I like to keep my options open. Sometimes I have guests that have dietary restrictions. Sometimes I have a shorter amount of time. Sometimes I don’t want to turn on the oven because the air conditioner is already working overtime. This recipe is an amalgamation of three recipes I have had for years and lots of experience. Read the entire recipe to be sure you get the ingredients for the option you want. The ingredients and instruction for the best option is at the top, while others are at the bottom.
2 cups Flour
2 cups powdered sugar divided
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
2 8oz packages of cream cheese at room temperature
2 teaspoons Watkins Clear Vanilla Extract
1 8 oz. container of Cool Whip
2 Tablespoons Karo syrup
8 oz. Fresh Strawberries
5 oz Fresh Blueberries
First wash fruit gently and allow to air dry on paper towels.
Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups flour, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 cup butter flavored Crisco with pastry blender until well blended. (see photo)If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use two knives. Cutting the blades towards each other repeatedly. Press the mixture firmly intothe bottom and up the sides a little of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Cool before adding remaining ingredients.
Put room temperature cream cheese into mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until blended. Remove from mixer scraping beater and sides of bowl. It should be fairly easy to move around with your spatula so that you can easily fold in the Cool Whip. Spread the mixture evenly over the cooled crust.
Heat Karo in small container in microwave for 10 to 20 seconds. This will enable you to brush it on all sides of the strawberries. Strawberries can be cut in half or sliced, but be sure to brush the berry completely before you put it on top of the filling (see photo). Make lengthwise rows of strawberries. Scatter the blueberries in between the strawberries. While you could make an imitation flag by putting the blueberries in the upper right corner, that would mean that some servings would not have both kinds of berries. Chill and serve. Store any leftovers, covered in the refrigerator.
Use 2 purchased graham cracker pie crusts or make a graham cracker crust by mixing 1 ¼ cup crushed graham crackers and ¼ cup sugar in 9 x 13″ pan, then adding 1/3 cup melted butter. Mix and press firmly into the pan. Chill 1 hour and proceed as above, Or if you want to use just one pie crust, use only half of the amounts of the filling ingredients and less fruit.
Filling: If you are watching your weight or fat intake, substitute low fat versions of cream cheese and Cool Whip. If you don’t have clear vanilla substitute regular vanilla.
Topping: Red Raspberries can substitute for Strawberries and Black Raspberries can substitute for Blueberries. The fruit can be brushed with lemon juice instead of Karo, it won’t be quite as shiny and the strawberries may seep color into the filling. For a non patriotic dessert you can use sliced bananas, peaches, kiwi, or whatever fruit you choose. You can use additional fruit until the top of the dessert suits your taste.