This is a really great dessert, plan ahead this needs to chill for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight is even better.
- Prepare a 9 x 9" baking pan.
- In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and 1 tbsp sugar; spread on bottom of prepared baking pan to form a crust.
- Mix the Dream Whip topping according to directions on the package, then beat in the softened cream cheese into the Dream Whip a little at a time.
- Add the remaining sugar and vanilla until well blended.
- Smooth on top of the crust.
- Top with the cherry pie filling.
- Chill at least 3 hours (overnight is even better) if storing in the fridge overnight, cover with plastic wrap.
My mom asked me to make this for dessert one Thanksgiving as it was a childhood favorite of hers. When she couldn't find her mother's recipe we started searching the internet for one that was the same and thankfully found this! This recipe is so simple and delicious! I'm kind of hurt she never made it for me growing up - she was holding out on me! Now I make it all the time. The only thing I change is that I add a bit more butter to the crushed graham crackers as I like my crust a little harder, but that's just personal opinion. Everything about this recipe is amazing!
This was my absolutely favourite dessert when I was growing up. However, my Mom always made it with frozen cherries instead of pie filling and it was never the same with the latter that I've never been able to find until now. Hence I'm giving this recipe a try again with a more from scratch topping. If you want to try it, and can find some some frozen cherries (sour/cooking variety) thaw them and then ensure all are pitted while being careful to preserve any juice. Drain the juice off and supplement with water to make 1 cup of liquid. Add 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar to the liquid. Boil and thicken into syrup using your favourite method (I use 2 tbsp of cornstarch liquified with minimal amount of water and then added to the syrup as soon as it is at a full rolling boil). Add the drained cherries to the syrup and cool before topping the cheesecake. (If you do this step first and refrigerate while making the rest of the recipe works well)
Because I am always short on time, I make mine a little different. I use the already made Philadelphia Cheesecake filling (found in the cream cheese area). I also buy the graham cracker crust already made so all I have to do is put the cheesecake filling in the crust, put the cherries on top, then I top it with cool whip. It tastes about the same, but if you are in a rush, it is very easy to do this way.