My Great Aunt Gladys made this every year on the 4th of July. It is a family summertime favorite. It makes a 13x9-inch pan so there is enough for a crowd. Easy to prepare and delicious!
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup chopped pecans
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup non-dairy whipped topping (Cool Whip)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups 7-up
1/2 cup water
1 3-ounce package strawberry Jell-O
1-1/2 to 2 quarts fresh sliced strawberries
2 cups additional whipped cream for topping
Chopped pecans for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust:
Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until small bean-size crumbs form. Fold in chopped Pecans. Press down with fingertips into a lightly buttered 13x9-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Mix together 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, and 1 cup non dairy topping. Spread over cooled crust.
Combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, 7-up and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium low heat until thickened. While hot, stir in a 3-ounce package of strawberry jello. Blend well, making sure jello is completely dissolved. Allow to cool completely, then carefully fold in 1-1/2 to 2 quarts fresh sliced strawberries. Pour over cream cheese layer. Chill until firmly set (at least 2 hours).
Just before serving, top with additional (2 cups) whipped cream and, if desired and chopped pecans. Cut into squares to serve.
HINT: I prepare the 3rd layer (the sugar, cornstarch, salt, 7-up, water, Jell-o and fresh strawberries) first. Because it is so very hot, it takes a while to cool.
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