No-Bake STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE PIE
With sugar or sugar-free
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar or plain white Splenda
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tub (8 oz.) whipped topping, thawed (can be light, non-fat, or sugar-free)
1 store-bought or homemade graham cracker or cookie crust (recipe below)
1 16-oz. container fresh strawberries, washed, dried & hulled
Chop most of the strawberries, reserving about 4-5 of the prettiest ones to cut into a fan shape or slice later to decorate the top of the pie, and set aside. (I know you're going to be tempted to put some sugar on the strawberries, but DON'T DO IT! The strawberries need to be as dry as possible, or they'll bleed into the filling and also make watery patches. If you add sugar, they'll be too wet.)
Beat cream cheese, vanilla extract and sugar in large bowl with mixer until blended. Fold in about 3/4 of the whipped topping until completely blended (reserve about 1/4 of it to decorate the top of the pie later). Next blend in the chopped strawberries with a rubber scraper; then put the strawberry filling into the cookie crust and spread it out evenly. Pack it down firmly (you want it as dense as possible). Carefully spread the reserved whipped topping over the strawberry filling. I cut the reserved strawberries into a fan shape, or just slice them, and put them around the edge of the pie.
Refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Homemade Graham Cracker or Cookie Crust
1-1/3 cups crushed graham crackers or cookies (can be a mixture of leftover cookies ~ with sugar or sugar-free)~ depending on size, this should be about 10-15 cookies
(1) You can use a combination of leftover cookies
(2) If you use chocolate covered (I used fudge covered graham crackers here) or Oreo cookies, you may want to decrease or totally omit the sugar used.
1/3 cup brown sugar or brown sugar Splenda blend
5 TB melted butter
Put the cookies into a heavier, freezer zip-top baggie ~ push out the air and seal. Using a rolling pin, crush them finely; then measure and do enough to get about 1-1/3 cups. Put the crumbs into a bowl with the brown sugar/Splenda and melted butter and mix together really well. Press very firmly down into an 8” or 9” pie pan and up the sides. (Make sure you get it pressed into the area where the bottom meets the sides ~ don't let it build up too thick there.) Stick it into the fridge or freezer while you do the filling.