(This is my sister's recipe and it is well worth making!)
This dessert makes a wonderful addition to any buffet or holiday meal. Although rich, it's light so you don't feel overstuffed if you have a smallish piece. But I warn you, you'll want seconds, so save room -- skip the vegetables!
Cookie Crumble Crust:
1 cup butter plus 2 tbsp
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds
1 250 g pkg cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp almond extract
500 ml whipping cream
4 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cans cherry pie filling
For crust, melt butter, then add flour, sugar, nuts and mix well. Mixture will resemble soft cookie dough. Spread on a large, ungreased baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Stir mixture often as it bakes, breaking it apart into fine pieces.
After baking, let crumbs cool slightly. Reserve one cup for topping, press remaining crumbs into a 9″x13″ baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 5-7 minutes, being careful not to overbrown. Remove from oven and cool. A few minutes in the freezer will speed the process nicely.
Meanwhile, beat together whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until needed. Beat together cream cheese, sugar and almond extract until smooth. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese. Spread mixture onto cool crust.
Carefully layer cherry pie filling over cream cheese. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.