timeless dessert that combines a buttery graham cracker crust with a creamy, dreamy filling, topped with sweet and tangy cherry pie filling. This no-bake dessert is perfect for any occasion, from family gatherings to potlucks, and it’s incredibly easy to make. Its layers of texture and flavor make it a delightful treat that will impress everyone.

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 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 (8 ounces) Cool Whip

For the Topping:

  • 1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Crust

  1. Crush the Graham Crackers:
    • Place the graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. If you don’t have a food processor, place the crackers in a zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
  2. Mix Ingredients:
    • In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar. Pour in the melted butter and stir until the crumbs are well coated and hold together when pressed.
  3. Form the Crust:
    • Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Use the back of a spoon or the bottom of a measuring cup to firmly pack the crust. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to set.

Step 2: Make the Filling

  1. Beat the Cream Cheese:
    • In a large bowl, beat the softened cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed 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 the Cool Whip:
    • Gently fold in the Cool Whip with a spatula until the mixture is light and fluffy and no streaks remain.
  4. Spread the Filling:
    • Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the chilled graham cracker crust, smoothing the top with a spatula.

Step 3: Add the Topping

  1. Spread the Cherry Pie Filling:
    • Spoon the cherry pie filling over the cream cheese layer, spreading it out evenly.
  2. Chill:
    • Cover the dessert with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight if possible, to allow the layers to set and the flavors to meld.

Cook’s Tips and Variations

  • Crust Variations: For a twist, try using crushed vanilla wafers or shortbread cookies instead of graham crackers.
  • Filling Variations: Add a bit of lemon zest to the cream cheese mixture for a fresh, citrusy flavor.
  • Topping Options: Swap out the cherry pie filling for blueberry, strawberry, or even apple pie filling to change things up.
  • Homemade Whipped Cream: For a more homemade touch, you can use homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip. Simply beat 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form, then fold into the cream cheese mixture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I make this dessert ahead of time? A: Yes, Cherry Delight is a great make-ahead dessert. Prepare it the day before you plan to serve it and let it chill overnight. This will help the layers set and enhance the flavors.

Q: How should I store Cherry Delight? A: Store Cherry Delight covered in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 3 days. For best results, keep it chilled until just before serving.

Q: Can I freeze Cherry Delight? A: Yes, you can freeze Cherry Delight. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

Q: What if I don’t have Cool Whip? A: If you don’t have Cool Whip, you can substitute with homemade whipped cream. Beat 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form, then fold into the cream cheese mixture.

Q: Can I use low-fat ingredients? A: Yes, you can use low-fat cream cheese and a light version of Cool Whip to reduce the calorie content. The texture and flavor will be slightly different but still delicious.

Classic Cherry Delight is a simple yet delicious dessert that brings a burst of sweetness and a creamy texture to your table. Its easy preparation and no-bake nature make it a go-to recipe for any occasion. Whether you’re making it for a family gathering or a special event, this delightful dessert is sure to be a hit. Enjoy the luscious layers of graham cracker crust, creamy filling, and cherry topping that make this dessert a timeless favorite.

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