This recipe is a pure fun -- and delicious -- trompe l'oiel of a dessert. Wish I'd made it for April Fool's Day, but didn't want to wait 11 months to post this. It's that good. It is also very, very easy and would be a delightful baking project with children. The vintage recipe is from a collection I purchased on eBay last year.
Start by making the crust, which is much easier than pie (or pizza pie) crust. Melted butter is simply stirred into some flour and confectioner's sugar.
Blend the mixture until it holds together.
Then simply pat it into a greased baking pan. I used a springform pan so it would be uniform and easily removable, but I think free form would work fine. And maybe look a bit more authentic.
Bake until the edges are slightly brown. Cool.
Next make the "cheese" topping by mixing softened cream cheese with sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice.
It's best to use a hand mixer for this task. I spread the mixture on the crust and refrigerated it for 30 minutes to firm it up, as I feared the strawberry mixture would bleed into the soft "cheese."
You can start the strawberries at any time. I bought a bag of whole frozen strawberries (I think it was either 12 or 15 ounces) and put them in a saucepan to cook down. I then added the cornstarch -- big mistake. I learned the hard way that adding dry cornstarch to hot liquid results in small white balls of starch, which need to be picked out one-by-one. The way to do this is to make a slurry -- dissolve the cornstarch in a small amount of liquid -- and then add it.
Cornstarch slurry added to the strawberries, below. I used a potato masher to break down the berries so the mixture would more closely resemble tomato sauce.
Place the "cheese" on the crust, top with the "sauce" and add some dollops of "cheese" on top. Dot with fresh mint leaves and enjoy.
Enjoy a slice! And share the rest.