I love a good cheeseball. If I walk into a holiday party and see a cheeseball on the table, I’m immediately excited. I also love cheesecake, strawberries, and pineapple. I wanted to make an easy dessert for this past Fourth of July, so I put a little twist on the traditional cheeseball and got creative. I was nervous. My husband isn’t really a huge cream cheese fan. Like…at all. I thought I would have a hard time getting him to even taste it. Much less like it. But I knew I wanted to make it and test it out for my blog. So off to the grocery store I went and it turns out: HE LOVED IT!! #winning
The great thing about this recipe is that it can be tailored to your liking. If you don’t want it as sweet as I made it, you can adjust the amounts of sugar you use. Prefer fresh fruit to canned fruit? Me too! We can make that happen. Don’t want to add the vanilla wafer crust? You don’t have to! You don’t even have to use vanilla wafers if you don’t want to. Graham crackers make a delicious substitute. We can even play with the kinds of cream cheese you use. The possibilities are endless.
This is a pretty easy recipe to make, but it does take a few hours for the cream cheese to set. You can even choose to let it set overnight if you have the time.
A FEW TIPS:
- Taste the strawberries and cream cheese before adding any sugar. If you still want to add sugar (this will depend on your strawberries and also your sweetness preference), start with the smallest amount recommended and taste it from there until you reach your desired sweet tooth target.
- I’ve made this recipe with both canned and fresh pineapple. My honest opinion: fresh pineapple tastes better…but canned pineapple is quicker and easier. They are both really good so again, it will really just depend on your preference.
- Chopping the fruit into tiny pieces will be the most labor you do. I like mine with A LOT of fruit and it does take a short while to get it all chopped. I say “tiny pieces” because your pineapple and strawberries should be chopped into just that: itty bitty pieces. Remember: this is more or less a dip and we want all flavors in each bite. Here are some pictures of how I cut mine:
- 8 oz. strawberry flavored cream cheese, softened
- 8 oz. pineapple or regular flavored cream cheese, softened
- 1-1 1/2 cups of chopped fresh strawberries (approximately 12-15 strawberries)
- 1-1 1/2 cups of chopped pineapple (1 fresh pineapple or 1 lb. can of pineapple slices)
- 1-1 1/2 TSP sugar
- 1-2 TBSP powdered sugar
- 30 vanilla wafers plus 1 Box
- Mix the strawberry cream cheese and the regular or pineapple cream cheese together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. You can do this part by hand, but it’s easier with an electric mixer. Make sure it is well blended. Taste. If it’s not sweet enough (depending on taste), slowly start adding powdered sugar by the half-tablespoon until desired taste is reached. Cover and put in the refrigerator 1-2 hours. This helps the cream cheese start to set so it’s easier to form.
- Meanwhile, chop up the strawberries into small pieces, like pictured above. The strawberries I purchased were a little tart, so I added some sugar. If you want your berries a little sweeter like I did, slowly add sugar by the half-teaspoon until desired sweetness is reached.
- Chop pineapple into small pieces and dab with a paper towel to soak up some of the juice. Gently mix strawberry and pineapple pieces in a bowl.
- Chop 30 vanilla wafers until they have a sandy texture. Pour the crumbs in a pile on a piece of wax or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove cream cheese mixture from fridge. Slowly start pouring the fruit mixture into the cream cheese bowl, making sure to mix thoroughly. Remember: We want fruit pieces in every bite.
- Take the cheesecake mixture out of the bowl by the tablespoon and start forming a ball in the middle of your vanilla wafer crumbs. Roll the ball around in wafer crust using the palms of your hands until the entire ball is covered. Tip: You can also use the parchment paper as an aid for forming your “blob” into a “ball” by picking up and guiding the corners of the paper . This part gets a little messy, but it is fairly easy. Oh…and this part is also optional. Some people prefer not to roll and to serve the fruit ball as is, without the “crust”.
- Transfer your ball (carefully) to a plate and wrap tightly with saran wrap. This will help the ball keep it’s shape while the cream cheese sets up. Don’t worry if you don’t have the perfect “ball”. This is how mine turned out:
- Place your wrapped cheesecake fruit ball in the fridge for 3-4 hours, giving the cream cheese time to cool and harden. Garnish with strawberries and serve with vanilla wafers or graham crackers for dipping or spreading.