Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites
1 quart of fresh strawberries (the key here is fresh - not frozen)
8 oz block of cream cheese at room temperature (I used light)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 9" graham cracker crust (I used store-bought, but you use homemade)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Beat the softened cream cheese, brown sugar & vanilla in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
2. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until medium peaks form. Cream whips up best when it is cold, so it may help to put your bowl and beaters in the freezer before whipping your cream. The cream whipping took a lot longer than I anticipated - Patrick kept asking if I was almost done making all that noise in the kitchen. This is one of those times I wish I had a Kitchenaid stand mixer - one of the few wedding gifts I registered for but did not receive...maybe someday. Now, back to the whipping - keep beating until the top of the cream looks like soft-serve ice cream and holds a medium peak. I wish I would have timed how long it took. Patience is key in this step.
3. Once the whipping cream is ready, add 1 cup of the whipping cream mixture into the cream cheese mixture and combine. When smooth, add the remaining whipping cream mixture and combine.
4. Spread the cream mixture in the graham cracker crust and place in the refrigerator for a few minutes while you prepare the strawberries.
5. Wash the strawberries and cut off the stems. Dry the strawberries with a paper towel and then gently press them, cut side down, into the pie. This is how the original recipe reads, and I did make one pie this way. However, Patrick thought the pie looked awkward and difficult to slice. For the second pie, I sliced the strawberries and layered them on top of the pie. Both options are delicious.
6. Pour the chocolate chips into a small Ziploc bag. Heat in the microwave at 20 second intervals and mash until the chocolate is melted. You do not want the mixture to get too hot. When the chocolate is ready, cut a small corner off the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries. On my first attempt, I cut off too large of a corner and ended up with really thick stripes across my berries - not exactly the look I was going for. On my second attempt, I cut a teeny-tiny corner off the bag and the chocolate drizzled out in a nice, thin stream - perfect!
7. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
8. Slice and enjoy!
First attempt - strawberries standing up with thick chocolate
Second attempt - sliced strawberries with thin chocolate
I thought more chocolate was needed... :)
Here are the pies in the fridge.
The super handy pie carriers came from the Dollar Tree - score!
The verdict - everyone loved them! My dad said the pie tasted just like my grandma used to make - that's a huge compliment since my dad idolizes his mom's cooking. The filling is similar to a cheesecake, but lighter. The strawberries were sweet and the chocolate was the perfect touch. Yum!