This strawberry pretzel salad recipe is a retro, crowd-pleasing dessert

This strawberry pretzel salad recipe is a retro, crowd-pleasing dessert

strawberry pretzel salad

Active time:20 minutes

Total time:20 minutes, plus a minimum of 5 hours of cooling and cooling

Servings:12 to 16

Active time:20 minutes

Total time:20 minutes, plus a minimum of 5 hours of cooling and cooling

Servings:12 to 16

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I didn’t grow up eating a strawberry pretzel salad. I first encountered it at a friend-of-a-friend’s house several years ago while I was at home in Chicago.

I was perplexed at first: This “salad” consisted of a pretzel crust, cream cheese filling, strawberries, and Jell-O. Then I tasted it – and I was hooked after one bite. It is salty, creamy and fruity at the same time. The dish has remained implanted in my memory ever since, and now I’m thrilled to share it with you.

The aspect that puts people off is the mismatch between the dish and what many consider a salad. But food historians and people over a certain age can remember the fame that congealed salads had in Americaparticularly in the mid-20th century – and some, like this one, are still enjoyed today.

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According to Farmers Almanacthe strawberry pretzel salad was introduced to the world “The Joys of Jell-O”, first published by General Foods in 1963† Although congealed salads have largely fallen out of the spotlight since then, strawberry pretzel salad remains an iconic dish, especially in the South and Midwest, where it is popular with potlucks because of the low effort it requires and the large number of servings recipes typically produce. , holidays and other large gatherings.

I consider it a dessert, but others disagree: “It’s a candy, but it’s not dessert”, Andrew Spena wrote in Epicurious† “As my Memaw might explain, it’s just ‘a little sugar on your plate at dinner.’ It’s right there on your Thanksgiving plate next to your entrees, your collards, your mac & cheese, your mashed potatoes.

Regardless of the format, this light, salty sweet treat is a delight.

Strawberry pretzel salad is essentially a pretzel crust with an unbaked cheesecake filling topped with strawberries and fruit-flavored gelatin. More traditional recipes call for mixing store-bought whipped cream topping with the cream cheese for the filling, but whipping heavy cream in the same food processor used to crush the pretzels requires minimal extra effort. Vanilla extract is traditional for flavoring the filling, but my recipe developer brain couldn’t help but think about all the other flavor options, some of which I’ve listed below.

Fresh strawberries are great in this recipe – making it particularly suitable for spring and summer – but you can use frozen, thawed, and drained fruit if needed, or even try different combinations of fruit and gelatin to make this your own.

This ice cream cake from the Black Forest is a delicious no-bake dessert

ahead: The pretzel crust can be baked up to 1 day in advance. Let cool completely, cover and store at room temperature.

Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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  • 8 ounces (227 grams) pretzel sticks
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks/170 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the cream cheese filling

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, preferably Philadelphia brand, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (can be substituted for almond extract, Grand Marnier, Kirschwasser, or balsamic vinegar)
  • 2 cups (480 milliliters) cold whipping cream

For the strawberry topping

  • 2 (3-ounce/85-gram) boxes strawberry-flavored gelatin, such as Jell-O . brand
  • 2 cups (480 milliliters) boiling water
  • 1 pound (454 grams) fresh strawberries, peeled and thinly sliced

Make the crust: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

Pulse the pretzels and sugar in a food processor until coarsely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse until blended. Transfer the pretzel mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup, press into an even layer. Bake for about 10 minutes, until crust is fragrant and just beginning to brown around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly, about 20 minutes.

Make the cream cheese filling: Clean the food processor. Add the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla and process until smooth, about 5 seconds. Add the whipped cream, pulse a few times and process until thickened, about 30 seconds. Don’t process too much. Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the cooled crust, making sure it goes all the way to the edges of the pan to completely coat the pretzels. Refrigerate until set, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Make the strawberry topping: While the cream cheese is setting, place the strawberry gelatin in a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl. Add the boiling water and beat until the gelatin has dissolved. Refrigerate, uncovered, until it cools to at least 70 degrees, about 30 minutes. (It may thicken slightly, but don’t let it set completely.)

Assemble the dessert: Divide the sliced ​​strawberries over the cream cheese filling and pour the strawberry gelatin over it. Refrigerate uncovered until firmly set, at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Cut into rectangles and serve chilled.

Per serving (one 2 by 3 inch slice), based on 16

Calories: 333; Total fat: 25 g; Saturated fat: 15 g; Cholesterol: 79mg; Sodium: 257mg; Carbohydrates: 26 g; Dietary fiber: 1 g; sugar: 13 g; Protein: 3 grams

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietician or nutritionist.

Recipe from staff writer Aaron Hutcherson

Tested by Aaron Hutcherson; e-mail questions to [email protected]

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