I was trying to come up with a dessert that was not cake like and thought about Strawberry Salad. Natalie just couldn’t understand how this could be called a salad, and I have to agree. I think it got the name because the original version used strawberry jello. This was something you would see at family gatherings or potlucks when I was growing up, but I guess it’s not very Southern because I haven’t seen it around for quite some time. So feeling nostalgic, I came across this updated version form America’s Test Kitchen. They really got it right, the pretzel layer is salty and buttery and the cream cheese and cream filling is rich and smooth and 100 times better than the non-dairy topping that was used.
The final layer can’t even compare to what I remember eating. It uses fresh and/or frozen strawberries and non-flavored gelatin for an amazing strawberry topping. It calls for 11/2 cups of sugar in the strawberry layer which was more than was needed. I was able to use about a cup of fresh strawberries which were full of flavor and very sweet, so next time, I will cut it down a bit. When making this, I would suggest adding a little at a time to the puree and see how much you actually need.
Natalie was delighted with this salad as were the rest of us. Of course she will be very disappointed if she is ever served the cool whip, strawberry jello version. I can’t wait to make this again and amaze everyone with how much better this is than the 70’s version. The salty, sweet and fresh berry flavors are perfect for a summer cook-out.
Another nice feature of this dessert, is that you can make it ahead of time. In fact you have to make it at least earlier in the day as it needs to set for about 4 hours.Print
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
- Category: Dessert
- 4 cups thin pretzel sticks
- 2 ¼ cups sugar, divided
- 12 tablespoons butter, mileted
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 10 cups strawberries, frozen and fresh
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup cold water
- Preheat oven to 400º. Spray 13 X 9 inch baking pan.
- In a food processor, pulse pretzels and 1/4 cup sugar until coarsely ground but not powdered. Add melted butter and pulse until combined. Put in the bottom of the prepared pan and press to even it out with fingertips. Bake for 10 minutes until beginning to brown. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
- In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar with the whisk attachment, then add cream slowly and beat until soft peaks form. Spread mixture on cooled crust and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- While the crust is cooling, make the third layer. Process about 8 cups of frozen or fresh strawberries until pureed. Add to a medium saucepan along with 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar and salt. Cook over medium-high heat until bubbles begin to appear and sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- While the strawberry puree is cooking, sprinkle gelatin over water in a large bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk strawberry puree into gelatin. Add about 2 cups of sliced strawberries to the gelatin mixture and stir. Refrigerate until gelatin starts to thicken but not until it’s set, about 30 minutes, make sure it is not warm. Carefully pour over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
- America’s Test Kitchen 2015