This creamy layered strawberry dessert sits atop a crumbly pecan crust. It’s quickly assembled in a 13×9-inch casserole dish and best served chilled on a hot day.
If this recipe looks familiar, it’s because it has been around for ages. Different versions of it can usually be found in small town church cookbooks in the southern US. My strawberry iteration is inspired by a recipe from my friend Bobbie who passed away last year. She was an elderly lady famous for her desserts – especially Cherry Yum Yum. This dessert has the best parts of her recipe and swaps out the cherries for strawberries.
Bobbie’s recipe comes from a time when food trends were geared towards convenience and shelf stability. I’ve sympathetically adapted this recipe to swap out the margarine for real butter and replaced the packets of “Dream Whip” with freshly whipped cream. I did concede to keep the cans of ready-made pie filling because they keep this recipe simple, and if you purchase a premium brand of pie filling, then you’ll have an excellent end result. (I like Comstock.)
The crust reminds me of Pecan Sandies cookies. It uses few ingredients and not even a sprinkle of sugar. It’s just flour, butter, salt and chopped pecans. This unsweet crust contrasts and balances the other sweet components of the dessert.
The crust mixture will be quite crumbly, and should pack when you squeeze it in your hand. Pour it into the bottom of a 13×9 pan and press evenly. As the crust bakes, the pecans become toasty and delectable.
The cream filling is much like a light no-bake cheesecake, with a large ratio of whipped cream to the single package of cream cheese.
Two cans of pie filling are dolloped on top of the cloud-like cream layer. Bobbie always used cherry pie filling, and I use it too when I want to remember her and feel her presence. This time I used strawberry pie filling, because it’s what I had on hand!
You could use practically ANY kind of pie filling you’d like. I’ve made this in autumn months adding cinnamon to the pecan crust, and canned homemade apple pie filling instead of commercially prepared pie filling. It’s so versatile.
You could end assembly after the addition of the pie filling and call the dessert done, but I like to add another layer of whipped cream and a few pecans to make it pretty.
I will admit, scooping out the first piece is always an untidy job, so most of the time when I’m serving this, I just stick a spoon in the casserole dish. It can be cut into pieces, though. Chill the dessert well for the neatest slices.
This dessert can be served year-round, and even at Christmastime (the red berry filling looks so festive!). But I have to say, it’s my personal favorite to serve in hot months when you’re feeling wilted and need refreshed.
Use any ready-made pie filling you prefer: apple, cherry, and blueberry are all very good in this recipe.
- 13×9 inch casserole dish
- 1 cup 226g unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups 300g all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 4 oz. chopped pecans
- 8 oz. 1 package cream cheese, softened
- 3 cups 400g powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 cups 360 ml heavy cream, whipped
- 2 cans 21 oz. each strawberry pie filling (tested with Comstock)
- 3/4 cup 180 ml heavy cream, whipped
- 1/4 cup 1 oz. chopped pecans
- Fresh mint leaves
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, flour, and salt. The mixture will be crumbly. Mix in the pecans. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 13×9-inch pan. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until lightly golden. Allow the crust to cool completely.
- In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar and beat well. Mixture will be thick. Fold in 1/3 of the whipped cream to loosen the cream cheese mixture, then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spread this mixture on top of the cooled crust. Spoon the contents of two cans of ready-made pie filling on top of the cream.
- Cover the strawberry pie filling with the optional whipped cream, pecans and mint leaves, if using. Cover and chill until firm, about 2 hours. Slice into pieces or spoon onto a plate.
Thank you for your beautiful photography and story of Ms. Bobbie, in addition to the recipe! I had my own Ms. Bobbie Goins, named Ms. Clara Bradley, and she shared this recipe with me… golly, in what seems like a lifetime ago. Ms. Bradley topped her cream cheese and powdered sugar layer with cooked and cooled chocolate pudding (chilled with plastic wrap directly on the pudding to avoid pudding skin). I love the adaptation with fruit, and look forward to dusting off this classic and breathing some life back into it. My mind has me thinking about the possibility of… Read more »
I'm so glad you shared this. Thank you! Recipes like this help keep us connected to the people we've lost, all while getting to share the goodness with others. Ms. Clara's version sounds delicious! I agree, I think some fresh fruit, patted dry (or not too juicy) would be lovely on top. xo-h
As soon as I saw this post this morning I knew I had to make this cool treat for our dessert this evening! It was so refreshing and simple (I used the cherry pie filling I had in the pantry)…perfect for a hot day. Thank you so much for sharing! I've also made variations on this basic theme using a homemade lemon pudding layer (where I grew up this was called "lemon lush") but this fruity version definitely hit the spot today. Gorgeous photography as always . . . you make everything look SO tasty and irresistible!
So happy you enjoyed it, Jana! I have heard of lemon lush but I haven't tried it. Perhaps it should be next on the list.
Hezké a jednoduché, tak to mám ráda .:)
Měj se hezky, Štěpánka
Can you use Kool Whip instead of heavy cream?
Yes, you can! Use a 12 oz. container for the filling, which is slightly larger than a standard tub. And then use about 2/3 of an 8 oz. container for the topping.
Thanks for your reply! And YES I would love to see your take on "lemon lush." A homemade lemon pudding layer tastes so much better than the original recipe's packaged mix, but it's tricky to get it just the right consistency for holding together when serving for picture-pretty squares. If anyone can figure it out, you can!
THIS WAS A COMPLETELY PERFECT DESSERT! I ENJOYED MAKING IT AND WILL BE KEEPING THIS RECIPE AND I AM PICKY ABOUT KEEPING A RECIPE, BUT THIS WAS TOO GOOD! THANK YOU FOR SHARING IT!