These Whipped Strawberry Pie Bars are one of my all time favorite summertime desserts! Smooth, creamy, whipped strawberry filling sits on top of a crunchy salty-sweet graham cracker crust. They're a beautiful bright pink color and bursting with fresh strawberry flavor.
Preheat oven to 300 °F and lightly spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Make graham cracker crust: process cracker pieces in a food processor until finely ground. Add flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine. Slowly add melted butter and pulse until evenly distributed.
Firmly press the crumb mixture in an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let the crust cool completely.
Make strawberry mousse filling: strain strawberries over a bowl, reserving juices. In a small shallow bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 2 tablespoons of reserved strawberry juice and sprinkle gelatin over the juices-- let it sit for about 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, heat the remaining strawberry juice and cook until it reduces to 3 tablespoons*. Remove pan from heat, add gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin has dissolved. Add cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
Process strained strawberries in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add the strawberry juice-gelatin mixture to the processed strawberries and mix until evenly combined.
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar and salt and whip until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes longer. Fold the whipped cream into the strawberry mixture until no white streaks remain. Pour mousse evenly over the prepared crust and chill for 4-6 hours until set.
Slice into bars and serve! Garnish each bar with a fresh strawberry slice (optional).
To reduce the strawberry juices, set the pot over medium heat until simmering. Constantly scrape the bottom of the pan while heating so that it doesn't burn.
Keywords: strawberry bars, strawberry dessert bars, whipped strawberry pie bars